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For mosquitoes, are you love at first bite?


It's true that mosquitoes prefer to bite some people over others at summer barbeques and picnics, like the ones coming up this week.

So, how can you tell if you're a favorite target of the buzzy pests? The bottom line is mosquitoes like the smell of certain people over others.

Sure, you can skip perfumes or colognes, so you are not a sweet-smelling target before going to outside gatherings.

But Molly Keck, an entomologist and a pest management specialist at the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, said mosquitoes may like to bite you for you just being you.

She said mosquitoes prefer the body chemistry smells of active people, drinkers, and pregnant women.

"Pregnant women tend to be more attractive to mosquitoes because of the hormones and other things that they are emitting. Their body heat ... their temperature is a little higher."

They also like anyone who exhales a lot of carbon dioxide, those with Type O blood, and those who wear bold or dark colors. "They like dark objects, so if you are wearing dark-colored clothing, they're going to find you better than someone who is wearing all white," Keck said.

If you have one or more of these characteristics, be sure to wear repellent this summer.

By the way, only the female mosquitoes do the biting, Keck explained. She said they need to suck blood for protein to help produce their eggs. The males are flying around sucking nectar from plants and helping to pollinate at the same time.

Mosquitoes lay eggs in water, so standing water must go to reduce their population. Keck said even if it has not rained in a while, mosquitoes can lay eggs in watered landscaping.

She said the heat also aids in their rapid development. Keck said some species can grow from egg to adult in less than a week in the current South Texas weather pattern.

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