Avoiding Bites » Why do some people get bitten by mosquitoes and not others?

Why do some people get bitten by mosquitoes and not others?

DSC00544Are you one of those people that always gets bitten by a mosquito or maybe you are one of the lucky 20% who rarely receive a bite?  This article will explain why; drawing on the latest scientific research in an easy to digest format.

With over 200 million insects for each and everyone of us, this is worth knowing….

Firstly, lets look at how a female (they are the only ones to bite – the males feed off nectar) mosquito locates a blood meal in the first place.

All humans emit kairomones common ones include CO2 and lactic acid, around 48 have been identified so far.  It is thought that different species of mosquito prefer different kairomones, in the same way as some people prefer spicy and others don’t.  All of us have our own kairomone ‘signature” which is probably unique in the same way as a fingerprint.

Therefore, anyone who is breathing will draw female mosquitoes towards them.  So why do those lucky 20% not get bitten?
It has been demonstrated that these people have certain chemicals in their blood, sweat and tears that repels mosquitoes making them unattractive.  Some of these naturally produced molecules may also be masking individual kairomones, in the same way as incognito anti-mosquito spray camouflages users.

If you are a mosquito magnet and happen to be around someone who rarely gets attacked, you are more likely to get eaten alive because they will be attracting their share of insects into your space, along with your mighty portion of  mozzies, it means you are going to be the main meal of the day!

So what can you do to make yourself less attractive to insects?

Well, anything that cuts down on your kairomone emissions is an excellent start. For example, putting your dirty laundry in an air-tight carrier bag whilst travelling.

Certain groups of people are particularly attractive to blood sucking beasties, like fair skinned females and those of a large disposition – because of the greater surface area of skin cells; more kairomones are emitted.

According to Dr Nigel Hill (who regrettably recently passed away this month), from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, simply washing properly will reduce your kairomone output by around half.  To wash properly means to exfoliate your skin every couple of days and use soaps and other washing products that don’t smell attractive to biting insects – which is pretty much most products on the market.  Instead you need to be using at the very least unscented items or better, a citronella, tea tree, or lemon eucalyptus scented – these all offer a level of protection.  Also be aware of the scent of your clothes after washing.  To deal with the remaining kairomones you either need to physically block or stop the mosquito biting you by using for example, an impregnated mosquito net which is quite impractical on the move.  Or use a camouflage spray like incognito or last and least favoured, because of the risk using toxic chemicals, a good repellent.  Apart from the health and environmental risks, more people are now getting bitten whilst wearing toxic repellents such as Deet; possibly because mosquitoes have associated the repellent smell with the fact that food lies underneath – just like Pavlov’s dogs did with a bell – so they make a concerted effort to find a tiny spot of skin that hasn’t got any on.  They also adopt alternative strategies, such as biting though your clothes – she can even feed through jeans!  In short if they know you are there, the vampire-like insects are not going to stop trying to suck your blood until they’re dead.

In conclusion, there are many different things you can do to avoid getting bitten, it just depends on how badly you want to! You can read other articles on this blog to help you.

You need to try different options and find out what works well for you, what works for Jack won’t necessarily work for Jill.

With a bit of application it is possible to avoid all bites.

32 Responses to “ Why do some people get bitten by mosquitoes and not others? ” {+}

  1. comment by Roisin

    I have used garlic cloves, both eaten and around the bed, this seems to work…

  2. comment by Anna

    I am in a marching band and once the sun goes down the Mosquitos come at us. We all have bug spray on but they seem to keep at us. It’s pretty hard to not sweat or let off lactic aid and such when you’re running around a field and then you let off tons of carbon dioxide, so do you have any other ways for someone like me to avoid the legitimate 20-25 mosquito bites a night. Because it is absolutely miserable. Thanks.

  3. comment by Howard

    Hi Anna, sorry it has taken me so long to respond, I’ve been testing in remote jungle without Wi-Fi. Yes, the more active, the more attractive a meal you are to mosquitoes & some other biting insects. The first step is to read this: http://www.lessmosquito.com/useful-info/avoiding-bites/ followed by getting your hands on some incognito spray as it offers proven 100% protection against All species of mosquito. Because of your long wait, if you ring our office we will give you a 20% discount! +44 (0)2077928687

  4. comment by Brad

    I use to get bit a lot, recently I went on holiday to turkey – did get bit out there, but I come back home(England) and have not been bit once? Coincidence or not??

  5. comment by Bob

    I live in Florida and mountain bike in swampy areas where there are millions of mosquitoes. They fly around me, buzz my ears but never land on me or bite me. I never knew why.

  6. comment by steve

    Hi i live in england. i work as a postman, i always get bitten around my ankles, I then end up on antibiotics as my ankles swell up that much. Why me i ask? I`m just about to leave to go to spain on my hol`s, Carn`t say i`m looking forward to the little suckers! Great info on you site i will be taking lots of lemon items and garlic.

  7. comment by Mary

    MY husband just gave me this article to read. I am never without bites on me. They bites through my clothes. I can’t go to the mail box without getting bit. I have tried everything,but they still bite. I don’t know about others but my bites are hugh,always red and swollen. I am using a organic spray, but just works a little. I hate them. People think its funny, but if they had 20 or 30 bites on them they wouldn’t. Help !!!

  8. comment by Maggie

    I have RHneg blood, mosquitoes don’t like me at all, other RHneg people have told me the same thing. Does this make sense?

  9. comment by admin

    Make sure to get some incognito to spray on your ankles – will keep you completely bite free! http://www.lessmosquito.com

  10. comment by admin

    Yes your blood type can have an effect on how attractive you are to biting insects, as chemicals released from your skin (influenced by blood type) is what attracts them.

  11. comment by Maxine

    I am Rh negative but seem to attract anything that wants to bite, guaranteed to be the only person biten at any garden party etc, this hot weather here in England is putting me in agony, I get showered twice a day, use loads of garlic, please help :(

  12. comment by Nicki

    I NEVER get bit by mosquitos I don’t even remember the last time I had a mosquito bite. I have O positive blood. I am extremely active I work in a active mosquito area. I just thought I was weird. My poor kids always get bit. I am clean and shower?? Lol my job causes me to be very active so I do sweat occasionally but I guess I am just blessed that I never get bitten.

  13. comment by hanan

    thanks for the info i dont get mosqito bites at all only my frends around me ,,,
    i gess im one of the lucky ones now …

  14. comment by Alex

    Well I’ve been bitten on the leg butt arm and back and ear

  15. comment by Alex

    Well I’ve been bitten many times

  16. comment by Alex

    Well I’ve been bitten many times everywhere.

  17. comment by Alex

    OMG they itch slot and also are annoying

  18. comment by sylvia

    Hello Maggie, you say you have RHNeg so do I but they still get me, spiders, mosquitoes, yes they just feed on me, I do spray on my but guess they are imuned to this

  19. comment by jack

    I’m probably the most unfortunet because the little basterds never leave me alone even in brod daylit

  20. comment by Sam

    Hi I am female, blonde. Appear fair but tan quickly. I live in uk & keep greeting bitten. I love to walk, garden & travel. But being bitten is really affecting this very badly. My bites flare up red & itch to the point of antibiotics. But would prefer not to take them in case I need them for something major (resistance). Is their anything I can eat to help change my attraction to all these critters. Thanks. Ps I spray & cover!

  21. comment by John

    My wife has been on HRT since the early 90′s after cancer treatment, and she never gets bit, could this be also relevant?

  22. comment by Andrea

    I am constantly being bit by midges etc in my house. The base of my neck under my hair is the favourite place. I sleep with the window open so I imagine that’s how they get in. I am sick of itching and scratchig all day everyday. I have been told it could be a lack of oestrogen in my body that’s attracting the biters. What can I do ?

  23. comment by Sheila

    I guess that answers my question why I don’t get ate up by those little buggers – so glad I stink to them! Oh my hope no one else thinks so haha! Thanks

  24. comment by Chuck

    In Montana I get attacked in the sun while gardening or farming. In North Carolina, it was always in the evening, and not in the farm fields. Is there something different in the mosquitos in these state. Thanks for any info….Can’t get my crops in.

  25. comment by Bob

    I don’t get bitten

  26. comment by David

    Lived in China 2 yrs and Australia for 20 yrs and got bitten but never ever bitten like I do now in England I have always got 20 or so bites at any one time. It is that bad I that we are now selling up and returning to Australia after only 2 years back home, what changed since we left?
    P.s my wife never gets bitten and she is also ab rhesus d negative me well I am the common ‘o’

  27. comment by Dong Rearick

    Exceptional post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Cheers!

  28. comment by Jasmine Betancourth

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  31. comment by admin

    Hi David,
    The reasons why mosquitoes are attracted to humans can be complicated, and indeed blood type can be one influential factor. This is because your blood type affects the chemicals released from your skin (which is what attracts the mosquitoes)!

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