“Mosquito Magnet” Study

October 19, 2022
A mosquito hanging from a green leaf

If you have high levels of this stuff on your skin, you’re going to be the one at the picnic getting all the bites.

Neurobiologist Leslie Vosshall, one of the authors of a new study that found mosquitoes are attracted to particular human scents.

Why It Matters: A new study compared people's scents in order to test why mosquitoes bite certain people. The researchers had participants wear stockings in order to collect their scent, then put those stockings into a container with several mosquitoes. The mosquitoes flocked to the same stockings repeatedly over time, reflecting that mosquitoes prefer biting people who have higher levels of certain acids (that produce a specific scent) on their skin. While these acids are necessary for healthy skin, this research could help scientists develop new and more effective mosquito repellents.

Are you a mosquito magnet? It could be your smell (The Associated Press)

Some People Really Are Mosquito Magnets, and They’re Stuck That Way (Scientific American)

Here's the study: Differential mosquito attraction to humans is associated with skin-derived carboxylic acid levels (Cell)

by Jenna Lee,