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Zidbits – Learn something new everyday! | October 25, 2014

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Do Mosquitoes Prefer A Certain Blood Type?

Do Mosquitoes Prefer A Certain Blood Type?

If you are a somewhat sporty, have type O blood and are not as skinny as you used to be, then your paranoia is confirmed. Mosquitoes are indeed out to get you.

Do You Feel Like Mosquitoes Single You Out? It May Not Be Your Imagination.

Ten years of research into mosquito habits and two years persuading volunteers to be swarmed, has been enough for a Tokyo-based expert to draw conclusions. Dr. Yoshikazu Shirai, who holds a PhD in medical entomology, based his findings on tests he did on 64 people who held their arm in a humid enclosure for 10 minutes. By repeating the experiment twice on different days, each person was eventually exposed to 105 mosquitoes.

Hungry Mosquito

Men With Type O, You’re Delicious.

In a climate-controlled, summery 23 degrees, mosquitoes reveal their weaknesses. Men are slightly more likely to be bitten than women but it is blood type (type O) and body heat that really get them interested.

Each mosquito had its proboscis (the part it bites with) amputated. Since the mosquitoes couldn’t bite, and thus couldn’t drink their fill, the researchers were able to compare how often they landed on the skin of different volunteers. They found those with type O blood were twice as attractive to mosquitoes then those with a different blood type.

Try Catnip

Researchers from Iowa State University found that catnip is actually ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. DEET is the active ingredient in most mosquito repellants, including Off ®. The active ingredient in catnip is nepetalactone which is the essential oil that not only repels mosquitoes, but cats find irresistible.

Mosquito Bite Cure

Mosquitoes make use of a protein when feeding which aids in keeping your blood from clotting. When they bite, that protein enters your skin and your body has a slight allergic reaction to it. This reaction can cause swelling, itchiness and reddening of the afflicted area. Antihistamines and anti-itch creams will help to soothe the afflicted area.

If you have recently been a meal for a mosquito, there’s a simple trick you can do which will mitigate the itchiness and discomfort. All you need is a metal spoon and some hot water. Take your metal spoon and run warm to hot water on it. You want it hot, but not hot enough to cause damage or burn your skin.

When the spoon is nice and hot, place it on the portion of your skin that was bitten and hold it there for a few minutes or until it cools down. Why this works is a bit of a mystery. A few sources claim that the heat breaks down the proteins. Sounds good in theory, but the proteins responsible won’t break down until they reach roughly 140F (60c). That would almost certainly cause 3rd degree burns on your skin.

One plausible explanation is that the heat from the spoon temporarily overloads the sensitive nerves in the area. With the nerve endings overloaded, they can no longer transmit the single to your brain that it itches.

Bonus: One study on mosquitoes found that mosquitoes prefer beer drinkers to water drinkers. Researchers exposed mosquitoes to body odors from water drinkers and beer drinkers and found that the bugs preferred the “breath and skin emanations” of beer drinkers.

References:
Brian Wienhold (2010). Wax-based catnip-oil formulation against stable flies. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58 (23)
Engaging the Community to Defeat Biting Midge(PDF)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20209056

Comments

  1. Maxwell

    My girlfriend sent me this link. This article validates what she and I have suspected for a long time. But I like my beer in the summer! Le sigh. No love for us universal donors.

  2. Donna

    I met a researcher at the University of Washington who is also studying the habits of mosquitoes. I went on vacation and was bitten hundreds of times so my interest in her work was piqued by the intensity of my sufferings. She said that her findings show that the mosquitoes are attracted to the lactic acid present in the body/blood. Makes perfect sense as I am very acidic. Now I’m searching for ways to become pH balanced in my body for better health and not to attract those evil mosquitoes.

  3. corners

    They probably like beer drinkers more because of the extra co2 in their breath.

  4. Balamurugan

    My daughter is regular victim of the problem. She is also O positive. She is very allergic to bites that she develops boils with pus in and around bite spot. Does anyone have a solution for the allergy? I will have to try the hot spoon treatment also.

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