When people think of dangerous animals, they usually conjure visions of lions, tigers, and bears. Still, one animal is even more dangerous than all of those put together. In addition to being one of the most annoying creatures to ever inhabited the Earth with their aggravatingly itchy bites, mosquitoes can be dangerous to the point of literally being deadly! Not even the hippopotamus, cape buffalo, crocodile, or shark can compete with the female mosquito when it comes to causing death, and she is responsible for over two million fatalities per year!
Aside from buzzing around and horning in on the fun during hikes in the woods, ball games, and backyard barbecues, these little bloodsuckers carry a host of viral diseases that include malaria, West Nile, Zeika, Dengue, yellow fever, Chikungunya, and even some strains of the flu that they can transmit to humans and other mammals. Mosquitoes also carry a parasite that results in dogs developing potentially deadly heartworms. While this makes for a strong argument for always wearing a good mosquito repellent when outside, mosquitoes are actually one of nature’s most fascinating little creatures.
Here are some interesting facts about mosquitoes:
1) The Females are the Troublemakers
Only the female mosquito bites as she needs the protein in blood to produce her eggs. The male mosquito does not bite animals but feeds only on the nectar in flowers.
2) Mosquitoes are Attracted to Co2 and Sweat
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide released every time a mammal exhales, which is why mosquitoes are always buzzing around your head. Mosquitoes can sense Co2 from as far away as 50 yards away, so there is no chance of hiding from them. The little biters are also attracted to the smell of sweat, even when it is dry. The species of mosquitoes that harbor malaria is especially attracted to the smell of sweat.
3) Some Odors Confuse Mosquitoes
Certain smells such as mint and caramelized chocolate can mask the odor of carbon dioxide and make it harder to locate you. So, it would seem chocolate may work as an insect repellent. Who knew!
4) Mosquitoes, Mosquitoes Everywhere
The American Mosquito Control Association reports that over 3,500 different species of mosquitoes are found throughout the world.
5) The Spit that Makes You Itch
The saliva in the female mosquito’s mouth acts as both an anticoagulant that prevents your blood from clotting while she is feeding and an anesthetic, so you don’t feel her biting you. The protein in her saliva she leaves behind raises the itchy welt.
6) Short and Sweet
The mosquito grows from egg to adult in as few as seven days. Assuming it doesn’t meet a premature end with a slap of the hand or eaten by a bat, the mosquito only lives a maximum of six months, with most averaging less than 60 days. After mating, the lucky male mosquito lives for just three to five days and a female for just a month or two. She lays 300 eggs every three weeks between mating and death.
7) Must Add Water
Mosquitoes must have water to breed, lay eggs in, and for the larvae to feed. This is why there are no mosquitoes in dry climates like the desert. As eggs hatch in just one inch of water, eliminate as much standing water from old tires and tarps to keep mosquito populations down. Always be sure to wear an effective mosquito repellent spray when venturing into damp or wet areas.
8) Buzzing in Your Ear
Unlike the bee that zips along at up to 15 miles per hour, mosquitoes only fly at 1.5 miles per hour. The mosquito’s wings beat up to 600 times per second, making their annoying trademark buzzing sound in your ear.
9) Synchronous Lovers
When the male and female mosquitoes decide to breed, their wing beats synchronize to the same speed, and they engage in a courtship dance, beating their wings in a call-and-response fashion.
10) Not All Mosquitoes Bite Humans
Of the thousands of mosquito species found around the globe, only a few are known to bite humans. Most species feed on animals like birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Still, you should always consider every mosquito as a harbinger of disease and wear a good mosquito repellent lotion or spray whenever venturing outdoors during mosquito season.
11) True Gluttons
Most people would never imagine that a tiny little mosquito could drink three times her own weight in blood in one feeding that takes less than a minute. This would be the equivalent of a 100-pound human female eating 300 pounds in a hot dog or pie-eating contest! Even though she can suck up a lot of blood quickly, it would take over 1.2 million mosquitoes to drain all the blood from an average human.
12) Jurassic Park Wasn’t All Fiction
In the movie “Jurassic Park” the scientists used dinosaur DNA they were able to extract from fossilized mosquitoes to clone the dinosaurs. The truth is, the mosquito is as old as the dinosaur, with actual evidence of the insects dating back to the Triassic Period!
13) What the Heck is a Proboscis?
The female mosquito uses her “proboscis” to drain blood, sticking it through the animal’s skin like an insanely sharp but incredibly fragile hypodermic needle.
14) Fair Weather Phenoms
Like amphibians, mosquitoes are cold-blooded and adjust their body temperature to the temperate of the air. This is why mosquitoes, like most insects, are more active in warmer weather.
15) Mosquitoes Need Eyeglasses
Mosquitoes don’t see so well. The little suckers have two half-spheres on each side of their head, with each sphere having hundreds of eyes that look like a window screen close up. Because of the design, the mosquito’s vision is very distorted, so they must rely on thermal and chemical receptors to locate their prey.
16) Mosquitoes are Micro Brains
While it is so tiny it would take a microscope to locate it, the mosquito does have a brain. However, compared to the mammalian brain, the mosquito’s is a very simple structure that only helps them see, taste, detect scents and heat and move.
Now that you know everything there is to know about mosquitoes, practically, you need to be sure you take their threat seriously every time you venture outdoors.
While not every mosquito that bites you will be carrying a disease, it only takes one bite from an infected female to make you sick. There are many types of highly effective repellents on the market that range from extra-strength chemical-based preparations like those with DEET to all-natural preparation such as lemon eucalyptus oil. While the stronger chemicals will keep the bugs from biting, many people have concerns about putting the chemicals on their skins. Conversely, while the all-natural ones are very safe, they aren’t always so effective. The ideal solution is a repellent that offers the best of both worlds– one that’s more effective than the naturals but isn’t a harsh chemical. Introducing Proven Insect Repellent: their range of Picaridin-based bug sprays and lotions have low acute toxicity, yet exceptionally effective protection. ProvenⓇ offers an odorless bug spray as well as travel size bottles, so you can always be prepared on-the-go. Shop ProvenⓇ online at provenrepellent.com or on Amazon.