Written by Tim Rigby
We realize that it’s winter and spring is still a few months away. However, something that seems to be always on the minds of Canadians come springtime is why we all endure mosquitos bites – and how can we prevent them. There’s an abundance of theories as to why certain people seem to get bitten more than others; these include assumptions pertaining to our blood type, our blood sugar levels, being female or a child, or even having recently consumed a banana or some garlic. Researchers at Rockefeller University (New York City) have recently concluded these are simply old wives’ tales – but that there really may be a different, legitimate reason.
It seems the female mosquito has a habit of being attracted to fatty acids emanating from the skin which creates a particular “perfume” that proves irresistible to the insect. “There's a very, very strong association between having large quantities of these fatty acids on your skin and being a mosquito magnet," says Leslie Vosshall, the Robin Chemers Neustein Professor at The Rockefeller University and Chief Scientific Officer of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
The report was published in the scientific journal Cell. While there’s no simple “cure” to this phenomenon (it’s not simply a matter of losing fat), the scientists suggested that a certain healthy bacteria can be manipulated upon contact with one’s skin, in order to disguise our skin microbiomes and lower the risk of mosquito bites.