Let’s face it. Mosquitoes are one of the most miserable pests in existence, annoying humans the world over. Perhaps that misery stems from something other than their sometime disease-vectoring appendage, also known as a ‘proboscis.’ After all, the average life span of the parasite is a mere two weeks.
The vast majority of mosquitoes live only long enough to produce more mosquitoes by laying eggs in any nearby pool-of-water or as Nancy Troyano, PhD, BCE, Training Manager/Entomologist at Rentokil (Ehrlich) says, “Mosquitoes will lay eggs in anything containing at least one cup of water.” Fortunately, most mosquitoes end up as food for spiders, dragonflies and birds. Mother Nature exterminates the rest with wind, rain or drought.
The female mosquitoes lay their eggs on any water source, where they may sit anywhere from one day to thirty-six hours. The entire mosquito-maturation process takes anywhere from nine to sixteen days. Only female mosquitoes bite in order to suck blood to obtain certain proteins crucial for the development of Mosquito eggs. Female and male mosquitoes get their nutrients mainly from plants and the nectar of flowers.
How Do Mosquitoes Find You?
One way that the female mosquito finds you is by detecting the carbon dioxide levels in the air. Once carbon dioxide is exhaled from our lungs, mosquitoes follow that trail in a generally zigzag pattern until close enough to suck blood.
“Mosquitoes will typically land (10 yards) before and right after feeding in order to rest,” says Troyano.
Mosquitoes can take in as much as four times their weight in blood due to certain chemicals in their saliva which prevents human blood from clotting.
Studies have shown that mosquitoes may prefer certain people over others. “One in 10 people are highly attractive to mosquitoes,” reports Jerry Butler, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Florida. Scientists have learned that genetics account for a staggering 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites. Butler also added, “People with high concentrations of steroids or cholesterol on their skin surface attract mosquitoes.” Butler says that certain people may be more efficient at processing cholesterol, the byproducts of which remain on the skin’s surface, an irresistible invitation to mosquitoes.
Other Things That Attract Mosquitoes
When people move, especially if wearing brightly-colored clothing, mosquitoes will hone in with astonishing ease. It is paramount to wear light-colored clothing and DEET-fortified insect repellent.
Mosquitoes can also find you by using highly sensitive sensory hairs along the length of their antennae, thus enabling them to detect numerous changes in their environment. These structures enable mosquitoes to sense changes in moisture, heat, movement and vibrations, as well as the levels of chemicals in the air such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
Mosquitoes Are Attracted To Sweaty Fitness Enthusiasts
It is estimated that there are 400+ chemicals emitted from human skin and nearly 100 volatile compounds in each and every human breath that mosquitoes can detect. Mosquitoes are drawn to the smell of lactic acid as you perspire. Movement and heat attract mosquitoes which is why competitive sporting events (outdoors) are popular mosquito eateries.
Mosquitoes are also disease vectors. With each mosquito bite lurks the potential for contracting West Nile Virus and other diseases. Prevention is the ultimate weapon for combating mosquito infestation and infection. Meanwhile, contact your pest control expert, Ehrlich, and ask about our free-home-inspection. Protect yourself and your loved ones from the nuisances and dangers of mosquitoes.
What do you do to stay mosquito bite-free? Share below in the comments!