Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Photo by Егор Камелев / Unsplash

It has become the norm that if an event is outside in Florida and I don't bring bug spray - I will suffer. This isn't a couple bug bites, but hundreds of little red dots that will cover random spots of my body. It may be some reaction in my body, but these will react, turn red and itch beyond belief.

You may be asking yourself - it can't be that bad and I'm overreacting. I don't want to sit here uploading photos of my arms, legs and normally covered portions of body, but I'll start with a photo of my hand/arm.

A few days after the bug bites. ~15 or so

If you got bite by a mosquito and let five days pass - would you have the red spots remaining? Would you subconsciously itch some of them to the point of bleeding?

If you take the above photo as an example, I may have only felt one or two of those bites, yet 10x show up. Is this normal?

So I started researching this personal phenomenon as I sit here with 46 bites on my right leg and 72 on my left. It itches and I've tried everything from caladryl to rubbing alcohol to simply stop the urge to itch so I was determined to research.

I found a Smithsonian snippet that gave 9 reasons why some folks are bite more than others. They listed them as:

  1. Blood Type - O
  2. Carbon Dioxide Emission
  3. Lactic Acid Sweat
  4. Bacteria on Skin
  5. Beer
  6. Pregnant
  7. Clothing Color
  8. Genetics
  9. Natural Repellant

I'm blood O Negative as we learned in this post, I don't think I emit too much carbon dioxide, but I for sure exercise a good deal to be releasing lactic acid. I can't tell if my skin is full of bacteria that bugs like or not, but I shower daily so probably not.

I don't drink beer, I'm obviously not pregnant and it doesn't matter what I'm wearing clothes wise - I still get bite. My genetics & natural repellant may be non-existent as the bugs love to chomp down on me.

So after reading that the only interesting one to me was blood type. Can mosquitoes actually identify a preferred blood type?

I found some studies from 1974, 2004 and 2019 to help back up this claim.

Preferential Feeding of Anopheles gambiae Mosquitoes on Human Subjects of Blood Group O (1974)

Analysis of the blood group data revealed that the mosquitoes preferentially selected hosts of blood group O.

Landing preference of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) on human skin among ABO blood groups (2004)

We demonstrated in this study that blood group O subjects attracted more Aedes albopictus than other blood groups (B, AB, and A)

Blood Feeding Preference of Female Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes for Human Blood Group Types (2019)

The highest preference was observed for the blood group “O”

I want to add a few more photos of red dots all over my body, but the idea of publishing some disgusting photos for the entire world to see doesn't seem that pleasant.

Instead I'll strive to not forget bug spray. I always have a bottle in my car, backpack and scattered throughout the place, but I guess I need to apply some anytime I head outside. It is the season for the bugs.

You’ve successfully subscribed to Connor Tumbleson
Welcome back! You’ve successfully signed in.
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Success! Your email is updated.
Your link has expired
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.