12 Interesting Facts About Mosquitoes
It’s no secret: Mosquitoes are super annoying. They can also carry diseases, some of which are deadly.
Even though mosquitoes drive us crazy, we can’t help but be fascinated by some unique facts about these blood-sucking pests. Here is a list of 12 fun facts about mosquitoes.
1. Mosquitoes Are Attracted to Human Breath
Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, which we release when we exhale. That’s why we often notice mosquitoes buzzing around our heads. Mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide from 50 yards away, so it’s pretty hard to hide from them when we’re outdoors.
Mosquitoes are so good at sensing carbon dioxide that they are more likely to target pregnant women since they release more carbon dioxide. Pregnant women also have more blood and higher body temperatures, which draw mosquitoes to them even more.
2. Mosquitoes Also Like Your Stink
Mosquitoes are attracted to the mix of sweat and bacteria, which means body odor and dried sweat are especially tempting scents for the blood-thirsty insects. Mosquitoes carrying malaria are especially attracted to the scent of sweat.
They can also smell any bacteria on your feet, especially if they are sweaty or you haven’t washed them in a while. This is why we often get the most bites on our feet and ankles — smells from our feet tell mosquitoes they’ve discovered a prime meal location, so be sure to clean between your toes!
Several other things can also make you smell delicious to mosquitoes. Since they’re attracted to the smells of potassium and lactic acid, eating foods like bananas or using alpha hydroxy lotions can make you more appealing. They’re also drawn to specific blood types. People with type O are 83% more likely to be bitten.
3. Mosquitoes Are Confused by Certain Scents
Luckily, other smells deter mosquitoes or mask our enticing scents. Eating a lot of garlic can change the smell of your sweat to discourage mosquitoes. If you and your loved ones can handle it, rubbing vinegar or sliced onion on your skin can also keep mosquitoes away.
Some other, more pleasant scents, like vanilla and citrus, also make it more difficult for mosquitoes to sniff out carbon dioxide. Keeping mosquitoes away with vanilla? Yes, please.
4. Females Mosquitoes Are Aggressive
One of the most interesting mosquito facts is that the biters are all female. Because female mosquitoes need protein for their eggs, they’re the only ones that feed on blood. Male and non-reproducing female mosquitoes don’t worry about such things, so they feed on nectar from flowers.
5. It’s Her Spit That Makes You Itch
It’s clever, really. A mosquito needs a few minutes to fill up on your blood. How can she do that if your blood clots? Well, her spit acts as an anticoagulant, letting her have a nice, smooth flow of blood for her meal. It’s the saliva she leaves behind that makes you itch.
Additionally, her spit includes a local anesthetic, so you don’t feel her feeding. When do you typically feel her, then? When she’s pulling out, her belly already full of your delicious blood.
6. Mosquitoes Are Slow Flyers
Mosquitoes are one of the slowest flying insects. Although they can seem impossible to hit, they typically fly at only 1 to 1.5 miles per hour. Compare this speed to the honeybee, which can reach speeds of 15 miles per hour.
7. The Wings of Mosquitoes Make the Buzzing Sound
That buzzing sound in your ear? The one that drives you bananas? It’s a result of rapid wing beating. Despite its relatively slow flight speed, a mosquito beats its wings 300 to 600 times per second.
8. Wing Beats Are the Language of Love
When a male and female mosquito meet and decide to mate, their wing beats synchronize to the same speed. The sound of their flapping wings also creates a melody as they match speeds. Flapping their wings quickly enough to create these high-pitched sounds is an inefficient way to fly, meaning mosquitoes may sacrifice flying capability to find a suitable mate. How romantic.
9. Mosquitoes Are the Deadliest Animal in the World
Mosquitoes cause more deaths than any other animal on the planet. Mosquitoes spread many diseases, and because one mosquito can infect more than 100 people, their deadly reach is devastating. For most of these diseases, there is no vaccine or specific treatment. One mosquito is so closely tied to a particular illness that it shares the name — the yellow fever mosquito.
Some of the other dangerous diseases mosquitoes spread include:
- Dengue fever: Dengue viruses infect up to 400,000 people annually, and a quarter of those get sick. Most people feel better in a week, but severe dengue can cause internal bleeding and death. People who have previously been infected are more likely to develop severe symptoms.
- Encephalitis: Several mosquito-borne viruses cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Signs of encephalitis include flu-like symptoms, stiff neck, headache and disorientation. Severe cases can cause convulsions, coma and paralysis.
- Malaria: Mosquitoes frequently transfer the parasite that causes malaria. Symptoms are flu-like, including fever and chills. In 2020, about 241 million people contracted malaria globally, and 627,000 died.
- West Nile: This virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the U.S. About 20% of people who get infected also get sick, and some develop a severe or even fatal illness. West Nile is one of the viruses that can cause encephalitis.
- Zika: In the continental United States, the Zika virus has not been reported since 2018. However, it’s a concern for international travelers since there’s no vaccine. Additionally, pregnant women who get infected can pass Zika to the fetus, causing congenital disorders.
Four-legged creatures aren’t exempt from the threat of mosquitoes either. Mosquitoes carry heartworm, which can seriously harm your pets’ health and even kill dogs.
10. Some Mosquitoes Don’t Bite Humans
We’re all extremely annoyed with mosquitoes, enough so that we sometimes feel like we’re the only snack they prefer, but did you know some mosquitoes leave us alone? That’s right. Some species only go after birds or amphibians and reptiles.
11. Adult Mosquitoes Can Live up to 6 Months
Assuming the mosquito doesn’t meet its demise by a hand slap, an adult can live up to six months, which is a pretty long time in the bug world.
12. Mosquitoes Require Water for Breeding
Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, but they only need a few inches. If you want to keep mosquitoes away from your home, be sure to remove any standing water on your property regularly. Common places for water to gather include puddles, marshy areas of your yard, flower planters, gutters, pet water bowls and even toys left out in the rain.
Say Goodbye to Mosquitoes!
Although facts about mosquitoes are pretty interesting to learn about, the fact of the matter is that no one likes having to deal with these little pests. They’re annoying, they hurt, and they spread diseases and sometimes even cause deaths. Get rid of mosquitoes in your home and yard with effective mosquito control from Barefoot Mosquito & Pest Control.
Want to enjoy your backyard again? We can help. Come discover just how effective and affordable our mosquito control service is. If you live in Austin, Houston or San Antonio, reach out today to learn more about our services. You can also request a quote online!
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