In fact, the little buggers can sense carbon dioxide from as far as 180 to 230 feet away.1 As they fly closer to you and sense the heat of your body, they’ll start to detect other cues on this list, like body odor, which may solidify your status as a blood meal.

Since it’s not possible to stop releasing carbon dioxide, it’s worth keeping this factor in mind (and taking extra precautions) before a strenuous outdoor workout in really buggy areas, especially during the prime mosquito hours of dawn or dusk.

3. You’re working up a sweat.

On that note, if you’re breathing heavily in the hot summer sun, sweating is probably inevitable, which also “marks you as a target,” Dr. Ascher says. That’s because mosquitoes are drawn to lactic acid, a significant compound in sweat, particularly when combined with carbon dioxide, says Dr. Pereira. “Because active people are producing lots of lactic acid, mosquitoes are strongly attracted to them,” he notes. In fact, research shows that mosquitoes have a distinct smell receptor in their antennae that responds to the chemicals in human sweat.2

4. You prefer to wear dark clothing.

Yes, these insects are drawn to dark colors set against high-contrast backgrounds, simply because you may be easier to spot once the carbon dioxide lures them in, according to a 2022 paper published in Nature Communications.3 For example, if you’re lounging on bright green grass while wearing a black shirt in the daytime, you may be a feast for little mosquito eyes. Consider switching to lighter-colored clothing in the summer—it has the bonus of potentially helping you feel cooler in the heat.

5. You happen to be pregnant.

With all the bodily changes that you deal with during pregnancy, you’d think the insect world would have the decency to leave you alone. Unfortunately, mosquitoes are particularly attracted to pregnant people, says Dr. Ascher, and this comes down to a couple of factors: greater carbon dioxide output and higher body temperature. The hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy cause you to breathe more deeply and quickly, according to experts at Harvard Health, ultimately causing you to release more mosquito-attracting carbon dioxide. Additionally, as the uterus expands, it pushes against the abdomen, which can place pressure on the lungs, further contributing to heavy breathing.

As for body temp? During pregnancy, the fetus also emits heat, which increases your overall body temperature. Again, this can make you extra attractive to mosquitoes, who seek out heat.3

6. Your blood type might even play a role.

Some mosquitoes might have a preference for a specific blood type, says Dr. Periera, as certain species may have evolved around groups of people who had more of one type of blood. A small 2019 study published in the American Journal of Entomology found that to be the case with type O blood, specifically, but this research was done in a controlled environment, so Dr. Periera says to take that finding with a grain of salt. “Despite any preferences, mosquitoes will still bite people with different blood types.”

Here’s how to prevent mosquito bites, even if they seem to be super attracted to you.

Okay, so you know that mosquitoes seem to adore you, but what can you do about it? Here are a few expert-approved ways to reduce your risk of a gnarly bite: