What smells do mosquitoes like?

by | Last updated Jun 28, 2023 | Mosquitoes

We have all experienced itchy mosquito bites at some point in life. Whether it happened during a cookout or vacation, the pain and irritation should be the least of your concerns.

These blood-sucking bugs are carriers of dangerous pathogens and transmit fatal diseases.

Do you ever feel that you attract more mosquitoes than others around? Rest assured that it is not your charming personality or impeccable choice of music. Yes, you are special.

What smells do mosquitoes like?

But it is all about your smell, good or bad. Mosquitoes have a complex sense of smell that allows them to select their preferred blood meal.

So, what smells do mosquitoes like? Continue reading to find out more.

7 Smells That Mosquitoes Like

There is ongoing research on how mosquitoes pick their targets. But one thing is for sure. These bugs have scent receptors that can distinguish hosts from up to 100 feet.

With the human body releasing nearly 400 different distinct chemical smells, mosquitoes are attracted to some more than others.

Different mosquito species come with varying needs. While some feed on anything warm-blooded, others like Aedes aegypti (main carrier of Zika virus), only feed on human blood.

It is proven that these species are attracted to certain odors we produce knowingly or unknowingly, like Carbon dioxide.

Carbon Dioxide

Studies show that mosquitoes are attracted by the CO2 that we exhale. Apparently, their sense of smell plays a vital role in finding hosts than their eyesight.

They track potential targets through the CO2 produced until they can finally see them. More so, these bugs can easily detect a change in CO2 concentration.

A rise in metabolic rate means more carbon dioxide is released into the environment. Exercise, pregnancy, and alcohol increase amounts of CO2 produced, thereby alerting mosquitoes of the potential hosts.

Lactic Acid

Our bodies naturally create lactic acid during the conversion of carbohydrates into energy.

This waste is released through the skin during physical activities. It is also present in certain food like kimchi, yogurt, wine, and sourdough bread.

People have different amounts of lactic acid and can be increased by engaging in exercise or eating the mentioned food.

Lactic acid is a mosquito magnet, making active and bigger people their preferred target.

Body Odor

Odor is one common method that female mosquitoes use to pick their prey. Certain compounds on human sweat and skin act as a magnet to these pests.

Such different compounds like ammonia and lactic acid make some people more susceptible to mosquito bites than others.

Although it is not yet clear the cause of body odor variation, certain bacteria and genetics play a significant role.


Personal care products contain scents that mosquitoes find enticing. If we can smell you, rest assured these insects do too.

So how does deodorant attract mosquitoes? It turns out that the lady bloodsuckers love sweet scents. Besides, most skincare products have lactic acid, something that the human body creates naturally through sweat.

Using such products, especially the floral-scented ones, only make your situation worse and help these pests find you.

Do you want to prevent mosquito bites? It is advisable to avoid using cologne or perfumes if you are planning to spend time outdoors.

Not ready to change our routine? You can always use unscented body wash, shampoos, and lotions.

Skin Bacteria

Generally, it is not always what you put in your body that attracts mosquitoes but rather what lives on it. In the human body, there are numerous microorganisms and bacteria.

Now, before you freak out and begin scrubbing your body with a sanitizer, these bacteria are good for you. In fact, they are crucial in keeping you healthy by fighting the bad ones.

Sweat provides the most nutrients for skin bacteria. Mosquitoes find some type of bacteria appealing while others, not much. With the abundant proteins and minerals in sweat, microorganisms thrive fast.

Have you noticed that people have different sweat smells? The bacteria are responsible for this. Their wastes produce a distinct smell that the mosquitoes utilize to find their targets.

Besides, you can never find two people with the same type of microbiome.

Blood Type

By now, you know that mosquitoes don’t select their targets randomly. Unfortunately, the blood group factor is not something that you can choose or change.

There are four different blood group types, and they all secrete different unique scents. The research revealed that these pests are particularly attracted to type O blood but not fond of type A.

For type O individuals, you can always use repellants to avoid being covered with those terrible bites. Nonetheless, ensure to take preventive measures regardless of your blood type.

Heat and Vapor

The human body generates heat and releases vapor depending on the level of temperature in an area. With the mosquitoes’ ability to sense these elements, the bugs can decide to bite or not.

Animals feature varying amounts of vapors and body temperatures compared to humans. These aspects come in handy during host selection, making humans generally enticing to mosquitoes.

Related reading: Itchy bumps that look like mosquito bites but aren’t

Frequently Asked Questions on Scents That Attract Mosquitoes?

Q1: Does sweet almond oil attract mosquitoes?

Sweet almond oil is not only a great carrier oil but also an excellent antioxidant. It contains healing powers leaving skin soft and healthy.
Almond oil has a sweet fragrance that may attract mosquitoes if used alone. However, when used with certain essential oil, it creates effective mosquito repellants.

Q2: Does deodorant attract mosquitoes?

Although mosquitoes are usually attracted to human natural body odor, they also love the scent of products we use to mask our body smell. These include the likes of deodorant containing lactic acid. However, recent studies have revealed that deodorant compound known as isopropyl tetradecanoate could repel mosquitoes.

Q3: Are mosquitoes attracted to perfume?

Yes, they are. Remember that mosquitoes are attracted to flowers, and most perfumes are floral scented. Besides, they contain some amounts of lactic acid that these insects love.

What Smells Do Mosquito-Like?

Mosquitoes have highly attuned receptors that can detect various aspects like body heat, color, moisture, and even movement.


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They are attracted to certain smells like body odor, lactic acid, skin bacteria, carbon dioxide, blood type, and fragrances. While you may have control over some scents, others not much.

You can always wear repellants, avoid dark-colored clothes, or just call professional pest control services to get rid of the infestation.

Related reading: What to burn to repel mosquitoes

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