13 Facts About Mosquitoes ̶ The Most Deadliest Pest In The World
No one would ever claim to like mosquitoes, but there’s no denying that these pests are actually fascinating
Now that summer is past, we can take a look at just how amazing these blood-thirsty pests are, without getting too itchy or irritable.
- Females Are The Biters
Only female mosquitoes are after our blood as they need it for reproduction. The males don’t need our blood and rather consume fruit and other plant nectar. The females appear to need both, and they will feed on nectar as a supplement to their nutrition.
Female mosquitoes want our blood as it contains proteins and other compounds that assist with egg laying. Apparently, the more blood a female mosquito consumes, the more eggs she can lay. Some mosquito species can lay a new batch of up to 200 eggs every third night.
- Mosquitoes Don’t Have Teeth
Technically, mosquitoes lack teeth so they cannot “bite”. What they actually do is insert their mouth tube or proboscis into our skin (just like an injection) and withdraw our blood just as a nurse or doctor would.
Mosquitoes have 6 small razor-sharp needles that they use to prick your skin. The two outer needles are hooked, allowing them to hold your skin open while they look for capillaries or veins.
- Mosquitoes Like Beer & Heat
Mosquitoes cannot get drunk from biting a person who is drunk. By storing the blood they’ve extracted in a specialized pouch in their bodies, our blood does not enter the mosquito’s bloodstream. But they do show a preference for beer drinkers. However, science tells us that it’s not the smell of beer they like, but the effect of the alcohol on the body. Intoxicated people have a higher body temperature and they sweat more than a person who is sober, and this is what attracts mosquitoes.
Talking of temperature, did you know that mosquitoes prefer pregnant women? Women who are pregnant have higher body temperatures, so they are a more appealing “target”.
- Mosquitoes Prefer Certain Blood Types
Mosquitoes prefer type O blood, and to a lesser extent, type B blood. Their least favorite is type A blood.
- Mosquitoes Spit And Urinate On You
If you’re squeamish, don’t read the following.
After the female has sucked up your blood, she secretes saliva and urine into the withdrawal wound to keep it open in case she needs to come back for more when their feeding is interrupted by us swatting them.
Mosquitos’ saliva contains chemicals very much like a local anesthetic and an anticoagulant. The anticoagulant stops our blood from clotting, and the anesthetic numbs the skin in the bite area, so you don’t feel the mosquito inserting the mouth tube looking for blood vessels.
It is the mosquito’s saliva that causes a slight allergic reaction, resulting in that irritating itchy bump.
- Mosquitoes Love C02
Our main attraction for mosquitoes or “mozzies” as they are called in Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, is the carbon dioxide (CO2) we give off with our breathing. We have already mentioned the attraction to pregnant women, but there is a little more to it. As expectant mothers breathe more rapidly, they give off more carbon dioxide.
Mosquitoes pick up CO2 from around 50 yards away from the source. Body heat and our sweat are particularly attractive to mosquitoes.
There is also a special group of people whom scientists call “secretors”. This group gives off a special chemical on their skin which signals their blood type.
- Mosquitoes Love Fruit & Flowers
Apparently, mosquitoes are crazy about bananas. This tropical fruit contains oils and sugars which mosquitoes need to balance their nutrition, along with plant nectar.
Mosquitoes basically like flowery or fruity odors.
- Mosquitoes Have Several Dislikes
Beside cold weather and strong gusts of air or wind, the mouthwash brand called Listerine is said to repel mosquitoes quite effectively. But who wants to slather themselves in Listerine before retiring for the night?
They are also said to be repelled by citronella, caramel, and mint chocolate scents.
Other ways to repel mosquitoes is to wear dark colored clothes rather than lighter colored clothing. Lighter colored clothing makes it easy for mosquitoes to detect heat spots on your body.
Mosquitoes don’t like cold temperatures. So, they tend to disappear during winter as they enter a state called “diapause”, which is like a bear going into hibernation. Mosquitoes do this to delay their own development, shut down and save energy and resources. During this time, mosquitoes remain in the same life-cycle stage.
- Mosquitoes Biggest Foe Is The Bat
Bats are a mosquito’s main predator, although “mozzies” are not a bat’s primary source of food. One study showed that bats can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour. This means that bats can eat between 6,000-8,000 insects a night. That is a lot of insects!
Birds are also prolific mosquito eaters. Although most birds will catch and eat mosquitoes, bird species with a particular taste for these pests are purple martins, migratory songbirds, hummingbirds, swallows, and waterfowl like ducks and geese. Barn swallows will eat upwards of 60 swallows an hour.
Fish also target mosquitoes when they are in the larval stage in water. Fish such as goldfish, guppies, bass, catfish, and bluegill all enjoy a diet of mosquitoes. Interestingly, there is a species of fish that really loves mosquitoes and has been used by environmental agencies to control mosquitoes. The fish is called a mosquito fish or enjoy.
Other predators include frogs and tadpoles, turtles, dragon and damselflies, spiders, and lizards to name a few.
- Science Is Stopping Mosquito Breeding
In the old days, government agencies used DDT to kill mosquitoes and drained marshy areas. These methods have since been abandoned thanks to the growth of environmental concerns. As a way of controlling the spread of mosquitoes, scientists have bred a genetically modified organism, a sterile male mosquito which cannot fertilize females. Therefore, no fertilization takes place and there are no eggs.
- Mosquitoes Can Be Deadly
Some species of mosquito are considered the deadliest insect in the world, causing horrible illnesses such as Dengue fever and malaria. Malaria infects more than 250 million people a year worldwide, particularly in tropical countries in Africa and South-East Asia. The prevalence of malaria has led to millions of cheap fake drugs flooding the market which the medical profession is worried could lead to widespread drug resistance.
- Malaria Is In The US
Cases of malaria in the US have been small and isolated. But the CDC is worried that malaria could re-emerge in the warmer southern states. President George Washington and his wife Martha were infected with malaria in their teens. This shows that malaria knows no boundaries and is not just a disease of the poor living in tropical climates.
- Mosquitoes Live Almost Everywhere
Mosquitoes need temperatures above 80°F to thrive, and they appear almost everywhere on the globe at some stage of the year. In some colder areas their season is very short, but it does occur annually. Iceland is the only place in the world without mosquitoes, even Greenland has two species.
Now that you have learnt more about mosquitoes you can use this knowledge to avoid coming across them in your home or anywhere else in the world. If you have a mosquito problem, it’s also not something you need to live with. Call the experts at Twin-Boro and we’ll help you get rid of these pests for good.