Mosquito Bites

The Olympics get under way in Rio today, but unfortunately much of the talk surrounding these Games has been about Zika. So here are four facts for you about mosquito bites . . .

1. Only females bite. If you’ve ever been bitten by a mosquito, it was a female. Male mosquitoes make do just fine with plants, but females need a blood meal before they can lay eggs.

2. They’re attracted to pregnant women and beer drinkers. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide, lactic acid, and octenol found in our breath and sweat, and they also sense the heat from our bodies.

And in general, pregnant women and people who drink beer tend to exhale more carbon dioxide than the rest of us, so mosquitoes are more likely to bite them.

3. Your blood type might also be a factor. The research isn’t conclusive, but people with type O blood appear to be more prone to mosquito bites than anyone else . . . while people with type A blood are least likely to get bit.

4. They’re the deadliest animals on Earth. More deaths are associated with mosquitoes than any other animal on the planet. Malaria alone infects around 250 million people around the world each year, and kills about one million.

(Smithsonian / About.com / Mental Floss)