Mosquito Facts Worth Knowing
Here are several mosquito facts worth knowing, plus a few which probably are not, but are interesting nonetheless. It is a good thing to have some knowledge about mosquitoes, as they are notorious for spreading disease, especially malaria and West Nile virus. Besides that, they tend to be pests, and even when their bites may not be dangerous, they can still make you miserable.
If you don’t want to be bitten by mosquitoes, hang out with the males. It’s only the female mosquito that’s interested in a blood meal, and therefore interested in you. Male mosquitoes will leave you alone as they are too busy looking for their meal of choice, flower nectar.
Who Gets Bitten
Female mosquitoes are attracted by such things as body odor, the carbon dioxide we exhale, and body temperature. If you are out walking with a friend and there are mosquitoes about, one of you is going to get the lion’s share of the bites, although it’s not always predictable which one. The combination of skin temperature and body odor is going to cause mosquitoes to zero in on the person who seems to be the most “desirable” target. It’s said that eating a banana will attract mosquitoes. Before going on a walk, give your friend a banana. It can also be to your advantage if you are a brunette and your friend is a blond. Like gentlemen, mosquitoes seem to prefer blonds.
If there is one good thing, and it’s probably only one good thing, about an oil spill, it’s the fact that it’s tough on mosquitoes Mosquito larvae require fresh water and not salt water, though they do survive in brackish water like is found in salt marshes. An oil slick or film on the surface of a marsh or pond will kill off the larvae. Mosquito larvae breath by using their promiscuous (combination nose and mouth) like a snorkel to breathe. Oil clogs it up and they drown. A very light film of oil will suffice, and will eventually break up and dissipate, so if you have a pond, the eventual result will be no more mosquitoes and no more oil.
Poor Eyesight Doesn’t Stop Them
As far as eyesight is concerned, the mosquito can’t see the broad side of a barn, unless it’s within 30 feet of the barn. This means it can’t distinguish between you and a barn if it relies on eyesight alone. The mosquito, however, relies on a heat-seeking capability, something like a Sidewinder missile has, and since you normally release more heat than does the broad side of a barn, the mosquito is going to zero in on you. They do detect movement however, another reason why they will choose you instead of the barn.
Run Fast For 30 Feet
It is possible to outrun a mosquito, as they can’t fly much faster than about 2 miles an hour, a medium brisk walk for us. Some species can fly for miles, although many stick quite close to home. The trick here is to walk fast or run, until you get beyond their effective range of eyesight, then stand still. This will work for one mosquito, but not necessarily a swarm, and is certainly not a useful strategy on the Arctic tundra.
More About Disease
You may wonder why the mosquito doesn’t spread many more types of diseases than it does, although spreading malaria is certainly bad enough. The mosquito seldom transmits harmful viruses when it bites, the West Nile virus being an exception. The mosquito may suck up viruses when feeding, but most of these viruses are digested by the mosquito as food, and those that are not, are eliminated as waste, and are no longer present when the mosquito seeks its next meal. What causes malaria to spread by mosquito bites is that the malaria virus remains on the outside of the proboscis, thus can easily enter the bloodstream of the victim.