Scientists finally explain WHY mosquitos relentlessly bite some people and ignore others – and what you can do to make them less interested
- Scientists explained why some people attract mosquitos more than others
- US entomologist Dan Kline revealed there were several factors that played role
- Smelly feet produced by bacteria similar to one found in cheese was one cause
Scientists have revealed why some people are more prone to mosquito bites than others and busted the top myths that claim to keep the blood sucking critters away.
American entomologist Dan Kline has spent years studying the insects and believes he has come across important clues to explain their behaviour.
One of the more bizarre discoveries he made was that mosquitos were attracted to smelly feet.
In particular, they were attracted to a bacteria that gave off the same smell as Limburger cheese.
Scientists have revealed why some people are more prone to mosquito bites than others and shared the top secrets to repel the blood sucking critters (stock image)
Dr Kline conducted a study in the 1990s to determine if mosquitos were more attracted to particular types of cheese based on smell.
He experimented with different variations and discovered blue cheese and Limburger were the most popular.
Dr Kline then presented them with a pair of smelly socks he had been wearing for four days and discovered the mosquitos were immediately drawn to them.
He pointed out the link between the smelly feet and Limburger made sense as the cheese was traditionally produced by barefoot monks.
‘The monks used their feet in the production of this cheese,’ he told ABC. ‘Thus, the toe bacteria were involved in the production of Limburger cheese.’
Dr Kline also discovered that mosquitos were drawn to scents produced by bacteria produced on human skin as well as volatile chemicals that are exhaled out of the mouth.
He learned his colleague naturally produced a chemical that dulled the sense of smell in mosquitos and was less likely to be bitten by one.
‘Her ratio of this compound compared to other compounds was higher,’ he said.
Other factors included body heat, genetics, and what cosmetic products you wear, and some people’s skin reacts to bites differently and may not even notice them.
Different mosquitoes are also attracted to different parts of the body, some that certain people cover and others don’t as much.
‘There are plenty of mosquitoes that are known to be ankle biters or face biters, so there’s presumably different volatiles on those different parts of the body that are attracting them,’ Dr Norris said.
Medical entomologist Cameron Webb has also lent a hand to understanding the behaviours of the mosquitos and dispelled several myths about types of food that are believed to repel the insects.
US entomologist Dan Kline (pictured) has spent years studying the insects and believes he has come across important clues to explain their behaviour
One of the more bizarre discoveries he made was that mosquitos were attracted to smelly feet (stock image)
Eating bananas and drinking beer is commonly believed to be an attracting force for mosquitos while garlic and Vitamin B supplements are considered to be repellants.
Dr Webb revealed these were actually an old wives’ tale.
‘While some food or drink may subtly change the attraction of mosquitoes, changing diet won’t stop you having to use insect repellents,’ he said.
Unfortunately, pregnant women are more likely to be bitten by a mosquito than a man.
Higher carbon dioxide and temperatures during the later stages of pregnancy are believed to increase the body’s release of volatile chemicals and bacteria that normally attract mosquitos.