You’re having fun outdoors, and it’s getting dusk. The air is pleasant, and the grass feels cool under your feet. Suddenly, you feel a pinching sting on your arm, ruining the peacefulness of the evening. Instinctively, you slap at the pain, and then lift your hand to look. There’s a tiny insect crumpled there, and you realize your arm is starting to itch while a little, raised welt begins to form. Congratulations! You’ve just been bitten by one of nature’s most annoying insects: the mosquito! But what do you know about these creatures, and how can you learn more? We can help with that.
Unfortunately for people who hate getting bit and itching a lot, you can find mosquitoes almost everywhere. They live more commonly in the tropical climates, but they can also be found in the less tropical regions during the summer months. If you live in a place that’s very cold all year round, or a place that’s extremely dry, you may be able to avoid mosquitoes and their bites. They need warmth to survive, and they also need water. That’s because they lay their eggs in water, and the larvae hatch and live there until they become adults and fly away.
If you live in a US state like Florida, for example, you’re probably battling mosquitoes most of the year. For people who live in Western Washington, where it’s definitely wet but not nearly as warm, you may see mosquitoes only in the very height of summer, or perhaps not at all. With that in mind, you shouldn’t choose where you want to live based on the mosquito population. There are ways to control mosquitoes that can help you avoid getting bitten by them or having them around your house. That way you can live where you’re happy, and not feel like spending time outdoors is a constant mosquito battle.
The reason mosquitoes bite you is that they need blood, and they need blood to have enough protein for the eggs that they lay. Because of that, only the female mosquitoes bite. Males won’t bother you, because they aren’t looking for blood. One of the main things mosquitoes do is spread illness. They are responsible for some of the most serious illnesses in the world, including yellow fever, dengue fever, encephalitis, West Nile virus, and malaria. When people think of mosquitoes, they generally think of the biting and itching, but the disease potential is real and it can also be a very serious problem for some people.
The other thing mosquitoes do is offer a food source for a host of other animals. Frogs, bats, birds, dragonflies, and more all eat mosquitoes, and most mosquitoes will bite a bird, horse, or cow before they will go after a human being. They don’t favor humans for a meal, but will use us if we are all they can find nearby. They use temperature, exhaled carbon dioxide, and other factors to hone in on their prey, so they can locate a suitable animal (or person) they can use to get the blood they need for their eggs. As for a big benefit to society, mosquitoes don’t really have one other than being a food source for other creatures.
It may seem like mosquitoes live forever because they always seem to be around, trying to take a bite. But that’s not really true. Mosquitoes can live between five and six months. According to About Education, most mosquitoes don’t live that long because they are swatted by people or eaten by another animal. If a mosquito was left alone and unharmed, though, the five to six month lifespan would be realistic just based on the bug’s biology. For most mosquitoes, the idea of a long life isn’t realistic, because animals eat them, people swat them, and we all use chemicals to try to get rid of them.
If you want to make sure mosquitoes don’t live very long, there are ways you can reduce their lifespan and their chance to get a foothold in your local area. By taking some steps to make your location unpleasant for mosquitoes, you’ll have a better chance to avoid getting bitten. Since mosquitoes can carry a lot of nasty diseases, they are actually considered to be one of the most deadly animals in the world. That seems strange since they’re so tiny, but it’s important to reduce their numbers if you want to avoid having them bite you and potentially infect you with one or more diseases they may be carrying around with them.
According to National Geographic, mosquitoes come in more than 3,000 different species. Only certain types of mosquitoes carry certain diseases, but that doesn’t mean the less dangerous ones aren’t a nuisance. One of the ways to recognize a mosquito is by the high-pitched whine or hum they make when they fly past your head. It’s an irritating noise to a lot of people, and even though mosquitoes are small the noise one of them makes can be a bit loud. It can even wake someone from a sound sleep, simply because of the pitch of it and the way it sounds. But noise isn’t the only way to recognize a mosquito.
Other than the way they bite and the itch they create, mosquitoes can be recognized by their 1/8 to 3/4 inch size and their delicate appearance. Their legs are very small and thin, but rather long and jointed. The mosquito has a proboscis, and the female uses hers to puncture the skin of her prey. There are two tubes that are used. One is designed to inject the prey with an anti-clogging agent to keep the blood flowing, and the other tube is used to actually allow the mosquito to ingest the blood from the victim. Mosquitoes have a body and thorax that is very proportionate, and each of the different species have a very similar shape, look, and size.
Among the scariest things about mosquitoes has been the Zika virus, which mosquitoes are able to spread This disease is very serious, especially for women who are pregnant. It can cause harm to their unborn babies, causing them to be born with severe birth defects that can cause death, or severe brain damage and other problems. Naturally, many people are frightened of the Zika virus because of that reason, and that has made them even more worried about mosquitoes in general. In areas where Zika is more widespread, the goal is to get rid of as many mosquitoes as possible.
Cities and towns are using chemicals to try to get rid of mosquitoes as quickly as possible, and they are asking people to get rid of standing water. However, not every mosquito carries Zika, and not every mosquito can carry Zika. Most of the species of mosquitoes don’t and can’t carry the virus, so the odds of actually contracting it are still small. Despite that, there are areas of the country where Zika is more common, and women there are encouraged to take precautions. Pregnant women are also discouraged from traveling to countries and regions where Zika is prevalent, to reduce the risk to their unborn children.
One of the best things anyone can do about mosquitoes around their home is to get rid of them. While they’re an important food source for the ecosystem, they also pose too much disease risk to just leave them alone. Instead, getting rid of them can help reduce their population and keep them away from your home and yard. To reduce the mosquito population, you’ll need to do a few easy things. First, get rid of any standing water you have around. If you have old tires in your yard, any kind of bucket, or anything else where water collects, you’ll want to get it out of there.
Mosquitoes need standing water to live, because they lay their eggs in it. That water is also where their larvae grows up. If you see standing water with eggs or squiggly, swimming things, definitely dump it out. Better yet, dump it out before anything can start to live there. If you don’t have any standing water around your house, you’ll have a lot lower chance of seeing mosquito problems. Not only does that stop you from getting bit, itchy, and annoyed, it also greatly reduces your risk of contracting a deadly disease.
Another way to get rid of mosquitoes is by spraying chemicals for them, using citronella candles, and cutting back any bushes or plants near your home that the male mosquitoes may like. The more unfriendly you make your location when it comes to mosquitoes, the fewer of them you’ll see and the less chance you’ll have that they’ll cause you a problem. It can be a good feeling to enjoy time outdoors without getting bit by mosquitoes, but it’s still a good idea to wear repellent during peak mosquito hours. Your neighbors may not be working as hard as you to keep mosquitoes at bay.