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Posted: Thursday, 25 July 2013 5:47AM

Smithsonian: Why some get bitten by mosquitoes more than others

As we're seeing a very active mosquito season in Louisiana during this rainy summer, the Smithsonian Institute has put out a new list of things that make you more attractive to the bugs.

Some of them you can control, but others, not so much.

Like blood type. The Smithsonian says those with type O are bitten twice as often as those with type A. Type B is somewhere in between.

The things you can control include don't drink beer or go out after exercise.

Click here for the full list from the Smithsonian Institute.

Pregnant women attract nearly twice the mosquito bites as others, as they have two things the parasites like, a warmer temperature and they exhale more carbon dioxide.

Other things that distinguish tasty morsels for mosquitoes include bacteria on the skin, and the Smithsonian says "As a whole, underlying genetic factors are estimated to account for 85 percent of the variability between people in their attractiveness to mosquitoes - regardless of whether it's expressed through blood type, metabolism, or other factors."

Steve Pavlovich, an entomologist with Mosquito Control Inc. in New Orleans says those who exhale a high concentration of carbon dioxide are also bitten more frequently, and the bigger the person, the more they exhale.

And to avoid bites, the Smithsonian suggests wearing colors that don't make you stand out against the background may help in avoiding the bugs.

"Repelling insects," Pavlovich says, "The CDC is recommending that they use either DEET or picaridin products. There are several products out there that contain those active ingredients."

Pavlovich says some natural repellents are also showing some promise. "Some of the natural products out there are better than wearing nothing at all, and some of the natural products will also repel, but only for a short time period and not a very large area."

And since Louisiana has received its first 2013 case of West Nile virus this week, avoiding mosquito bites is more important than ever.

Filed Under :  
Topics : Environment
Locations : LouisianaNew OrleansWest Nile
People : Steve Pavlovich
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