Mosquitoes Prefer Beer Drinkers and Certain Blood Types. Mosquito Facts
Mosquitoes: They’re Picky Little Buggers!
You spend hours each summer enjoying the perks of longer days, warm weather, and campfires. Restaurants and bars open up outdoor seating; you spend nights on your boat and days at the beach; you invite friends over for barbecues and grilled steaks; you pack picnics, throw a Frisbee, or simply lounge on the grass at the local park. Ahh, summer! Nothing can take away it’s charm!
…Except for mosquitoes. They’re the main annoyance for every summer lover, whether you’re a boater, swimmer, camper, or beach bum. Sometimes they seem to come in hordes, and suddenly you find yourself swatting at your skin every ten seconds, watching as red bumps are raised on your tanned skin, and fighting the urge to scratch yourself raw.
The good news? They’re picky, believe it or not! These blood-hungry insects seek out certain types of people, based on what they’re eating or drinking, their body mass, their blood type – even what people are wearing!
A Few Mosquito Facts about the Blood Drinking Pests:
- Only the females suck your blood.
- They need your blood to develop eggs (and only the best blood!).
- Mosquitos beat their miniature wings anywhere from 300 to 600 times per second.
- Males seek out females through listening to their wings. (See, ladies? Men listen!)
- Mosquitoes find humans by movement, warmth coming from your body (or infrared radiation), and chemicals – and they can sense these things as far as 25 to 35 meters away.
- Mosquitos can live up to five months.
- There are roughly 2,700 species of mosquitoes.
What Mosquitoes Are Drawn To
Now that you know what you’re up against, let’s get into more detail about what they love about humans, and what you can do to stop the pests. Below are the main reasons the bugs bite you rather than your sober, small, non-pregnant, Type A best friend who wears white all summer:
One glass of your favorite ale or lager can have mosquitoes racing towards your now incredibly tasty blood according to a Smithsonian study. Scientists are still unsure exactly why this happens. Theories about an increase in lactic acid, an increase in ethanol (which is in beer) that is released through sweat, and just general increase in body temperature have all been tossed around. However, the exact reasoning behind the mosquitoes lust for a person who has thrown back a brew or two is unclear. Since beer is a popular commodity during adult summer festivities, this in turn increases the popularity of mosquitoes that want to crash your party. By all means, keep on enjoying that hoppy IPA or nutty brown ale – just be prepared to pay a price if your sippin’ outdoors.
Blood Type, Mosquitoes Blood Preference
Mosquitoes require blood to fertilize their eggs. What they’re really after is the protein in your blood, and like any experienced drinker, they have a favorite: Type O blood. They land on people with Type O blood almost twice as much as people with Type A. If you’re Type B, you’re bitten more than Type A, but not as much as Type O. Most people excrete chemically what type of blood they have, which is how the mosquitoes can tell before they bite you. As for the people whose bodies don’t secret this blood-revealing chemical, you’re in the luck – mosquitoes will go after the secreters more than you, regardless of blood type. Who knew mosquitoes could be so chemically attuned to our bodies? If you’ve won the blood lottery, we congratulate you. If you’re Type 0, be sure to check out the last section about what you can do to protect yourself.
More mosquito facts: The smaller you are, the better chance you have of staying bite-free. Because larger bodies emit higher levels of carbon dioxide, and mosquitoes can sense that from about 164 feet away, bigger people are at an elevated risk of getting their blood sucked away from them. A large body means more energy to keep it going, which means – you’ve got it – more oxygen pulled in, and more carbon monoxide exhaled out. Body temperature also plays a role in this, as large people tend to have higher temps as well. Pregnant women, unfortunately, get dealt the toughest blow. In addition to being bigger than the people around them, pregnant women are also mosquito magnets in general because they are exhaling much more carbon monoxide! They get bit about twice as much as the general population. Ouch! On the plus side, this is better for your children, who have less self-control about scratching their bites.
Body temperature also plays a role in this. Large people tend to have higher temps (we’re sorry, tall fellas!). On the flip side, people who work out frequently or are hitting the lake for a campfire after a long run are prone to get more bites as well. This is because lactic acid, ammonia, uric acid, and other fun chemicals are released when people sweat, and, you guessed it, mosquitoes are crazy for those chemicals! They are also attracted to higher temperatures in general, because it makes you stand out from everyone else. Keep your hiking pace to a steady easy stride and you might attract less attention from these bugs.
Mosquitoes can see you – and they’re also rather judgemental of your wardrobe. They don’t want to suck the blood of someone wearing browns or greens because they see that all the time in nature! They want something different, something unsual, and that means that they’re drawn to colors contrary to nature, such as blacks, deep blues, and reds. Keep your hiking and backpacking attire to dull forest colors.
Protection and Prevention
Mosquitoes are draw to warm, wet environments. That’s why they always seem to multiply at the lake, after a good rain or on the shady backpacking trail. They’re especially drawn to dirty water. Some mosquitoes can also carry certain types of viruses, so it’s especially important to take the necessary precautions so you don’t get bitten. Below are some tips and tricks.
- The tried and true method of a good bug repellant spray is always a solid choice. Nowadays there are plenty varieties, from extra-strength sweat-proof styles to nature-friendly ones. Just make sure it contains up to 30% DEET for adults and 10% for children.
- Electric fans are a surprising but effective method of making these persistent insects stay at bay. This is because mosquitoes fly relatively slowly, and a fan whipping it’s blades through the air fast enough can ensure that mosquitoes don’t get close enough to get a taste of you. A fan also doubles as a way to disperse the carbon monoxide in the air, making it harder for the mosquitoes to hone in on you.
- Make sure your driveway and yard drain water properly. Standing water equals hovering mosquitoes. Remove any buckets, pails, or bird baths that are outside, change the water in your pool often, and cover your pool when not in use.
- Cover yourself as much as possible! Wear long sleeves and long pants. This may be difficult when it’s scorching hot outside, but do the best you can. It’s better to sweat a little for a couple hours than feel itchy for days.
- Mosquitoes come out most often at dusk and dawn, so avoid being outdoors during these times.
- Rumored natural remedies to put on your skin include garlic and apple cider vinegar. You can rub baby oil or imitation vanilla extract on your skin, plant mosquito-repelling plants such as basil, coriander, marigolds, and asther. They don’t like the scent of peppermint either.
- Stay away from foods that are salty and high in potassium, like bananas. These cause an increase in lactic acid, which the mosquitoes will absolutely love.
- Citronella is a common method of repelling mosquitoes as well. You can grow the plants in your yard, or buy products made with citronella. Citronella candles have a strong lemony scent. You can buy the standard candle variety, or buy the kind that you can put in tiki torches to add a sense of adventure to the great outdoors.
- If you are hiking, backpacking or camping, consider starting a campfire. The smoke will repel most biting insects.
One last thing: Yes, mosquitoes love a person who’s drinking. And while drinking, you might think it’d be a fun idea to get a mosquito drunk, as payback for drinking your blood! Don’t waste your time. The amount of alcohol needed to get a mosquito inebriated would raise your blood alcohol content level so high that you’d die. Just stick to good ol’ fashioned slapping to get back at the guys, and make sure you protect your skin as much as possible!