Human skin is a cornucopia of fragrances.
The bacteria living on our skin emit more than 200 odor chemicals.
"Many of these molecules smell quite pleasant," says biologist Jeff Riffell at the University of Washington. "They smell grassy or a little bit like mushrooms. Some human scents are the same ones found in flowers."
Other chemicals — well — they aren't so nice. "They're pretty funky," Riffell says, like an overripe Brie cheese or a musty basement.
But mosquitoes don't care if we are stinky. They love human smells! Mosquitoes actually learn human scents and then seek them out, Riffell says.
In fact, it's your unique mixture of odors that determines how many mosquito bites you get, Riffell says — although scientists don't know exactly which combination is most alluring. Some people's perfume is just irresistible to skeeters.
"Some people are super-attractors for mosquitoes," Riffell says, "while other people aren't attractive at all, and the mosquitoes will avoid them."