Why Mosquitoes Love Some People More Than Others

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=62284501&src=id">Natursports</a>/Shutterstock

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


The Wall Street Journal asks an expert why some people get attacked by mosquitoes more than others:

Mosquitoes find their mammalian prey through sensing the heat and carbon dioxide mammals emit…Mosquitoes are also guided by their sense of smell…”Mosquitoes are attracted to our human odor, and that is largely a consequence of the bacteria on our skin,” says Dr. Zwiebel. The “flora and fauna on our skin” also smell appetizing to mosquitoes, says Dr. Zweibel, and these can increase when we sweat or spend a lot of time outdoors.

I never realized that mosquitoes played favorites until a few years ago, when I was at a spring conference on St. Simons Island in Georgia where I and my fellow progressives plotted how to take over the banking system. (After some false starts, it eventually inspired me to write this piece.) One evening I was sitting next to Mark Schmitt and noticed that he looked like he had the measles or something. I had a few mosquito bites myself, but he must have had a hundred or so. He told me that mosquitoes had always found him very attractive. I guess he just has the wrong flora and fauna.

Apparently there’s no good answer if you’re one of the unlucky few. In the meantime, use DEET.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate