Along with all the fun that comes with summer, like BBQs, pool parties, fireworks, and warm weather, another not so great part comes with the summer: mosquitoes.
Those little biters can be awful and leave you scratching for days, which is why it’s important to be prepared in order to protect yourself from them.
With that in mind, here are some interesting facts you may not know about mosquitoes.
1. Only Female Mosquitoes Bite
Female mosquitoes need the protein from your blood to help nourish their eggs. Being that males don’t reproduce, they see no need to suck blood. Instead they enjoy the sweet nectar from flowers. So next time you’re being bit, know that it’s nothing personal, it’s just a mother wanting to help her offspring. (1)
2. They Provide a Purpose in the Ecosystem
While we consider mosquitoes to be a nuisance, they do serve a purpose in nature. They are a source of food for other animals like birds and frogs. They also help pollinate plants. The larvae help clean water by eating pollutants. (1)
More deaths are associated with mosquito bites than any other animal on the planet. They can carry a variety of deadly diseases, including:
• Yellow fever
Humans aren’t the only ones in danger though! Mosquitoes also carry heartworms which can kill cats and dogs. Next time you put on some bug spray, be sure to spray your pets, too!
4. Their Lifespan Is Just Under 6 Months
Mosquitoes tend to live 5 to 6 months; although they likely aren’t going to survive that long due to being swiped away as they bite you or are killed by various bug repellents. But those that do survive, do have a considerably long lifespan for insects. (1)
5. Not All Mosquitoes Like Human Blood
While we think mosquitoes are all out to get us, some prefer specific types of animals. For example, some breeds like Culiseta melanura only target birds while others like Uranotaenia sapphirina prefer reptiles and amphibians. In fact, there are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes while only about 200 of them prey on human blood. (1)
6. They Are Slow Flyers
Mosquitoes are considerably slow flyers and tend to average 1 to 1.5 miles per hour. Compared to other insects, this is very slow. (1)
7. Mosquitoes Have Incredibly Fast, Synchronized Wings
Despite flying crazy slow, mosquitoes’ wings move incredibly fast! They beat 300-600 times per second. Now you know where the buzzing comes from.
On top of that, it is these fast wings that help them find a mate. When male and female mosquitoes find their mate, they synchronize their wings to the same speed. (1)
8. Salt Marsh Mosquitoes Come from Far Away
While most mosquitoes tend to stay close to the body of water they were born out of, mosquitoes that were bred in salt marshes have been known to travel up to 100 miles to find the ideal climate. (1)
9. They Need Small Amounts of Standing Water to Breed
For mosquitoes to breed, all they need is a small amount of standing water to deposit their eggs. You can find developing mosquito larvae in puddles, bird baths, or that cup of water you leave out for neighborhood cats. If you want to avoid having a mosquito breeding ground near you, be sure to dump standing water every few days. (1)
10. Mosquitoes Sense CO2 from 75 Feet Away
Mosquitoes are able to detect where humans and animals are by sensing carbon dioxide in the area. A female mosquito can sense it from up to 75 feet away. Think of it like how you can sense a good taco stand down the block, that’s how it is for mosquitoes with CO2. (1)
11. Some People Won’t React to Mosquito Bites
While most people will become itchy due to an allergic reaction from the mosquito’s saliva, some people have been found to not have this reaction. Currently, scientists are studying their sweat to help develop new mosquito repellents. (1)
12. Bug Zappers Won’t Work on Them
Most people think their glowing bug zappers in the backyard will help keep mosquitoes away. Unfortunately, while they will help kill gnats, beetles, and moths, they are unlikely to attract mosquitoes. This is because they are more attracted to CO2 being produced by people and living things than they are to that bright light. (1)
13. Then What Does Kill Mosquitoes?
One tool people have found helpful is using fog machines that attract mosquitoes with CO2 before trapping them.
Repellents that people use in their yards can help too to kill them and keep them away.
Now that you know these 13 facts about mosquitoes, be sure to stay safe at your next pool party or BBQ!