There’s nothing that proves the world’s unfairness quite like mosquito bites. Out of ten people sitting around the same campfire, you could end up being the only one to walk away speckled with hot, itchy bites.
As it turns out, Smithsonian.com reports one in five people are the unlucky type to get devoured by mosquitoes on a regular basis. With diseases like Zika virus spreading at an alarming rate, it isn’t only a matter of comfort but of safety as well. And because researchers have yet to discover a cure for the affliction, it’s important to arm yourself with all the information out there on the reasons you’re more likely to get bit.
First, know your blood type. A study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that people with blood Type O are about twice as likely to get bit as people with blood Type A, while those with blood Type B averaged somewhere between the two. While you can’t swap out your blood for something less mosquito-enticing, knowing what type you are can surely motivate you to cover up and lather on the insect repellent next time you go for a stroll at twilight.
In addition to certain blood types leaving you predisposed, being large can attract mosquitoes as well. This has to do with the amount of insect-inviting carbon dioxide you release through your breath—the bigger you are, the more CO2 you exhale. Does this mean mosquitoes could inspire us to hit the gym? Perhaps. But know that it takes a pretty massive jump in body size (we’re talking children vs. adults) to make a noticeable difference.
Speaking of the gym, if you just worked up a sweat, then be on the lookout for flying bloodsuckers. Mosquitoes are attracted to the lactic acid, uric acid, and ammonia released through our sweat—not to mention higher body temperatures—so make sure to cool down and towel off before you venture back outside.
Want to know the most disappointing way to ward off mosquitoes? Set your beer down. According to a study published by the American Mosquito Control Association, all it takes is twelve ounces of beer to make you more appealing to insects. Researchers aren’t exactly sure of the reason behind this cruel twist of fate, but if you’re looking to stay itch-free, consider opting for sparking water instead.
For the full list of mosquito attractors and ways to fight the little buggers off, head over to Smithsonian.com.