Quick Facts About Mosquitoes and Mosquito Bites
Mosquitoes are one of the worst pests we have here in the Gainesville, VA general area. They are avid biters, they spread quickly in our semi-humid weather, and they are prone to carrying disease. We may not have some of the worst mosquito carrying diseases as some other states do (for example, Florida), but we do have a lot of these pests here in Virginia, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in Centreville, Haymarket, Bristow, or anywhere else – you are going to be at risk for mosquitoes.
But we’re not here to scare you today. We’re here to talk a bit more about mosquitoes in general. The following are some random facts about mosquitoes to help you learn more about these irritating biting pests:
- Mosquitoes are attracted to human body odor and carbon dioxide. They can’t see you and they don’t wait for you. They sense very specific things (your smell and the carbon dioxide that comes from your breath) and then start mindlessly flying your direction. It is one of the reasons that mosquitoes also bite at night, and why they fly at you even if you’re trying to scare them off.
- Only female mosquitoes bite humans and animals, as they require blood for egg development. Contrary to popular belief, they do not “feed” on blood. The females need specific proteins in blood to make eggs. The males don’t bite at all, and both feed on nectar, not blood.
- Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest creatures on Earth due to their ability to transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus, and West Nile virus. Luckily, those diseases are extremely rare here. However, there are other illnesses that mosquitoes may be able to carry, so bites should always be avoided, even if your risk of more serious infections are low.
- Mosquitoes are mediocre flyers and can fly at speeds of up to 1.5 miles per hour (2.4 kilometers per hour). That isn’t that fast (your toddler can walk faster than that), but it is one of the reasons that it is typically not enough to just eliminate mosquitoes in your yard. You have to prevent them from coming. Because if they sense you they will be at your property in no time.
- Mosquitoes have a lifespan of about 2-4 weeks, but some species can live up to several months. One of the reasons that mosquitoes are so problematic is because their lifespan is so short. They have to breed often, which means lots of bites. .
- Mosquitoes are attracted to certain colors more than others. They have a preference for dark-colored clothing, which can make individuals wearing dark attire more appealing targets.
- Mosquitoes are not solely attracted to humans. They also target other animals, including birds, mammals, and reptiles, as sources of blood meals. If your pet has been scratching themselves and you’ve noticed mosquitoes in the area, that may be why.
Mosquitoes are also one of the pests with the least ecological value. While spiders can be scary, spiders are extremely helpful for controlling pest populations – including mosquitoes, and so eliminating them has downsides. But for mosquitoes, experts are not sure if there will be any ecological harm if mosquitoes disappeared from the earth. Don’t feel bad about mosquito control. It is always a good thing.
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