How Mosquitos Choose Their Targets
by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 14
Mosquitos can become immune to insect repellent over time. Mosquitos bite to harvest proteins from human blood. Research shows that mosquitos find different blood types more appetizing than others. Other studies show that it's controlled by the mosquito’s setting. Scientists discovered that 85 percent of people send a chemical signal through their skin which let mosquitos know which blood type each human has in their body.
Mosquitos locate their prey by smelling the acid, ammonia and other chemicals that are in people's sweat. Mosquitos are also attracted to people with higher body temperatures. For example, when you exercise and produce sweat this can allure mosquitos. Mosquitos also locate their targets by smelling carbon dioxide. They can detect this gas from as far as 164 feet away. People who exhale more gas over time show to attract mosquitos more than others. Different types of bacteria can affect how mosquitos react to the skin.
In a 2011 study, scientists found different types of large bacterias in human skin that attract mosquitos. However, a greater diversity of bacteria makes skin less attractive.
Overall while some characteristics of the mosquito are known, there is more to be studied about their feeding patterns and how they find their prey. Next time you are outside in the hot sun, keep an eye out for the mosquitos!