5 Reasons Why Mosquitoes Are Attracted to You, According to Science

You can avoid those itchy bites by changing a few habits—or even just the color of your outfit.

Along with sunburns and excessive sweating, mosquitoes are one of the unpleasant realities of summer. But have you ever wondered if you were doing something that might actually be drawing them to you? You might have believed it had something to do with your blood type, but the reality is, it's actually a few other factors that lead to mosquitoes biting you. According to the health care company UnityPoint Health, while some reasons are outside of your control, there are actually a few things you can do to help cut down on all those bug bites. So grab your insect repellent and learn about what attracts mosquitoes to take a bite out of you. And for more ways to stay safe, check out 27 Genius Products That'll Keep Bugs at Bay All Summer.

You're wearing red, black, or dark blue.

asian man running with headphones in ears, wearing red sports jersey shirt

Bad news for those who swear by an all-black wardrobe: The shade of clothing you're wearing can definitely bring the bugs a-flocking. "Wearing black, dark blue, or red clothing can make you a mosquito magnet," Nicole L. Baumann-Blackmore, MD, said in an interview with the UnityPoint Health blog LiveWell. Luckily, all of your white and light-colored duds won't be off-limits until summer ends on Labor Day!

You've been drinking beer.

Father and son drinking beer

For many of us, there's nothing better than enjoying a summer evening by cracking open a nice, cold beer on the porch and watching the sunset. Unfortunately, that refreshing brew is going to make mosquitoes more thirsty for your blood. "One study showed that mosquitoes are attracted to people who have been drinking beer," Baumann-Blackmore says. Maybe opt for a glass of wine instead? And for more reasons to choose some pinot over a pint, check out 80 Amazing Benefits of Wine.

You're sweaty.

Young white man sweating through shirt

Everyone has heard the joke about having "sweet meat" or "sweet skin" that makes someone irresistible to mosquitoes. But according to experts, it might actually be what's on your skin that's drawing them in for the bite. "Substances, such as ammonia and lactic acid, found in sweat are known to attract mosquitoes," Baumann-Blackmore says. And for more facts in your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

You run hot.

overheated senior woman waving fan due to heat while sitting on couch

No, being quick-tempered doesn't make mosquitoes more attracted to you. But being genetically predisposed to having a higher natural body temperature can act as a beacon for the biting bugs.

And bad news, fitness fanatics: Being hot (and sweaty, of course) from exercise also ups your appeal to mosquitoes. "Cues like body temperature, carbon dioxide in the breath, and certain skin chemicals like lactic acid all help mosquitoes orient and find their next meal," writes University of Wisconsin-Madison entomology professor and mosquito expert Susan Paskewitz, PhD. "Exercise boosts the levels of all three signals, making people more vulnerable to mosquito bites during or after exercise."

You're pregnant.

Portrait of black woman enjoying her pregnancy at the orchard in bloom

As if being pregnant during the hot summer months wasn't already hard enough, the natural spike in body temperature that expectant women experience can make them more appealing to mosquitoes. In fact, a 2000 study published in the British Medical Journal found that pregnant women are twice as attractive to mosquitoes as non-pregnant women. And in case you needed more ammo, Here's Why You Should Try to Get Pregnant During Winter Months.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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