Mommy's Favorite Things: Mosquitoes Want your Blood

Monday, May 30, 2022

Mosquitoes Want your Blood


Have you ever had a vacation spoiled by that itchy feeling?

I mean the one you get after you have been bitten by a mosquito.

One itchy bite is not too much of an issue. But if you have more than one, then it can quickly become very annoying.

It gets even more frustrating when you find that those around you are not itching nearly as much because they have only been bitten once or twice.

What makes you so much more attractive to mosquitos?

Could it be that your blood just tastes that much better to mosquitos? What type of blood do mosquitos like?

Do mosquitos have a favorite blood type?

Mosquito bites are not just annoying and, they also spread deadly diseases like Malaria, Zika, and Dengue Fever.

For this reason, scientists have investigated several factors that attract mosquitos to bite people. One of these factors was found to be blood type.

Each blood type in humans has a distinct set of specific proteins, called antigens. It is the protein from our blood that the female mosquitos need to successfully give birth to their offspring.

There are four different blood types:

  • Blood type A: only A antigen on the surface of red blood cells

  • Blood type B: only B antigen on the surface of red blood cells

  • Blood type AB: both A and B antigens on the surface of red blood cells

  • Blood type O: no A or B antigen on the surface of red blood cells

Many people also secrete these antigens through their saliva or tears. Scientists refer to those people as secretors. If you have blood type A, you are a type
A secretor, while those with blood type O secrete H antigen which is a precursor to A and B antigens.

What blood type do mosquitos prefer?

It has been found that mosquitos are more attracted to people with blood type O. This is based on a 1974 study of 102 human participants. Which found those with O type blood were bitten more than people with other blood types.

A more recent 2019 study placed different blood types into separate feeders. It was observed that mosquitos preferred to feed on the type O feeder much more than the feeders with other blood types.

A 2004 study examined mosquito preference for blood type between type O and A. When blood type antigens were applied to the arms of study participants, it was found that significantly more mosquitos were attracted to people to the H antigen, that is, blood type O.

The conclusion is that mosquitos may be able to sense the antigens secreted through tears and saliva as they approach a person.

However, there are other known factors that will attract mosquitos:

What else attracts Mosquitos?

Clothing – mosquitos prefer dark colors like green, black and red. Instead wear, softer colors like pastels, beige, or white.

Carbon Dioxide – we emit this when we breathe out, something you can’t avoid doing. Mosquitos can sense carbon dioxide from a significant distance. The more you exhale the more attractive you become. Larger people exhale more.

You could hold your breath around mosquitos, but that will only help for a minute or two. If you are overweight, losing weight might lead to fewer mosquito bites.

Heat and Sweat - mosquitoes have a nose for other scents too. They can sniff out lactic acid, ammonia, and other compounds found in our sweat. Strenuous exercise increases the buildup of lactic acid and heat in your body and will have you breathing more heavily too.

Lively” Skin - your skin is naturally teeming with microscopic life. The combination of bacteria and sweat creates a distinct fragrance that attracts mosquitos. Bathing regularly may help.

Pregnancy - -an African study in 2000 found those who were pregnant attracted twice as many mosquitos compared to those who were not pregnant. This could be because of carbon dioxide and heat, those in late pregnancy exhale 21% more volume of breath and their abdomens are about one degree warmer.

Beer - one study found significantly more mosquitoes flew toward the participants who had drunk one liter of beer than those who had drunk a liter of water. Why is still unclear. But if you’re near mosquitos and intend to drink beer, take precautions.


When mosquitos are nearby, they want your blood. If you have blood type O, they may be more attracted to you than to others. You should always take precautions by covering up and spraying insect repellant over yourself.

You can also try wearing softer colored clothing, don’t exercise, keep cool to prevent sweat and heat, keep yourself clean to limit your bacteria, and avoid beer and pregnancy!