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Facts about Mosquitoes

Prabhakar Pillai
Even though they are mostly associated with diseases (and thus, considered pests), mosquitoes do have some interesting things about them.
Mosquitoes are tiny insects belonging to the Culicidae family, which are found all over the world―except for the continent of Antarctica. They are pretty adept at adapting to different climates and thus, are found in very cold regions, like the Arctic, as well. As of now, around 3500 different species of mosquitoes have been identified.

Mosquito Facts

In mosquitoes, the males are differentiated from the females by their plumose or feather-like appearance of the antenna and palp (sensory organ).
Interestingly, only the female mosquitoes bite humans as their eggs require the protein found in human blood. They probe the person's skin for as many as 20 times before drawing blood. The high-pitched sound females make, is created by their wing beats; it helps the males find them.
Most mosquitoes are found within a radius of a mile from their breeding ground, though some may venture up to 20 miles away. Mosquitoes are cold-blooded creatures and are most active at 80° F. While male mosquitoes have a lifespan of 10 and 20 days, the same for females ranges between 3 to 100 days. A mosquito weighs 1/25000 of an ounce.
The life stages of a mosquito are egg, pupae, larvae, and adult; all of which, except the last stage, take place in water. Stagnant water in ponds, lakes, or puddles is preferred by most mosquitoes to lay eggs. As unbelievable as it may sound, their eggs survive for more than five years.
A female mosquito is capable of laying up to 200 eggs at one time. Mosquitoes prefer places with less light, like trees and areas with dense vegetation. Like many birds, mosquitoes are also efficient pollinators.
Mosquitoes are more attracted toward dark colors than light colors. They use smell to hunt and are particularly attracted by carbon dioxide. Most mosquito species live on fruit juices and nectar; only a few thrive on human blood.
Then there are some mosquitoes that feed on other mosquitoes as well, and some species that prefer frogs over humans. Mosquitoes have poor eyesight. They can identify their prey by the infrared view of its body temperature.
Mosquitoes cause diseases like yellow fever, dengue, filariasis, and encephalitis. A single mosquito carrying the malaria virus can infect more than 100 people.
Mosquitoes kill more people than any other insect. In fact, several sources consider it the most dangerous 'animal' in the world. Additionally, mosquito bites cause itching, which can be very discomforting.

How to Deal With Them?

You can take the following steps to reduce mosquitoes in your surroundings ...
  • Get rid of stagnant water in your garden or drums, bottles, tin cans, etc.
  • Cover all the water containers in and around your house.
  • The water bowl of your pet can be a source of mosquito breeding; so, replace the water on a daily basis.
  • Make sure water does not accumulate anywhere around your house.
  • Add some mosquito-eating fish to your fish tank.
  • Cut the grass and shrubs short in the garden to avoid giving mosquitoes a place to hide.
  • Keep unused swimming pools drained or covered.
  • Drain all the swamps in your neighborhood.