Mosquitoes: why are some people bitten more than others?

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Mosquitoes often seem to target some people more than others. Is it true ? How to explain it? La Dépêche du Midi takes stock.

As every year, the rise in temperatures is accompanied by the return of mosquitoes. And, like every summer, it’s the same question: “Why does the mosquito always choose me?”. Sweet blood, alcohol… Some reasons are often put forward. But what is it in reality?

“Indeed, some people attract mosquitoes more than others”, immediately confirms Anna-Bella Failloux, entomologist at the Institut Pasteur. “It’s a recurring question, which we don’t have the answer to,” she says, however. “In the same way that we are not all equal with regard to the disease, in particular genetically, there are variations from one individual to another. And, another element: man gets used to his ‘own ‘ mosquitoes. Indeed, as one is bitten, one no longer feels the bite, that is to say that one becomes immune. One then has the impression of not being stung while if”.

However, several studies have already addressed the issue. Researchers have shown that people with blood group O were more prone to bites. According to others, the more CO2 people give off, the more mosquitoes target them. Indeed, some of these insects would have a receptor, which would allow them to detect the carbon dioxide that we exhale. Body odors could also play a role. Other studies claim that the critters preferred tight-fitting (like tights) and dark-colored clothes.

“All these facts are not yet fully understood,” says Anna-Bella Failloux. “Studies are underway, but there is so much variability that it is impossible to come up with a general rule. Obviously from one individual to another, it will be different. It’s like for repellents. Some are going to work well on some people, and on others, not at all.”

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