Mosquitoes: The Complete Buzzing Facts Part I
At Zone Protects, we strive for excellence in all things especially our knowledge about the enemy. I’m not talking about the devil (but close to him), I’m referring to the mosquito. The internet is a vast array of information and knowledge. I have compiled this information so we may all grow in our knowledge.
As good southern preachers like to begin their sermons, “whhheye”? Why are you reading this and why should you care? This paper will cover the most important reference information about mosquitos and as well as the human race’s pursuit to repel them from reaching our bodies.
As the dominant species on the planet, humans can enjoy God’s blessings in the outdoors without the nuisance of insects buzzing, biting and spreading disease. Throughout the history of the world, we have been shown that it can be the smallest of things (i.e. bacteria, viruses) that bring us to our knees and even take our lives.
Most of us are able to prevent and treat those microscopic attackers but there are many of us, specifically innocent children, who battle daily, the diseases brought on by mosquito bites. The more we know about our foe, the better we are in controlling, preventing and mitigating the nuisance and the dangerous diseases.
Mosquito Facts and Factoids
Mosquitoes, the insects that are universally hated the world over. These pesky, disease-carrying pests make a living by sucking the blood out of just about anything that moves, including us. But take a moment to look at things from the mosquito's perspective. Mosquitoes are actually interesting creatures so read, learn and enjoy.
- Mosquito is Spanish for “little fly.”
The word reportedly originated in the early 16th century. In Africa, New Zealand and Australia, mosquitoes are often called “Mozzies”
- Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on Earth.
Take that, shark week!
More deaths are associated with mosquitoes than any other animal on the planet. Mosquitoes may carry any number of deadly diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis. Mosquitoes also carry heartworm which can be lethal to your dog.
Read all about mosquito transmitted diseases and statistics in the Zone Repellents whitepaper, “Diseases - Mosquitoes and Ticks Can Put You at Dis-ease”.
- Mosquitoes do not bite, they suck.
Actually, they penetrate the skin and then suck. They use a long, pointed mouthpart called a proboscis. They use the serrated proboscis to pierce the skin and locate a capillary, then draw blood through one of two tubes.
- Only female mosquitoes bite humans and animals; males feed on flower nectar.
Mosquitoes mean nothing personal when they take your blood. Female mosquitoes need protein (from blood) for their eggs, and must take a blood meal in order to reproduce. Since males don't bear the burden of producing young, they'll avoid you completely and head for the flowers instead. And when not trying to produce eggs, females are happy to stick to nectar, too.
- Mosquitoes are efficient sucking machines.
Once a feeding mosquito is full, a chemical signal shuts down the intake. When that signal is disabled in the lab, mosquitoes suck until they explode. The female’s saliva contains an anti-coagulant that lets her more easily suck up her meal as well as a mild painkiller to keep you unaware. The saliva induces an allergic response from her victim’s immune system; that’s why your skin gets an itchy bump.
- Mosquitoes are vampire wannabes.
It would take 1,200,000 mosquitoes, each sucking once, to completely drain the average human of blood which seems unlikely…but then again…in the Arctic, Canadian researchers who bared their arms, legs, and torsos reported as many as 9,000 bites per minute from swarming, newly hatched mosquitoes. At that rate, an individual could lose half his blood in two hours.
- Mosquitoes in colder climates are more aggressive.
Mosquitoes hibernate. They are cold-blooded and prefer temperatures over 80 degrees. At temperatures less than 50 degrees, they shut down for the winter. When they arise from their slumber, they are hungry, ready to breed and will hunt you down like there is no tomorrow.
- Some mosquitoes avoid biting humans altogether.
There are approximately 3,500 species of mosquitoes but not all mosquito species feed on people. Only around 200 species feed on human blood. Some mosquitoes specialize on other animals, and are no bother to us at all. Culiseta melanura, for example, bites birds almost exclusively, and rarely bites humans.
Another mosquito species, Uranotaenia sapphirina, is known to feed on reptiles and amphibians.
In 1998, researchers found a new mosquito species in the London Underground, descended from ancestors that flew in when the tunnels were dug 100 years ago. Once bird-feeders, they now feast on a menu of rats, mice, and people. They rarely interbreed with their aboveground colleagues. Their DNA actually varies from one subway line to another.
- Mosquitoes are slow fliers.
Mosquitoes average a flight speed of 1 to 1.5 miles per hour. That might sound fast, but they're not setting any insect speed records. If a race were held between all the flying insects, nearly every other contestant would beat the pokey mosquito. Butterflies, locusts, and honey bees would all finish well ahead of the skeeter.
- A mosquito's wings beat 300-600 times per second.
This would explain that irritating buzzing sound you hear just before a mosquito lands on you and bites.
- Mosquito-love: Mosquito mates synchronize their wing beats to perform a lover's duet.
Scientists once thought that only male mosquitoes could hear the wing beats of their potential mates, but recent research on Aedes aegypti mosquitoes proved females listen for lovers, too. When the male and female meet, their buzzing synchronizes to the same speed. Females take several times longer to synchronize. This is the same with humans in a bar.
It’s a weird romance.
According to a University of Bristol study, male mosquito “ears” are packed with about as many sensory cells as human ears, helping amorous mosquito males identify and pursue passing females.
Mosquitoes can mate in midair, often in as little as 15 seconds from approach to fare-thee-well. There are no known instances of prior cocktails and dinner.
Salt marsh mosquitoes may live as far as 100 miles from where they hatched.
To read more, read Part II...just click here!
To view the amazing Zone Protects Insect Repellents, click here.