Pest Knowledge – Mosquitoes

mosquitoes

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A perfect day at the pool, around the BBQ or simply hanging out on the porch can quickly be ruined by even a single mosquito. Read below to learn interesting information on these pesky insects.

Why Are Mosquitoes Such Great Hunters?
Mosquitoes are insects that have been around for more than 30 million years. Over that time, they have been sharpening their skills to become the efficient pests they are today. Mosquitoes have an assortment of sensors designed to track their prey, including:

  • Chemical sensors. Mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide from up to 75 feet away. Humans give off carbon dioxide as part of their normal breathing. Adults and pregnant woman exude more carbon dioxide than children, which is why there are more susceptible to mosquito bites. Certain chemicals in sweat, a high concentration of cholesterol and excess amount of certain acids, also attract mosquitoes.
  • Visual sensors. If you are wearing clothing that contrasts with the background, and especially if you move while wearing that clothing, mosquitoes can see you and zero in on you. It’s a good bet that anything moving is “alive” and therefore full of blood, so this is a good strategy.
  • Heat sensors. Mosquitoes can detect heat, so they can find warm-blooded mammals and birds very easily once they get close enough.

Who Do Mosquitoes like Best?
Studies show that 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites is due to genetics. However, there are many other factors that attract mosquitoes and considering they can small their dinner from up to 50 meters away, it’s not always easy to protect yourself.

Mosquito Development
There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world and roughly 150 that live in the United States. All mosquitoes lay their eggs in water which hatch into larvae and live anywhere from days to several weeks, depending on species and water temperature. The larva then changes into pupae, which live in the water between one to four days, and finally into an adult mosquito. The mosquito’s first mission is to seek a mate and lay eggs (for females only).

Mosquito Life Cycle

Did You Know?

  • There are 3,000+ species of mosquitoes in the world
  • Mosquito borne diseases kill more people per year than any other human factor
  • Mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycle
  • Mosquitoes typically lay 100-300 eggs per day
  • In warm weather, mosquitoes can go from egg to adult in as little as 4 days
  • Only certain species of mosquitoes bite humans – some feed on other species exclusively
  • Only females mosquitoes bite
  • Female mosquitoes can live up to 100 days – Males only 10-20 days

Other Mosquito Facts

What Makes That Buzzing Sound?
Mosquitoes beat their wings 300 to 600 times per second, producing a high-pitched drone.

Do Mosquitoes Eat Anything Besides Blood?
Only female mosquitoes consume blood. Male mosquitoes feed on sweet plant products: nectar from flowers, fruit juices and liquids that ooze from plants. When they’re not reproducing, females also eat sweets from plants.

What Does Standing Water Have To Do With Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes lay eggs on the surface of stagnant water and in areas that flood on a regular basis. Eggs only need an inch of water to hatch.

Do Bug Zappers Kill Mosquitoes?
Despite multiple sizzles on a buggy summer evening, only 1 percent of zaps are due to mosquitoes. If you’re planning to purchase a zapper to control these biters, save your money.

How Fast Do Mosquitoes Fly?
Grab a radar gun, and you’ll clock mosquitoes zipping along at 1 to 1.5 mph. In an insect race, that would put them toward last place at the finish line, coming in behind honey bees, locusts and butterflies.

How Far Do Mosquitoes Fly?
Most mosquitoes fly roughly one to three miles. Many stay within a few hundred feet of their hatching location. Some salt marsh species fly up to 40 miles seeking out the ideal habitat.

Are Mosquitoes Dangerous Or Just A Nuisance?
Some agencies rank mosquitoes as the deadliest animal on earth because they can carry and transmit several deadly diseases, including malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis and dengue fever. Mosquitoes also carry West Nile virus and canine heartworm.

Do Mosquitoes Have Natural Predators?
Many fish eat mosquito larvae. Bats and purple martins catch a small number of adult mosquitoes. Dragonflies are one of the best predators. Dragonfly larvae (called nymphs) live in water and devour mosquito larvae; adult dragonflies eat adult mosquitoes. Some communities release dragonflies as part of their annual mosquito control program.