Date Posted: 7/1/2011

Why do Mosquitoes Bite Me and Not Those Around Me.

By Joe Walter, Agriculture Extension Agent


Are you one of those people who mosquitoes single out of a crowd to feast on while not touching people around you? About 20% of people attract mosquitoes by their smell and their visual appearance. The mosquito first search for humans is visual. Dark colors like black, navy, blue and red stands out to the mosquito. Movement also attracts mosquitoes.


Once you pass the visual appearance test of the female mosquito, she makes her selection on smell. Things like carbon dioxide, lactic acid, acetone, and estradiol lure her to you. Carbon dioxide (the main attractant) and acetone are given off in the breath and vary with exercise. Estrogen in the human body breaks down producing estradiol, a high attractant making women a very attractive meal to the mosquito. Mosquitoes are also attracted to body heat.


Dr. Joseph Conlon, an advisor to the American Mosquito control Association, notes that mosquitoes are more attracted to people after they drink a 12 ounce beer! This could become after a beer people tend to breathe a little harder and their skin is a little warmer making them a mosquito magnet.


Remember that only female mosquitoes bite.