Skip to Content

Do mosquitoes prefer gingers?

Ginger hair, while relatively uncommon in the general population, has sparked curiosity for centuries. Redheads make up only 1-2% of the world’s population, so why do mosquitoes seem attracted to the minority? Are mosquitoes actually drawn to the scent of ginger hair, or is this just a myth passed down through generations? As an SEO writer, I will analyze the facts and studies to determine if mosquitoes do indeed prefer people with red hair.

Mosquito Attraction Factors

To understand if ginger hair makes one more desirable to mosquitoes, we must first examine what attracts the insects in general. Mosquitoes locate hosts through different cues:

Carbon Dioxide

Mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide, a gas exhaled by animals, from up to 50 meters away. They fly toward sources of CO2, which is why mosquitoes are drawn to the breath of humans and other animals.


Mosquitoes also use scent to hone in on hosts. They are attracted to chemical compounds from sweat and body odor. Lactic acid, ammonia, fatty acids, and esters on the skin signal the presence of a blood meal.

Visual Cues

Mosquitoes also use sight to locate hosts. Dark colors, heat signatures, and movement can attract mosquitoes once they are closer to a human.


Studies show that some people are simply more attractive to mosquitoes based on their genetic makeup. Substances controlled by genes make certain individuals produce chemical signals or emit scents that appeal to mosquitoes.

So mosquito attraction is a complex mix of carbon dioxide, aroma, visuals, and genetics. But can hair color factor in as well?

Redheads and Mosquito Bites

Over the years, many redheads have insisted that mosquitoes target them more aggressively than others. But is this actually the case? Let’s analyze some evidence.

Scientific Research

A few studies have delved into mosquito attraction to gingers:

  • A study from London South Bank University compared mosquito landing rates on groups of brown-haired and redheaded subjects. While more mosquitoes landed on redheads overall, differences were not statistically significant, so researchers concluded hair color was unlikely the main factor.
  • Researchers from the University of Louisville examined body odor chemicals from redheads, brunettes, and blondes. While redheads did produce slightly more of certain skin acids and alcohols, levels were not high enough to conclude hair color determines mosquito appeal.
  • A study from Purdue University found redheads are more susceptible to bites only when taking into account other genetic factors like skin color, eye color, and blood type.

Overall, scientific studies to date have found minimal correlation between ginger hair and increased mosquito attraction on its own.

Anecdotal Reports

However, redheads continue reporting feeling singled out by mosquitoes:

  • On ginger hair forums, many redheads swap stories of wicked mosquito bites after others around them remain unscathed.
  • There are several accounts of classrooms and offices where redheads receive the brunt of mosquito bites.
  • Some redheads may require stronger doses of repellent to fend off mosquitoes.

So is this heightened mosquito appeal just confirmation bias? Or could other factors be at play?

Other Contributing Factors

Rather than hair color alone, other characteristics common in redheads may converge to make them magnets for mosquitoes:

Fair Skin

Redheads tend to have very fair skin, making blood vessels closer to the surface. Mosquitoes use vision in addition to scent to zero in on capillaries near the skin, where they can feed most efficiently. Easy visual access to blood could lead mosquitoes to target ginger-haired people.

Blood Type

Research shows mosquitoes land more frequently on people with Type O blood. Since O is the most common blood type among redheads, this may contribute to mosquitoes singling gingers out in a group where others have Type A, B, or AB.

Body Heat

Redheads may run slightly warmer than people with darker pigmentation. A warmer body heat signature against the cooler ambient temperature could make redheads stand out through mosquitoes’ heat-sensing vision.


While red hair itself may not be a factor, mosquitoes could respond to other genetically-influenced scents associated with redheads. More research is needed around their skin biochemistry and aromatic compounds.

Factor Influence on Mosquito Attraction
Fair skin Makes blood vessels and capillaries more visible
Blood type Type O most attractive to mosquitoes
Body heat Slightly warmer heat signature
Aromatic compounds Unidentified scents tied to genes


So do mosquitoes really zero in on redheads? The evidence is hazy. Scientific studies have not found hair color alone lures mosquitoes, but anecdotal reports continue piling up. Rather than one factor, a combination of fair complexion, blood type, temperature, and scent could create a perfect storm making redheads mosquito magnets. More research is needed to isolate the root causes of this ginger phenomenon.

In the meantime, people with red hair along with fair skin should take extra precautions against mosquitoes. Wear long sleeves, apply repellent liberally, and stay indoors during peak mosquito activity. While the mosquito-ginger connection still contains many question marks, it always pays to be vigilant against those blood-sucking pests!