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Mosquito bites are nearly impossible to avoid during the summer months, but some people are more susceptible to bites than others. If you ever suspected yourself of being more prone to sustaining mosquito bites than most other people, then you probably are, according to researchers. Several factors influence mosquito pest activity. For example, wearing perfume and many other types of fragrances will attract biting mosquitoes, but some people are naturally attractive to mosquitoes, whether they apply fragrances or not.

According to Jason Pitts, assistant professor of biology at Baylor University, personal body odor is a significant factor as to why some people sustain more mosquito bites than most others. Mosquitoes and many other insects rely on smell more so than sight when it comes to locating sustenance and breeding sites. Since only female mosquitoes feed on blood, their sense of smell is more sensitive than that of males. This is because females must sense blood-hosts from significant distances in order to survive and reproduce. Once female mosquitoes sense the odor emitted from blood-hosts, they track the host by flying in a zig-zag motion in and out of the stream of odor in order to orient themselves with the path leading to a host. Ironically, using an outdoor fan in order to blow mosquitoes away from a person’s body only attracts biting female mosquitoes more effectively, as the fan blows human body odors farther away, allowing more mosquitoes to sense these odors. Also, people are more vulnerable to mosquito bites when sweating since sweat releases particularly pungent body odors.

Body heat also attracts female mosquitoes since the pests are sensitive to subtle differences in surface temperature, and the carbon dioxide emitted from exhalation also attracts biting mosquitoes. The way a particular person tastes to a mosquito contributes to the likelihood of sustaining bites. When a mosquito lands on a person, the insect uses its mouthparts to taste human skin in order to evaluate the person’s suitableness as a blood-host. A skin taste test is a female mosquito’s final method of assessing if a particular person’s blood is worth consuming. Wearing DEET repellents effectively prevents mosquito bites since female mosquitoes avoid biting after tasting DEET on human skin. The odor of DEET repellents also repels mosquitoes located at a distance from a host.

Do you wear DEET repellents while outdoors?