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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
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
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)
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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.
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life without mosquitos ®