Mosquitoes are one of the most hated creatures on Earth. It has itchy and annoying bites.
They seem to be able to know when we are about to kill them and will disappear and fly away milliseconds before we can swat them to death. And their wings make a continuous, whining hum that may rouse even the deepest sleepers in our bedrooms.
Table of Contents
What are mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are insects that belong to the family Culicidae. It has an average lifespan of two weeks to six months, a size range of 0.125 inches to 0.75 inches, a weight of 0.000088 ounces, and a size comparison to a paper clip of 0.125 inches to 0.75 inches.
These invertebrates with a carnivorous diet are called “swarm” when in a group. That’s why you’ll hear “a swarm of mosquitoes.”
What do mosquitoes look like?
Adult mosquitoes have scales covering their slender, elongated bodies and wing veins. Mosquitoes’ legs and mouthparts are quite long and delicate, and their mouthparts are very long and sharp. Simply put, a male will have bushier feathery antennae than a female. Both the males and females drink plant liquids like nectar.
However, in most animals, females need the proteins included in a blood meal to develop fertile eggs. Mosquitoes come in various varieties, and each has its own set of preferences and, often, stringent limitations when it comes to the kinds of animals they may bite.
What are the life stages of a mosquito?
The aquatic larvae, also known as wrigglers, swim with a jerky, wiggling motion after hatching from eggs. In most species, mosquito larvae eat things like algae and decaying organic matter; however, some species are carnivorous and may even eat other mosquitoes.
Tumblers, a term used to describe mosquitoes in their pupal stage, are active and can swim freely, unlike most other insect stages. Pupae have breathing tubes on their thoraxes. After emerging from their pupal cases, the adults quickly begin mating. The length of a species’ entire life cycle varies widely.
Where do they lay eggs?
It just takes a few millimeters, or approximately the volume of a thimble, of standing water for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. They can have a successful breeding cycle with just a cup of water. Although you don’t have any puddles or pools of water on your property, there are still many potential breeding grounds for these pests.
Water can collect in many places, including flower pots, leaves and debris, and old tires.
Just how long does one of these creatures typically live?
The time it takes for a mosquito to mature from an egg to an adult can be as little as 7 or 8 days. The eggs will not survive if the water evaporates or is discarded before they reach maturity. Eggs can remain viable for months without water if the Earth is damp, allowing the larva to hatch and feed.
Fun facts about mosquitoes
We compiled some fun facts about mosquitoes. You can easily browse on to know what these insects eat, where they live, and what illnesses they carry.
Statistics and origins
The US has 175 out of 3 500 mosquito species
The United States is home to over 175 different species of mosquito, the most frequent of which are the Culex pipiens, Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito). The Anopheles mosquito transmits malaria, and the other three species are known to carry different types of encephalitis.
Of all states, Virginia has the least number of mosquito species
The number is lower in the mountainous state of Colorado, but higher in the flat state of Texas, with 26 and 85, respectively. Meanwhile, with 80 species, Florida is not far behind.
Mosquito means “little fly” in Spanish
It has been speculated that the term first appeared in the early 16th century. “Mozzies” is the common name for mosquitoes in Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.
Biting and food resources
To locate their prey, mosquitoes use cues such as the emitted carbon dioxide, the body’s odor and temperature, and the victim’s motion. Unlike male mosquitoes, females are born with mouthparts adapted for sucking blood.
When they bite, their proboscis punctures the skin and inserts two tubes: one to inject an enzyme that prevents blood clotting and another to suction blood into the body. They don’t eat it but store it as protein for their eggs. Regarding nutrition, both sexes subsist on nectar and other plant sugars.
Male mosquitoes do not bite
Both sexes rely on nectar and fruit for sustenance, but a female’s egg development requires the protein found in the blood. She will lay her eggs after a few days of rest once she has consumed enough blood.
Different species have different active biting schedules
Biting activity is highest between midnight and sunrise, while some species are also active during the day. Determine when peak mosquito activity occurs and prepare accordingly.
Mosquitoes lack teeth
Instead, females use a proboscis, a long, pointed mouthpart, to “bite.” After finding a capillary with the serrated proboscis, blood is extracted through one of two tubes.
A single mosquito can consume three times its body weight in blood in a single feeding.
There would need roughly 1,250,000 bites to empty your blood, so there is no need to fret.
An adult mosquito will spend the first 10 days of its life in a water source.
Eggs can’t develop into wiggler larvae without access to water. Wigglers consume dead organisms in still water and take oxygen through their skin. Pupae are the next stage of development; they stop feeding and spend part of their time cocooned. The pupae develop into adult mosquitoes over several days.
Female mosquitoes feed on human and mammal blood
The female mosquito gets its blood meal from the blood of mammals and humans. Unlike females, males favor nectar from flowers as their main source of nutrition.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide in human breath.
To locate their food supply, mosquitoes follow the rising plumes of CO2 that serve as trails. Their antennae have receptors that pick up the carbon dioxide we exhale.
They sense human body heat
Mosquitoes settle on you after sensing your body heat, and then they utilize the heat sensors around their mouth to pinpoint the ideal capillaries to drain for blood.
They have different biting patterns
Different species of mosquitoes have different biting patterns; Aedes are active throughout the day, while Culex begins biting about sunset and keeps going for a while after dark.
Mosquitoes have other food sources aside from human blood
Not all mosquitoes feed on human blood. Mosquitoes also drink the blood of birds and frogs.
It is the mosquito’s saliva that causes the itchy pimples
The bite location of most people swells and itches mildly due to an allergic reaction to the saliva. One tube in the proboscis is used to take blood, and the other is used to inject saliva, which contains a mild painkiller and an anti-coagulant.
Mosquitoes are more likely to bite people wearing dark colors.
Keep in mind that these mosquitos are attracted to your body heat, and darker clothing.
Reproduction and death
Mosquitoes can quickly reproduce, but they have a short lifespan as well.
As many as 300 eggs might be laid by a single female mosquito.
The eggs are typically laid in groups on the top of stagnant water or in frequently flooded locations. In as little as an inch of water, eggs can develop. Females can reproduce up to thrice before passing away.
Mosquitoes often die within two months or less
Most males only live for 10 days or less, whereas females can live for up to eight weeks under optimal conditions. During that time, the females produce a clutch of eggs every three days.
Mosquitoes have a distinct anatomy that makes them easily recognizable.
They can only fly short distances
Indeed, mosquitoes can only fly short distances. They can only move 100 to 200 feet simultaneously in search of breeding water containers. They never venture beyond that tiny radius. Despite their light build, they are among the slowest flying insects, reaching speeds of only 1 to 1.5 miles per hour.
Mosquitoes won’t excel in Olympics
Mosquitoes are slow and not particularly powerful fliers compared to insects like flies and wasps. You shouldn’t expect these biting insects to challenge Usain Bolt’s 100-meter world record anytime soon, as their top-flight speeds are believed to be between 1 and 1.5 mph.
Mosquitoes are short-distance flyer
Despite their light build, mosquitoes are among the slowest flying insects, reaching speeds of only 1 to 1.5 miles per hour. Also, they can only move 100 to 200 feet at a time. They never venture beyond that tiny radius.
They have six legs
A pair of enormous compound eyes, a pair of ocelli (simple eyes), a pair of antennae, and a proboscis are all located atop the head. Aside from the head, they have the abdomen and thorax. Extending from the thorax are two massive, scaled wings.
Mosquitoes are commonly misidentified as midges and crane flies
When compared to other types of midges, biting midges are tinnier, have shorter wings, and feed in large groups. On the other hand, Crane flies can be up to 1.5 inches in length and are not harmful to humans in any way other than their size.
Male mosquitoes use the whirring of females’ wings to find them.
At mating time, males listen for the increased frequency of a female’s wing beats (reaching up to 500 per second).
Mosquitoes often fly at altitudes of less than 25 feet.
While some species have this altitude, others have been discovered as high as 8,000 feet in the Himalayas.
What do mosquito larvae look like?
There is a striking resemblance between mosquito larvae and certain types of tiny aquatic worms. Often referred to by the pejorative “wriggler,” these creatures swim to the water’s surface for air before descending to safety. Following their final molt, mosquito larvae enter the pupae stage, during which they harden into a comma-shaped casing and remain aquatic.
Mosquitoes are fond of shady areas and dark clothing. They can survive both indoors and outdoors.
Mosquitoes live both indoors and outdoors
Mosquitoes can be found everywhere, warm and humid enough to survive. Hence, as long as these conditions are met, they can live indoors and outdoors. Most places for producing eggs are close to human habitation, including artificial and natural water containers.
Mosquitoes love shady areas
Mosquitoes in housing neighborhoods love to stay in shady areas like tree canopies, storm drains, and thick shrubs when they aren’t actively seeking a meal.
Some mosquito species do not hibernate
Certain animals will hibernate in warm, dry places like homes, garages, and caves to survive the winter. However, some mosquito species don’t hibernate over the winter but rather perish as the cold weather starts.
Mosquitoes serve as vectors for some of humanity’s deadliest diseases. Every year, millions of people die from mosquito-borne illnesses, most young children and the elderly in developing nations.
Of the more than 3,000 mosquito species, just three are primarily responsible for transmitting human disease. There is just one species of mosquito, the Anopheles, that is responsible for transmitting malaria. Filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, and encephalitis are both diseases that can spread.
The Culex mosquito spreads malaria, encephalitis, and the West Nile virus. Yellow fever, dengue, and encephalitis are spread by Aedes mosquitoes, of which the ferocious Asian tiger is a member.
Mosquitoes are dangerous
In reality, mosquitoes are the most lethal animals on the planet. They have caused more human fatalities than any other animal because of the diseases they carry and the pain they cause when they bite. Mosquitoes can spread diseases in many different ways.
Parasites that cause malaria attach themselves to the digestive tract of female mosquitoes, allowing them to enter their hosts while the insects are feeding. There are also diseases like yellow fever and dengue that are spread when a mosquito ingests a human and then spits the virus into the bloodstream of another person.
A mosquito-borne parasite is responsible for the spread of malaria.
This parasite enters the mosquito’s salivary glands and is then transmitted to its next host via a bite. That’s how diseases like West Nile and others spread too. Heartworm in canines is another parasite spread by mosquitoes.
West Nile Virus came to US 31 years after its first recorded case
A New York City epidemic in 1999 marked the virus’s first appearance in the United States. In 1937, the virus was discovered in a febrile woman in Uganda’s West Nile region. Large-scale outbreaks of the virus were reported in South Africa, Israel, and Romania as recently as the late 1990s.
HIV-aids is are not mosquito-born
Mosquito bites do not spread the virus that causes AIDS, so there’s no need to worry about them. Mosquitoes do not serve as a vector for the AIDS virus because it is digested in their stomachs.
Mosquitos caused the death of many people
Most people agree that mosquitoes, specifically the Anopheles mosquito, are the deadliest “animal” on the planet because they spread malaria, which claims the lives of over a million people every year, predominantly in Africa. Malaria was widely considered to cause Alexander the Great’s death in 323 B.C.
Mosquito bites cause a low index pain
In most cases, the only negative effects of mosquito bites are discomfort and irritation. Some discomfort is expected, especially if scratching causes secondary illness and the person continues to scratch. Mosquito species with a low “pain index” are generally not considered dangerous.
Mosquitoes do not transmit Lyme disease
According to experts, to experts, tick bites are the causative agent for the spread of Lyme disease to humans. Mosquitoes do not transmit Lyme disease, but they put people at risk for other diseases.
They carry various diseases
Mosquitoes transmit the following diseases: Dengue, Chikungunya, Malaria, West Nile virus, Encephalitis, Zika, and Yellow Fever.
Repellents and population management
Since mosquitoes can’t reproduce without access to water, efforts to eradicate or reduce their populations typically focus on eliminating or treating breeding sites. Adult mosquitoes are also a common target of insecticide spraying.
However, international efforts to control mosquito populations have had little impact, and many experts predict that global warming will only expand their range and increase their abundance.
Repellents against mosquitoes
DEET, the “gold standard” of insect repellents, has a concentration of 43 percent.
The CDC recommends DEET because it works by making the environment unpleasant for mosquitoes without interfering with their ability to detect the host’s scent. Insect protection from a product containing 10% DEET will last up to 90 minutes.
Because of their effectiveness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two alternative repellents, picaridin and lemon-eucalyptus oil.
It is possible to utilize bacteria to eliminate mosquito larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) is a bacteria that may be laced into the water where larvae reside. It is supplied in pellet and powder form. When larvae eat this commercially-produced organism, they create proteins that eventually become poisons.
Insecticides are effective, but only temporarily.
One of the most popular chemicals used by local mosquito control programs is permethrin, killing mosquitoes on contact by interfering with their central nervous systems. Eggs and larvae are typically unaffected, though. Mosquitoes will be able to return when the insecticide has worn off.
Bats do not eat a lot of mosquitoes
A bat’s diet consists of only about 1 percent of mosquitoes. Similarly, despite widespread belief, purple martins do not serve as effective mosquito control since they consume so few insects. They eat bugs and dragonflies instead.
Fish and dragonflies are the primary predators of mosquitoes
Gambusia, often known as mosquitofish, are employed worldwide to help reduce mosquito populations by feasting on mosquito larvae. To reduce mosquito populations, some communities in Maine release dragonflies every summer. Nymphal dragonflies feed on mosquito larvae, and adult dragonflies feed on the adults.
Bug zappers do not work on mosquitoes
Bug zappers do not affect the general mosquito population, but they attract and kill useful or innocuous insects such as moths. According to studies, less than one percent of the insects destroyed by zappers are mosquitoes and other biting insects. Also, scientific testing of electronic repellers has shown that they are ineffective.
Can I use a ceiling fan to reduce the number of mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes can fly more easily and quickly find a food supply when windless. That is why ceiling fans can help reduce mosquito populations for a while but won’t eliminate them. When you switch off the fan, they will come back.
Are mosquito traps effective?
In a single night, mosquito traps can kill thousands of insects.
More than 44,000 female mosquitoes representing 17 species were trapped and killed in less than two weeks, according to a study done by public health researchers in Australia using a Mega-CatchTM trap.
Do you think bleach would be effective in killing mosquitoes?
The larvae of mosquitoes may be killed off by bleach in tiny ponds and other water features. However, this kind of bleach might harm locals and wildlife. A wide variety of less harmful and more eco-friendly approaches exist for dealing with insect infestations.
Can vinegar repel mosquitoes?
Insects can be repelled to some degree by a solution of vinegar and water, but it is not effective enough to do so consistently.
Will peppermint oil keep mosquitoes away?
Several scientific studies have shown that low concentrations of peppermint oil can effectively deter mosquitoes. Using this essential oil can result in itchy, red bumps in some people. As with other pests, they will return once the fragrance is gone. Use repellents in tandem with a professionally implemented pest management strategy for optimal results.
Can malathion be used to prevent mosquitoes?
Malathion is an effective insecticide that can treat vast areas of mosquitoes and other pests. Be careful while using any pesticide.
Will Vicks keep mosquitoes away?
There is no evidence to support the claim that Vicks contains chemicals that repel mosquitoes, yet some people believe it does. If you want to keep these bugs at bay, use a product specifically formulated to repel them and make sure to read and follow all label directions.
Bonus fun facts
Mosquitoes love the movie Dirty Dancing
Mosquitoes have their distinctive dance. Researchers have discovered that mosquitoes perform a ritualized dance before mating, in which they call to one another and beat their wings in unison.
Peak mosquito season is between April to October
The regular mosquito season is between April and October. Depending on where you live, this may begin as early as April.
Although the West Nile virus is most prevalent between July through September, the height of the breeding season is typically not until late August through early September or even October in some regions. To begin their seasonal decline, temperatures must be near freezing.
Mosquitoes existed since long ago
The Triassic Period began 400 million years ago when mosquitoes first appeared.
Several factors, including carbon dioxide, heat, sweat, and movement, appear to draw mosquitoes to their hosts. The mosquito’s buzz comes from the insect’s rapid wingbeats; the female’s wingbeat frequency may be used for sexual identification.
The only good thing about that swarm of mosquitoes in your yard is that they provide a steady diet for countless other creatures. Furthermore, most mosquitoes do not prioritize humans as a food source. As a rule, they favor mammals and avian species.