Everywhere in Israel, it’s hot with occasional heat waves which make the air feel even hotter. But in addition to high temperatures and humidity, mosquitoes drive us boiling with anger. Sometimes it feels like they're targeting you personally. Why are mosquitoes coming after you?
Male mosquitoes survive only on nectar, while females need blood for the egg production process. Mosquitoes aren’t only annoying; according to some estimates, about 3 million people die every year from infectious diseases caused by bites. These tiny female bugs are one of the world’s most dangerous species.
Yet, mosquitoes in Israel won't transmit infectious diseases since this area is free of diseases like malaria or dengue fever, which are transmitted through bites. Even so, they’re definitely a real nuisance, especially at night.
In 2015, American researchers found that mosquitoes choose their victims using three senses: Smell, sight and heat. So why do they choose you? There are many reasons for this, some of which you can change and some of which are part of your genes so you’re stuck with being stung.
Mosquitos bite you because you’re hot
Yes, mosquitoes invade our homes in the hottest and most oppressive season and the reason is quite clear. When we sweat we excrete lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other compounds. These lovely smells attract mosquitoes just like the smell of baking bread compels us to walk into a bakery.
Physical activity which makes us sweat increases the accumulation of lactic acids that attract mosquitoes. Avoid strenuous physical activity before going to sleep, and set the air conditioner to a low, pleasant temperature which will keep you cool and bite-free.
Mosquitos bite you because you drink alcohol
Female mosquitoes love alcohol. A study conducted in 2002 by Japanese researchers found that female mosquitoes were more attracted to subjects who drank beer before the experiment.
Researchers assumed that the reason for this lies in the increase in ethanol, a chemical compound found in the blood, and in the increase in body temperature as a result of the alcohol. Yet no one knows why mosquitoes prefer beer over other alcoholic drinks.
Mosquitos bite you because of your blood type
A study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that mosquitoes are attracted to people with blood type O, twice as much as people with blood type A. Blood type B is somewhere in the middle, and it is not clear what the situation is for people with blood type AB.
Another interesting statistic is that 85% of us secrete a substance that allows mosquitoes to identify our blood type. The study showed that mosquitoes will prefer these people regardless of their blood type.
Mosquitos bite you because they like your clothes
Just like us, mosquitoes also "eat with their eyes", and the form in which their "prey" appears greatly influences their choice. If you want to make yourself less attractive prey, wear lighter colors. Dark colors like black and red make you stand out more, and mosquitoes can find you. Spending a night in nature? You should equip yourself with a lot of bright clothes that won’t attract the bugs.
Mosquitos bite you because your skin is attractive
The balance of bacteria living on your skin attracts mosquitoes. Some studies have shown different types of bacteria on our skin. In one study it was found that people with bacteria on their bodies get more bites than those with bacteria on their faces. This explains why certain mosquitoes are more attracted to the ankles and feet which are very fertile ground for infections.