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MONSOON 2021: What makes you more attractive to mosquitoes?

Studies show factors from your blood to the clothes you wear could make you more attractive to mosquitoes.

ARIZONA, USA — After the rain passes away, it can be replaced by buzzing, biting mosquitoes across the Valley.

Monsoon season is an active season for the pesky bug. Maricopa County puts out 800 mosquito traps a week in an effort to keep down the numbers.

However, for some folks, that isn’t enough.

“Many of the studies have demonstrated there are people who are a little more attractive to mosquitoes,” Dave Brown, technical advisor for the American Mosquito Control Association said.

Brown has spent more than 30 years working in mosquito control. He said the process of a mosquito targeting a person starts with one thing: breathing.

“They all target carbon dioxide as the cues they're looking for,” Brown said.

According to Brown, female mosquitoes (and only female) look for someone to provide blood so they can get the necessary protein. Once the bugs find someone breathing, scientists have found the bugs have preferences.

“I have seen the studies on alcohol. I have seen the studies on Type O blood,” Brown said.

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The studies show that mosquitoes are more likely to bite someone who has had a drink of alcohol compared to someone who has not.

Another study found people with Type O blood are more likely to be bitten than any other blood type.

Brown said other studies have found that there is a correlation to mosquito bites and how you smell when you sweat, how big you are and even what color clothes you wear. 

“We know darker clothing has a tendency to make you more attractive,” Brown said.

Despite these studies, the reason behind these preferences is not known.

“That’s one of the puzzles that I think we will be looking at for quite some time. We still don’t have a good answer.” Brown said.

Brown reiterated that these studies show that mosquitoes may have preferences but are not picky.

“There are things that will make you more attractive. But that does not make you unattractive.” Brown said.

To protect yourself, Brown recommends following the three “D’s.”

  1. Drain any standing water.
  2. Dress to limit exposed skin.
  3. And defend with EPA registered repellent.

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