Mosquito Awareness Week: Facts and Protection Tips
Mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance. They’re dangerous.
There are approximately 2,700 species of mosquitoes. Only female mosquitoes bite, because they need blood to reproduce. During the 3-4 week lifetime of a female mosquito, it can produce over 1,000 eggs—which may hatch within 48 hours or, in some species, survive subzero winters.
Mosquitoes flourish in moist, relatively warm surroundings. They breed in damp soil and stagnant water, such as ditches and flood pools; however, gutters, discarded tires and other man-made containers make common breeding sites, as well.
Most adult mosquitoes remain near their breeding area, but the females will travel to find blood meals. Exhaled carbon dioxide attracts the female mosquitoes, as do moisture, color and movement. According to experts, most biting mosquitoes opt to feed on horses, cattle, birds or small animals over people. When attracted to people, mosquitoes seem to prefer certain scents—which explains why one person can be more bothered than another. A common allergic reaction to mosquito saliva causes bites to itch and develop the distinctive red bump.
Many species of mosquitoes bite more in early morning and at dusk, but some seek prey all night. Others prove more active during the day, especially in cloudy conditions and moist, shady spots sheltered from wind. Mosquitoes can bite through ordinary thin fabrics.
Here are a few mosquito facts you might not be aware of, courtesy of the AMCA (American Mosquito Control Association) and important prevention tips to get you through bug season…
More mosquito details can be found here.
- Mosquitoes are known from as far back as the Triassic Period – 400 million years ago.
- They are known from North America from the Cretaceous – 100 million years ago.
- The average mosquito weighs about 2.5 milligrams.
- The average mosquito takes in about 5-millionths of a liter of blood during feeding.
- Mosquitoes find hosts by sight (they observe movement); by detecting infra-red radiation emitted by warm bodies; and by chemical signals (mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and lactic acid, among other chemicals) at distances of 25 to 35 meters.
- Mosquitoes fly an estimated 1 to 1.5 miles per hour.
- Salt marsh mosquitoes can migrate up to 40 miles for a meal.
- Bigger people are often more attractive to mosquitoes because they are larger targets and they produce more mosquito attractants, namely CO2 and lactic acid.
- Active or fidgety people also produce more CO2 and lactic acid.
- Smelly feet are attractive to certain species of mosquitoes – as is Limburger Cheese.
- Dark clothing has been shown to attract some species of mosquitoes more than lighter colored clothing.
- Movement increased mosquito biting up to 50% in some research tests.
- A full moon increased mosquito activity 500% in one study
Mosquito Prevention Tips
- Water: Eliminate standing water which acts as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. (flower pots, children’s pools, watering cans, gutters etc.
- Trash: Remember to keep the lids on trash cans to keep out the rain.
3.) Puddles: Cover up or fill in low places in your yard where puddles can develop.
- Gutters: Keep gutters cleaned out so water does not build up inside and become a mosquito breeding ground.
- Drains: Make sure all drains on your property are also cleaned out without leaves blocking them up so water can drain effectively.
- Pipes: Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
- Toys: Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week or store in a position that water will drain.
- Pools: Make sure your backyard pool is maintained properly.
- Holes: Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water with sand or concrete.
- Bird Baths & Planters: Change water in bird baths and planter pots or drip trays at least once a week.
- Grass: Keep grass cut short around the house, so adult mosquitoes will not hide there.
And, wear Insect Shield clothing of course…