Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Mosquitos

Until they ruin your barbecue or you wake up with a big red bite on your arm, you probably don’t give a lot of thought to mosquitos. For most of us, they’re just an annoyance we would rather not think about. But if we want to learn how to better combat them, it’s important to learn how they tick (or buzz).

Due in part to climate change, mosquito populations are growing around the world, and the U.S. is no exception. South Florida especially has seen an increase in mosquitos, which is made worse by the number and severity of the hurricanes that hit our area.

A first step in combatting mosquitos is to understand these annoying and dangerous – yet fascinating – pests. From the mosquito lifecycle and their unique anatomy to understanding sneak attacks and how they pick their prey, read on to learn everything you never wanted to know about mosquitos.

Mosquito Biology: The Life and Times of the Pest We Love to Hate

In order to better understand mosquitos, we need to start at the beginning. There are about 3,500 different species of mosquitos around the globe, but they all come into the world in the same way.

Like other insects, mosquitos have four life stages. Adult females lay their eggs – sometimes as many as 300 – on a water surface, and those that survive make it to the larvae stage. During the pupae stage, mosquitos develop legs, wings, and mouth-parts. After a couple of days, an adult mosquito emerges from the pupal case.

Not All Mosquitos: How to Identify Mosquitos That Bite

While there are over 3,000 different kinds of mosquitos, most of them are harmless. In fact, there are really only a few that cause all of the trouble, which is why it’s important to be able to spot them.

The worst of the bunch is probably Aedes aegypti. This mosquito is responsible for spreading several diseases, including Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya. The other one to look out for is Aedes albopictus, which can also spread those diseases.

The Anatomy of a Mosquito (And Why It Matters)

Whether they’re trying to swat them or running away from them, most people don’t get a good look at mosquitos. This is a shame because mosquitos actually have a very interesting anatomy that has changed very little in the last 50 million years.

A mosquito’s head has a six-lobed brain and two compound eyes. Its mouth is comprised of legs that enable the mosquito to pierce the skin of victims. But only females do this; a male’s mouth-parts are only designed to feed on plant nectar.

The Mosquito Bite: How Mosquitos Quench Their Thirst

Of all the things mosquitos are known for, it’s probably their bite that has made them so infamous. But there are actually some big misconceptions about this. For one thing, not all mosquitos drink blood; only the females are the tiny vampires.

Mosquitos don’t actually “bite” either. What happens is the mosquito uses her proboscis to stab her victim. And if that doesn’t sound bad enough, this proboscis is actually made up of several needles.

Why Me? How Mosquitos Pick Their Prey (And Why You are a Prime Target)

Whenever you leave your house, you could be a target for mosquitos. Because they’re on a never-ending quest for blood, it’s important to know how they choose their victims and what we can do to protect ourselves.

Mosquitos use three things when looking for a meal, starting with smell. They are attracted to carbon dioxide, which they can detect up to 150 feet away. Once someone is in their sights, they then use their keen vision to hone in on the person. For a final step, they focus on body heat.

Fact or Fiction: Mosquito Edition

As widely known as they are, mosquitos seem to be one of the most misunderstood creatures on the planet. Over the years, there has been quite a bit of misinformation spread about these insects.

For instance, most people probably believe that all mosquitos drink blood. In fact, only the females of certain species do. Another common myth is that bug zappers are effective in killing them. Wrong again, as mosquitos aren’t attracted to light or sound.

One Mosquito, Multiple Diseases: How Mosquitos Spread Disease

What makes mosquitos so dangerous is their ability to spread disease. They have caused epidemics around the world, and in America, they’ve have been responsible for the spread of Zika.

Additional troubling information has come from a recent study. After exposing hundreds of mosquitos to different disease, researchers found that they were able to carry multiple diseases at one time.

The Mosquito Sneak Attack: How Science is Helping Tame the Mosquito Problem

Love them or hate them (you probably hate them), you have to tip your hat to mosquitos. There’s a reason they have been able to survive – and thrive – for millions of years, and one has to do with how stealthy they are.

Unlike possibly every other insect, mosquitos have perfected the sneak attack. While you may not feel a fly land on you, you’ll probably feel it leaving, due to how it pushes off. Mosquitos, on the other hand, have a much gentler take-off, giving them a clean getaway.

The Global Mosquito Alert: A Worldwide Effort to Combat Mosquitos

Though they’re tiny, mosquitos are actually the deadliest creature on the Earth. Through the spread of disease, they kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. This is why a recent worldwide initiative was started to combat them.

The Global Mosquito Alert – backed by the United Nations – was created in order to track and monitor mosquito populations around the world. The goal is to better understand mosquitos with the hope of figuring out ways to fight the spread of disease.

Get in touch with the pros at Platinum Mosquito Protection to keep your home safe

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