Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others?

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yardsale

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My wife and I can take the same hike and she will come home with angry red bites that itch for days whereas the itching in the one or two bites I do receive lasts an hour or two. Once again, winter rocks.
 

DougPaul

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My wife and I can take the same hike and she will come home with angry red bites that itch for days whereas the itching in the one or two bites I do receive lasts an hour or two. Once again, winter rocks.
The difference could easily be whether one scratches or not. If left alone, my mosquito bites itch mildly for a few minutes and then go away. If scratched, they itch more intensely and can last for days.

I was doing some brushing of the MA AT yesterday with hand hedge shears. (In other words you disturb the dense foliage and then wallow in it to the delight of the mosquitoes...) I know a got bit a number of times, but cannot find the bites today. (If you haven't guessed, I don't scratch or even rub the bites...)

Of course, some people probably react more intensely than others even without scratching.

I'll add a vote for winter too. Of course, skiing in the summer isn't very rewarding either...

Doug
 

Scubahhh

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When you have itchy bites, try slapping them repeatedly instead of scratching. A little trick we learned when we lived in Honduras and fed the sand flies.
 

bandana4me

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When I was young (ages ago), I was told that mosquitoes are attracted by either scented deodorant, soap and/or shampoo. Therefore it is best to leave these products behind and do not use them prior to hikes. Seems to work well for me!

It may have other benefits as well, as other hikers may opt for their tent instead of sharing a shelter with an unscented aroma.
 

bjc

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Mosquitoes attack me voraciously but rarely bother my wife. I am admittedly a much larger person than she. On the other hand, black flies torture her mercilessly and don't seem to bite me too often. I'm not sure which of us has the better deal.
 

TCD

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In addition to the (perhaps newer) information in the article, I have read in the past that studies showed mosquitoes to be attracted to young adult males with high metabolism and olive hued skin.
 

Gremlin

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I am immune, but I had to earn it. I was hospitalised at the age of seven for black fly bites and they have not bothered me since.

When Old-timers (I'm one now) say that mosquitoes worse worse when they were young they are telling the truth. I am told there are 73 species of mosquitoes in Canada and 68 regularly prey on humans. I am also told that you must develop immunity to each (sub?) species. When I travelled to British Columbia in the seventies mosquitoes ate me alive, but the bites disappeared in an hour or so.

I hiked in the Seward Range of the Dacks over the July 4th week-end and they were all round us. They didn't bite me, but their constant whining presence was an obstacle to sleep.

Next time I'll have a Therma-cell in the lean-to. My buddies who hunt bear in the spring in the Laurentians north of Montreal (where mosquitoes fly off with small children) swear by them.
 

Stan

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The bites welt, get red and itch as an allergic reaction to the saliva or venom that an insect emits when biting. Those with severe reactions should check with their doctors about the use of an antihistamine such as benedryl. I learned this at a wilderrness first aid course and have been carrying benedryl in my first aid kit ever since, replacing expired medicines periodically ... never used it but it doesn't take up space/weight and that's the way I hope everything in that kit goes.

Those who do attract mosquitos are more than welcome to hike with me ... I'll even supply happy hour .... just don't pay much attention if we assign you the trail name "flypaper".

Seriously, as unpleasant as insects can sometimes get that's never deterred us from venturing out whenever and wherever we wish. There are plenty of strategies for minimizing the inconvenience and there have been threads here in the past devoted to to this topic. What works for some people doesn't effect others so each has to find the best mix for themselves. Our strategy is a combination of long sleeves and pants (InsectShield and Buzz Off work but do not protect exposed skin), some dietary considerations ... e.g. garlic ... that's a stretch but who doesn't like food prepared with garlic ... an herbal lotion called Leweys and two strengths of deet. Start with the most benign combination of clothes and repellent, then layer and slather up as conditions dictate. I carry a headnet and lightweight silk gloves, too, but have only used them a few times in over 20 years.
 
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