As the weather warms up so does mosquito activity. Don’t let those bloodsuckers suck the fun out of your summer! Before repelling these itchy insects, getting the buzz on these little know mosquito facts may give you new insights.
Mosquitoes are the Deadliest Animals on Earth
While Mosquitoes don’t maul, poison, or drown people like some other predators, they do deliver diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that those diseases kill 725,000 people yearly. Mosquitoes may carry any number of deadly diseases including malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika, and encephalitis. Mosquitoes also carry heartworm, which can be lethal to your dog.
Not All Mosquitoes Bite
The female mosquitoes are the dangerous ones. They bite and draw blood because they need protein for their eggs and must take a blood meal in order to reproduce. Male mosquitoes feed on flower nectar. Males have very hairy and fuzzy antennae (like a powder puff) whereas females have less hairy antennae.
Mosquitoes Fly Slowly
Mosquitoes average a flight speed of 1 to 1.5 miles per hour. If a race were held between all the flying insects, nearly every other contestant would beat the pokey mosquito. Butterflies, locusts, and honeybee would all finish well ahead of the skeeter.
All Mosquitoes Need Water to Breed—but Not Much
Just a few inches of water is all it takes for a female to deposit her eggs. Tiny mosquito larvae develop quickly in bird baths, roof gutters, and old tires dumped in vacant lots. Some species can breed in puddles left after a rainstorm. If you want to keep mosquitoes under control around your home, you need to be vigilant about dumping any standing water every few days.
Most Mosquitoes Can Travel Only 2–3 Miles
The distance that a mosquito can travel depends on the species. Different species have different flight capabilities. For example, most mosquito species can fly up to 1-3 miles while other large pool breeders in the Midwest have been known to fly up to 7 miles from their breeding areas.
Not Everyone Is Allergic to Mosquito Saliva
Mosquito saliva, which lubricates the proboscis to glide into the skin, is responsible for the itching and bump on your skin, but not everyone is allergic to mosquito saliva. Some people even avoid getting bitten, and their sweat is being studied to develop repellents.
Why Do Mosquitoes Exist?
Basically, mosquitoes exist because they’re next to impossible to wipe out. Mosquitoes are millions of years old as a species. They do serve as food for other species (birds, frogs, and fish) and as pollinators. There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes, but only about 200 bite humans.
Mosquitoes are attracted to Carbon Dioxide
Ever wonder why you get eaten up each summer, while your friend is virtually unscathed by itching welts? Carbon dioxide is the most universally recognized mosquito attractant and draws mosquitoes from up to 35 meters. When female mosquitoes sense carbon dioxide they usually adopt a zigzagging flight path within the plume to locate its source. Once in the general vicinity of a potential host, other cues predominate, including body odors (sweat, lactic acid, etc.) and heat.
Mosquitoes Have Benefited Science
The design of their proboscis has inspired scientists to design less-painful hypodermic needles, examine strategies to make needle insertion easier, and create insertion guides to better place tiny electrodes into the brain.