Study says some people are attractive to mosquitoes more than others

Posted at 6:28 PM, May 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-08 19:47:03-04

York County, Va. - Some people are attractive to mosquitoes more than others.

That's a claim from a recent study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  And that attraction, the study says, has a lot to do with our genes.

"Mosquitoes have been here for as long as we have, and they are predators.  And they have evolved to be very efficient at locating their prey sources," said Leah Aguilar, Superintendent of Mosquito Control in York County.

NewsChannel 3 went to Aguilar to get her expertise about mosquitoes.

Aguilar was not involved in the study. However, she says there are several factors that attract mosquitoes to people, like body heat, movement and carbon dioxide, which we breathe out of our bodes.

But Aguilar says when it comes specifically to genes, "The most important way they're involved is through the acids that you excrete from your skin, being different in different people."

And because of that, some folks are mosquito magnets.

"Not saying if you have high levels of cholesterol, but if you happen to metabolize that better than someone else, then you may excrete it as waste on your skin.  Well, mosquitoes will be attracted to that," said Aguilar.

Experts say one of the best ways to mask some of the scents that cover your body is to use insect repellent when you go outside.

Aguilar says there have been other mosquito studies.  In fact, studies have shown that mosquitoes are attracted to pregnant women because their body temperature is higher and they excrete more carbon dioxide.

But Aguilar says it's important to remember studies are just that - studies.

"Studies are going to happen forever.  I would say to concentrate on what we know for sure.  We know for sure that they are attracted to heat, carbon dioxide. We know for sure that repellents work," said Aguilar.