One of the most annoying and hard to avoid insects is the tiny mosquito. This insect, which is notorious for carrying serious diseases, can be found almost anywhere that a human can venture. Stopping over in a mosquito-infested area can turn an adventure into a nightmare in moments. Take our quiz to learn more about the mosquito.
Mosquitoes are considered by most experts to be the most dangerous insect to man. The danger of a mosquito is not its annoying bite, but the diseases that it can pass on to its host with a bite.
Most species of mosquitoes are harmless to humans, because they do not transmit disease. The itch from a mosquito bite is the only thing that you have to deal with or be concerned about when bitten by most of these insects.
Besides mosquitoes, the ixodid tick carries and transmits viral encephalitis to humans. Mosquitoes are the only agents that carry and transmit malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and filariasis to man.
The only places in the world that are free of any mosquitoes are deserts. However, mosquitoes can hang around in areas where desert is starting to give over to less arid areas and can make it to rock pools of water a mile or two into a desert.
Mosquitoes have been found living successfully as high as 14,000 feet. So forget that idea, as most of us are not in good enough condition to climb to a mosquito-free environment.
So far there are some 3,000 known species of mosquitoes divided into 100 large groups, know as genera. Mosquitoes have made some areas of the world uninhabitable by humans.
Mosquitoes lay 50 to 200 eggs at a time, depending on the species. Mosquitoes can lay as many as 1,000 eggs a year for each female.
An adult female mosquito can live for 30 days or more. Once it bites, it will lay eggs and immediately resume seeking another host.
An adult male mosquito can live for seven to 10 days and never bites humans. Male mosquitoes feed only on plant juices and pollen.
The scientific name of the common house mosquito is Culex pipiens. The yellow fever mosquito is Aedes aegypti, and the Asian tiger mosquito is A. albopictus.
The name mosquito originates from the Spanish for little fly. The mosquito are true flies, having only one set of wings. Unlike other true flies, it has scales along the wing veins and on other parts of its body.
Some species of mosquitoes are active during the day and rest at night. Most species of Culex and Anopheles are active at night and rest by day.
The high-pitched buzzing of mosquitoes is made by the vibrating appendages that cover breathing holes only in a female’s thorax. It is not clear why female mosquitoes make a distinct sound that gives away their presence to their human targets. Perhaps it’s to raise your blood pressure to make feasting easier.
Mosquito larvae are commonly called wrigglers or wigglers because of the way they move when seeking food and when rising to the surface of stagnant water to breathe. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water and they will also lay eggs where water will eventually cover them.
The Mosquito pupa does not eat at all. When a pupa is fully grown, usually in two or three days, it rises to the surface, splits its skin, sheds and then rests on the skin until its wings are dry enough for it to fly.
Female mosquitoes need only a single protein from blood to nourish their eggs to reproduce and the rest of the blood is simply discarded. The blood can come from humans, reptiles, birds or mammals.
The mosquito has two tubes in the proboscis. One injects a blood thinner in the saliva, which causes your itch. The other tube extracts thinned blood; some claim that allowing a mosquito to finish sucking and fly away will prevent itch, but who wants to help create another 200 or 300 mosquitoes?
The protozoan that causes malaria must go through part of its life cycle in a mosquito before it is able to infect humans. Bacteria and viruses enter a mosquito's body and multiply before they are transferred to other animals by a mosquito's bite.
Eliminating marshes, swamps and other breeding spots is the best way to control mosquitoes. Unfortunately, these locations are the most valued waterfowl and wildlife habitats and it is a bad idea to eliminate any of them.
Repellents containing a chemical substance called DEET (diethylmeta-toluamide) are effective when applied to skin and clothing. The best way is natural; wear thick clothing with long sleeves and hats with mosquito netting when fishing or traveling in the woods, put screens on your doors and windows and use mosquito netting over beds if you have mosquito problems where you live.