You attract mosquitoes because of your blood type

If you don’t know your blood type, there’s a little bug that knows it all too well. Researchers at the Chiba Institute of Pest Control Technology in Japan found that mosquitoes – the cause of sleepless nights and the terror of camps – prefer those individuals with type O blood. By all accounts, this is a Machiavellian compensation of the universe against the universal donors.


Mosquito sucked blood

In a study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, the research group tested the volunteer participants’ blood types and “secretory status” – in other words, whether or not they secreted a chemical that signals what their blood type is, a common feature in about 85% of people.

They asked the volunteers to put their hands in a container with 35 mosquitoes and recorded the number of insects that landed on each person. The mosquitoes landed on exposed hands and forearms and tried to bite, but found it impossible to feed because their proboscises, the appendage in front of their head with which they suck blood, had previously been amputated.

The mosquitoes landed on “secretors” with type O blood 83% of the time, and only landed on those with type A blood 47% of the time. This happened even when they added the chemical from the secretion to the participants’ freshly washed skin.

A word of caution: Although volunteers with type O blood had a higher rate of attraction, the difference was only statistically significant when it came to type A blood. This means that if you have type B or AB blood, you are not necessarily safe (if you are type A, you may feel blessed).

An irresistible ingredient.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, blood type isn’t the only factor at play. There are other elements that can end up attracting mosquitoes. People who inhale more than average – usually older people – exhale more carbon dioxide, which ends up attracting insects.

If you exercise a lot, you’ll have more lactic acid in your muscles and a higher body temperature, two other elements that attract mosquitoes. Bacteria are also attractants, which is why when you walk you get more bites on your ankles than on your newly sanitized hands. Other things that make us more attractive to mosquitoes include drinking beer and being pregnant – another good reason to avoid doing both of these things at once.



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