Informational Facts About Mosquitoes
There’s a lot to know about mosquitoes. With warmer weather and Spring Break travel upon us, we’re sharing six more facts about mosquitoes, specifically the one associated with carrying Zika.
Updated – Latest Top 6 Facts Based on the CDC
6. It has a fancy name.
The Aedes aegypti (ah-A-days eye-GYP-tee), also known as the yellow fever mosquito, is the scientific name for the mosquito that carries the Zika virus. As its common name suggests, it can also carry yellow fever, as well as dengue and chikungunya.
5. They don’t fly very far.
The Aedes aegypti is a short-distance flyer. It will only travel 100-200 feet at a time looking for a water container for breeding. It usually lives its whole life within this short range.
4. They aren’t high maintenance.
Mosquitoes need standing water to breed, but it only takes a few millimeters—that’s about the size of a thimble. The lifecycle from egg to adult can happen in as few as 7 to 8 days.
3. They make themselves at home.
Mosquitoes live inside and outside—they don’t really care where they are as long as the conditions are comfortable. This includes any artificial or natural water container that is close to where humans live and most egg production sites are found close to households.
2. Only the females bite.
If you’ve ever been bitten at a summer barbeque, it was by a female mosquito. They need the protein found in blood to lay their eggs. This is an important fact when scientists are working to determine how to minimize risk of disease transmission where there are large populations of Aedes aegypti.
Bonus fact: they don’t have teeth and “bite” with a proboscis.
1. Preventing bites is the best way to prevent Zika and other outbreaks.
These pesky pests are responsible for carrying dangerous diseases. The best protection is to prevent bites. You can do this by emptying even the smallest containers with standing water around your home, wearing long sleeves and long pants, and using repellent.
• 2017 Aedes aegypti Vector Control Summit hosted by the CDC and CDC Foundation
Other Top Facts
Mosquitoes might not win any awards for most popular pest anytime soon, but they might win for most fascinating. Here are the some interesting facts about mosquitoes. Who knows, you might learn to even like these pesky little critters.
1. Even though you do not necessarily see standing water around your property, there could still be a variety of places where mosquitoes can breed.
There are probably several unexpected mosquito breeding areas around your property. Besides emptying water out of flower pots, bird baths and old tires, make sure to clean gutters and downspouts regularly or cover with mesh to prevent leaves and debris from collecting and holding water. Children’s toys and playground equipment can have small crevices where water can collect. A few other odd places where water can collect include your car, landscape statues, rain gauge, garden hoses and even large plant leaves. If a full plastic garbage bag sits in the rain, it can develop a small pocket where water can collect. Remember, it only takes about a cup of water for mosquitoes to breed. Just because your yard may be free of standing water, it does not mean your neighbor’s yard is too.
2. The typical mosquito season runs from April through October.
Mosquito season can start as early as April, depending on which area of the country you are. Breeding season is usually July through September, while peak West Nile Virus season is usually not until late August through early September or even October in some areas. Temperatures need to be around freezing before mosquitoes will start to die off for the winter.
3. Mosquitoes typically lay their eggs in water, but eggs can survive in wet dirt.
Most mosquito species prefer to lay eggs at the edge of water bodies against mulch, grass, foliage or refuse that will hold the eggs at the surface of the water. If the water evaporates – or you pour it out – before the eggs develop, which usually takes about seven to 10 days, the eggs will not develop completely into adults, and they will die. If water is not present but the ground is moist, those eggs can sit for months until there is enough water to float the eggs to develop and feed the larva.
4. Most mosquito species are only active during dusk and dawn.
There are more than 3,000 mosquito species throughout the world, and about 200 of those exist in North America. Prime mosquito biting hours are between dusk and dawn, but some species are active during the day.
Orkin experts also recommend people take the following precautions to protect themselves
- Wear EPA-approved insect repellent along with long sleeve shirts and long pants.
- Stay indoors during dusk and dawn and an hour before and after dusk and dawn.
- Protect your yard; call a professional pest control company for a customized mosquito inspection and treatment program.
- Replace outdoor light bulbs with yellow bulbs that are less attractive to mosquitoes.
5. They’re slow.
Reaching speeds of up to 1 to 1.5 miles per hour, the mosquito is one of the slowest flying insects around, despite their small body weight.
6. There are a lot of them!
There are at least 2,700 known mosquito species in the world, with some reports as high as 3,000. Only around 176 of those live in the U.S.
7. CO2 Sensitivity
Carbon dioxide gives mosquitoes the signal that blood is nearby, and since we exhale CO2, we make it easy for mosquitoes to find us.
8. They go way back
Mosquitoes date back as far as 400 million years in the Triassic Period. And yes, that means mosquitoes are more resilient than dinosaurs. Pretty cool.
9. Females are aggressive.
It might surprise you to learn that female mosquitoes are the only ones feeding on the blood of mammals and humans. Males prefer flower nectar as their primary food source.
10. World’s deadliest creature
You heard right. The pesky little mosquito is in fact the deadliest creature on earth. They can carry dangerous diseases, and more deaths have been reported as a result of their bite than any other animal.