Also in this week's column: Does eating fish improve brain function? What is a Cro-Magnon man? How can objects in the same room be different temperatures? Why are some people more attractive to mosquitos? Asked by Sarah Charles of Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK Science is still working on the definitive answer to this Odd Body …
The notion of measurement of this attractiveness may be completely flawed!
The whole question about attractiveness to mosquitoes is based on the assumption that people that observe more itchy bites on themselves have been bitten more and are hence more attractive to mosquitoes. However this may be a flawed assumption!
Consider the extreme case where locals of a given mosquito-ridden region appear never to be bitten as they never have itchy red bite marks. One might assume that they are completely unattractive to the mosquitoes with 'local' blood or something.
In fact far more likely (if it has not already been proven) is that the bodies of the locals do not react to the bites in the same way having become so used to the anti-coagulants injected by the mosquitoes which are responsible for the irritation.
In the same way it may simply be that those who perceive themselves as less attractive to mosquitoes by virtue of the fact that they notice far less irritating red itchy bites may in fact just have less sensitivity to the anti-coagulants from the mosquitoes. It may be that they, as well as all the locals, get bitten just as much but just don't notice it!
Mosquitos are most attracted if you consume Dairy Products
Back in the 1990's I watched a news report on the subject of mosquito bites.. a university had been breeding mosquitos and testing the effect diet had on a persons susceptibility to being bitten. What they found was that people who had eaten dairy products where bitten numerous times while others who hadn't had any Dairy products remained unbitten or only occasionally bitten. Even in a large group the mosquitos would only single out the person who had consumed dairy products. I have observed this myself over the last 15 years, both with myself and friends. I used to be one of those people who were eaten alive if there were any mosquitos within a mile radius. I also used to consume a fair amount of milk and Dairy products. Now if I know I'm going to be anywhere that mosquito bites are likely within the next day or two I will stop drinking milk or eating Dairy Products. I now rarely get bitten, and when I do it is ALWAYS within a day of consuming dairy products. I've been out with groups of friends on dozens and dozens of occasions and without fail the people getting bitten have consumed dairy products within 24 hours and those that aren't didn't. Test it for yourself. Everybody I've told about it has found it to be true with them, they get bitten with dairy, they don't without. I used to hate the outdoors growing up because mosquitos... I owe my current enjoyment of the outdoors to the chance viewing of that newscast.
No easy solution
Oh how I wish that dairy products was the answer. It's not.
I was vegan for years, and no matter where I lived in Europe (Copenhagen, Hertfordshire, Innsbruck, Malta) and no matter where I holidayed, I was always bitten more than anyone else I know.
My personal theory is that it is all about the levels of CO2 in your blood. It is a fact that blondes get more bites. They also have a higher %age of CO2 in their blood. Also, 'holy men' have said that they are more attractive to mosquitoes, and they have also a higher level of CO2 in their blood. There is research on the net about this.
The other point is that most observations are made by those who react allergically to the bites, whereas when you get used to it, you don't get a reaction. Locals in Malta say that they don't get bitten, but the truth is that they just don't show a reaction. After two years in Malta mosquito bites only produce a slight itching on me now...