Mosquitoes, the most hated insects, are pesky, disease-carrying pests that suck the blood of all living beings. These are some of the facts about mosquitoes that most people don’t know.
#1 Mosquitoes cause the maximum number of human deaths
That’s a fact! Mosquitoes are associated with more than a million human deaths ever year. This figure far exceeds the human deaths caused by any other insect, bird, or animal. Some of the deadly mosquito-borne diseases include yellow fever, dengue fever, malaria, and encephalitis. Additionally, mosquitoes are also carriers of heartworm, a lethal disease to dogs.
#2 Only the female mosquitoes bite and suck blood
Male mosquitoes avoid humans completely and feed on plants and flowers instead. However, only the female mosquitoes need blood from humans and animals. The human blood is required meet their reproductive functions; specifically, protein for their eggs. In other words, the female mosquitoes need a blood meal before laying eggs. Female mosquitoes bite humans only during their reproduction periods. At other periods, they feed on flower nectar.
#3 Mosquitoes cannot breed without water
Female mosquitoes need water – at least, a few inches – to lay eggs. Without water, it is impossible for mosquitoes to reproduce. Hence, it is extremely important to keep surroundings of all human habitations clean and free from all sources of stagnant water. Eliminating all sources of stagnant water is definitely the most effective means of checking mosquito population.
#4 Many mosquito species feed on other hosts like birds or amphibians
Of the 3,500 species of mosquitoes, only a few hundred prefer human hosts. A majority of mosquito species feed on plants, birds, and other animals.
#5 Mosquitoes are one of the slowest flying insects
The speed of mosquitoes varies between 1 to 1.5 mph. Most other insects like honey bees, butterflies, and locusts are much faster.
#6 Mosquitoes are extremely sensitive to carbon dioxide
The key signal from humans to mosquitoes is the carbon dioxide humans exhale. In fact, mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide from as far as 75 feet. Female mosquitoes, once they detect the exhaled carbon dioxide, fly back and forth before homing in on their victims.
#7 Mosquitoes’ wings move 300 – 600 times per second
This causes the irritating buzzing sound when mosquitoes are around. Male mosquitoes find their mates by listening to the distinct sound of female wing beats. Recent research has shown that, in some species, the female mosquitoes listen to the wing beats of the male.
#8 Most mosquitoes remain close to their breeding ground
Mosquitoes don’t like to travel. Except the salt marsh mosquitoes, most mosquitoes remain close to their larval breeding environment. Most mosquito species don’t move far from the breeding ground from which they emerge. However, the salt marsh mosquito is different. It travels up to 100 miles from its larval breeding habitat.
#9 The life expectancy of adult mosquitoes is 5 – 6 months
For a mosquito larva to develop to the adult stage, it takes several months. In unfavorable conditions, it may even take years. However, the average life expectancy of an adult mosquito is five to six months.
#10 The mosquito reproduces prolifically
A female mosquito lays 100 to 300 eggs at a time; that is, an average of 1,000 to 3,000 eggs during its lifetime. This certainly makes the mosquito one of the most prolifically breeding pests.
Since mosquitoes cause maximum human casualties, it is extremely important to keep surroundings of human habitations free of stagnant water sources. This checks their population effectively and limits their menace.