Saturday December 02, 2017

Why do mosquitoes seem so attracted to some people and not others?

Listen 2:36
Malaria Vaccine

(CDC/University of Notre Dame/James Gathany/AP)

This week's question comes from Angie Koch in Waterloo, Ont., who asks: "Why do mosquitoes seem so attracted to some people and not others?"

Dr. Kateryn Rochon, an Assistant Professor of Entomology at the University of Manitoba explains that mosquitoes find some individuals more attractive than others based on body odour.  The bacteria that we have on our skin will vary from one person to another, and result in the emission of different odours, some of which are attractive to mosquitoes.  People with more diversity of bacteria tend to be less attractive to mosquitoes.   Also, the general state of our health can be a factor as well.  People infected with malaria, as well as pregnant women are more attractive to the malaria mosquito.  There is no evidence to suggest that eating specific foods make humans more or less attractive to mosquitoes.