Summer vacation is synonymous with the great outdoors. Plans usually involve pools, beaches, picnics, barbecues, bonfires, camping, hiking, and many other activities that take advantage of the warm weather. However, summer days come with a major drawback, especially as the evening rolls in: mosquitoes. These pesky insects can ruin what would otherwise be a perfect summer activity. Especially if you are unfortunate enough to be a mosquito magnet while the pests seem to leave your companions alone. Research has uncovered several reasons why some people attract mosquitoes more than others, and fortunately, there are several effective ways to repel them.
Reasons Why Mosquitoes Are Attracted to You
Like people choosing food, mosquitoes do show a preference when it comes to blood. In fact, some species prefer certain blood types over others. For example, Asian tiger mosquitoes tend to pick Type O, while marsh mosquitoes go for Type AB. Plus, about 80% of people’s skin is genetically predisposed to emitting a chemical signal that says their blood type. Mosquitoes are attracted to people with this gene, no matter their actual blood type.
Mosquitoes have different methods to locate prey and one of them is smelling carbon dioxide as people exhale. As a result, people who exhale more carbon dioxide, such as people who are overweight, attract more mosquitoes. This is also why these pests tend to bite adults over of children. 
These blood-suckers also detect prey by sniffing out substances found in sweat such as lactic acid. Therefore, hikers and others engaging in physical exercise — or even people more prone to sweating — become blood hotspots. Even without sweat, mosquitoes look for heat, namely body heat. So if you “run hot” or go out on a stuffy day, you may become a target.
Read: Bug Bite Identification: 10 Common Bug Bites With Pictures
Several studies found that pregnancy makes people doubly attractive to mosquitoes. The reasons are simple. Pregnancy increases body temperature and causes more carbon monoxide exhalation, resulting in two more reasons for the bugs to bite. 
Finally, a reason you can actually control. Mosquitoes don’t rely on scent to find prey; they also use sight. Therefore, dark colors like black, green, red, or navy blue make you easier to spot. So opt for white, grey, beige, and other pale colors when dressing for an evening barbecue. While you’re at it, pick long sleeves and pants, if possible to limit exposed skin.
One study found that mosquitoes tend to flock to people drinking beer as opposed to those drinking water. This is bad news since beer is a staple at campfires and barbecues. Researchers have yet to understand why this is the case. Nevertheless, if you are planning on drinking outside on a summer evening, take extra precautions to keep the blood-suckers away. 
Natural Ways to Repel Insects
Remove Standing Water From Your Yard
Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, so remove any of these opportunities. This means you should check your yard for pools of water, especially after rainfall. This can occur in clogged roof gutters, kids’ pools, empty containers, on the top of trash can lids, and so on. If you have a bird bath, change the water on a weekly basis to remove potential eggs. 
Use a Fan
An electric outdoor fan can do more than keep you cool. It also might help keep the pests away. Mosquitoes are not strong fliers, so they may struggle to fight against the current. Cool air in a blood-sucker-free zone; it’s a hot summer day’s dream come true.
Choose Insect-Repelling Plants
If you are a gardener, choose vegetation that naturally repels insects. These plants not only look pretty, but they can smell exquisite. They also come in different shapes and colors so you can pick the ones that best suit your landscape. Plus, herbs are on this list, so you can enhance your cooking while keeping the bugs away. These plants include:
- Citronella grass (lemon grass)
Use Essential Oils
If you prefer to avoid traditional insect repellents, you can try essential oils. Remember, these oils are milder than typical repellents and may be less effective. However, they smell so much better. Remember, studies recommend avoiding using certain essential oils around young children and pets, so do your research before picking a type. Some of these are best used as a spray once diluted with oil and water. However, some can be applied like perfume, especially around mosquito-prone areas like the ankles and wrists. (But test the oil on a small section of skin first to ensure they won’t cause an allergic reaction.) Additionally, citronella, a particularly potent ant-insect oil, can come as a scented candle. Effective bug-repelling essential oils include:
- Cinnamon oil
- Greek catmint oil
- Lemon eucalyptus oil
- Neem oil
- Tea tree oil
- Thyme oil 
- “Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others?” Smithsonian Magazine. Joseph Stromberg. July 12, 2013
- “Why Are Mosquitos Attracted to Some People More Than Others?” Healthline. Jill Seladi-Schulman, Ph.D. October 8, 2019
- “9 Reasons Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others.” Very Well Health. Melissa Breyer. May 16, 2023
- “7 Natural Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites.” Everyday Health. Deniz Sahinturk. November 21, 2018
- “10 Natural Ingredients That Repel Mosquitoes.” Healthline. Kareem Yasin and Ashley Marcin. February 8, 2023