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Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito? Most people have and they’ll tell you, it’s annoying. The constant scratching and reddish-pink bumps aren’t flattering on anyone. And have you ever experienced a bite on the foot? There truly is nothing more irritating than a mosquito bite on your toe.
But, Mother Nature has her purpose for all animals on Earth, and mosquitoes are no exception. Mosquitoes serve as prey for many insects, spiders, lizards and salamanders. So, if we were to rid the world of mosquitoes, we could lose some of the creatures we love so dearly.
Mosquitoes can be found on every continent besides Antarctica, so they affect people’s lives daily. We’ve compiled some of the most interesting facts about mosquitoes to expand your knowledge on them.
Because mosquitoes only weigh 2.5 milligrams and are not strong fliers, it doesn’t take much to blow them away. If you want to repel mosquitoes, have a fan continuously blowing beside you and you’ll likely notice how no mosquitoes will be on you. Fans also reduce body heat and sweat, which are a couple of factors that attract them to humans.
Yep, you read that right. Over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year. In fact, mosquitoes kill more people in one day than sharks do in a century. Mosquitoes transmit dengue, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile virus, yellow fever and the infamous Zika virus. West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness that is carried from infected birds to humans via mosquitoes. People typically develop symptoms between 3 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms may persist for several weeks, and in some cases cause permanent neurological effects.
If mosquitoes and humans have anything in common, it’s that they both like beer. People who drink beer have been shown to be more attractive to mosquitoes. The exact reason for this is unclear. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale. When a female mosquito senses CO2, she flies in a zigzagging flight pattern to find the source. As she gets closer, other factors come into play such as body odors (i.e. from sweat, lactic acid, etc.) and heat.
Mosquito eyes are two spheres on both sides of their head which contain hundreds, if not thousands of lenses called ommatidia. Up close, it looks mesh-like. In addition to sight, mosquitoes use both olfactory and thermal cues to find their targets – the triple threat.
Adult female mosquitoes need a blood meal to reproduce requiring her to search for a host, which is often human. Mosquitoes are attracted by the odor of the carbon dioxide that humans naturally exhale. This is what initially attracts these annoying pests. As they get closer, mosquitoes can see you and then use thermal sensory information to detect body heat and zero in. These three senses combined provide the triple threat needed to locate their next meal.
It’s estimated that mosquitoes have been on Earth for more than 100 million years so it isn’t hard to imagine how this many species of mosquitoes came to be. The United States alone has 176 identified species. Anopheles mosquitoes are the only species known to carry malaria. Culex mosquitoes carry West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis and Aedes mosquitoes carry yellow fever, dengue, and encephalitis as well.
Scientists are constantly looking for new mosquitoes and reviewing existing species for new information. Improvements to microscopic equipment have helped determine differences between mosquito species.
Mosquitoes are fascinating but dangerous creatures. There are measures you can take to protect your property from mosquitoes but a professional pest control service is the most effective way. Ehrlich can help reduce mosquito populations on your property so you can enjoy being outside without these annoying pests.