With summertime commencing, the warm weather brings about some of the peskiest annoyances of summer.
That’s right, we’re talking about mosquitoes.
In this article, we’ll be listing some of the myths about mosquitoes and debunking them. Just when we think there’s nothing interesting to learn about these pests, we find ten interesting facts to combat this notion.
Who knows, debunking these types of myths might even help to protect yourself against bites this summer!
If you’re looking to learn ten solid facts about these pests, you’re going to want to keep reading.
1. All Mosquitoes Bite
This is the most common misconception when it comes to mosquitoes.
When it feels that mosquitoes are biting by the thousands, it’s really only half of the mosquito population that bites us.
The fact is that only female mosquitoes bite. They need the nutrients in human blood to produce eggs, and their mouth is designed to pierce human skin and suck the blood out.
Male mosquitoes, on the other hand, only eat plant matter and flower nectar.
2. Mosquito Illnesses Are Not Serious
Over the last 13 years, mosquito-related illnesses have actually tripled in the United States alone. Between the years 2004 and 2016, there were over 640,000 reported cases. Mosquitoes also spread nine new germs during this time.
Several viruses (such as West Nile or Zika ) will not be too serious for most people.
However, certain people may develop severe symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito infected with West Nile virus that, in rare cases, can even cause death. And a Zika infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects.
Other serious diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are Chikungunya, Dengue, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Japanese Encephalitis, La Crosse Encephalitis, Saint Louis Encephalitis, Malaria, and Yellow Fever.
3. Having Alcohol in Your System Doesn’t Make a Difference
Have you ever noticed that mosquitoes tend to bother those that have had the most to drink?
It’s a fact that consuming alcohol makes your blood tastier for mosquitoes. Studies show that even having 12 ounces of beer in your system increases your appeal to mosquitoes.
So, next time you sit outside to enjoy a cold one, consider bringing some bug repellant!
4. Different “Tastes” of Blood Are More Appealing
Put simply, the “taste” of one’s blood has nothing to do with whether or not a mosquito chooses to bite.
Therefore, there’s nothing personal about a mosquito choosing to bite you based on the taste of your blood. Instead, mosquitoes are attracted to these features :
- Carbon dioxide from breath
- Heat from our bodies
- Lactic acid
In regards to lactic acid, studies reveal that those with Type O blood are more likely to be bitten than those with Type A blood. This has been tied to the fact that Type O blood has more lactic acid secretion.
5. Being Active Will Help Rid Mosquitoes
Exercising outdoors (think playing baseball or soccer come sundown) will actually make you more attractive to mosquitoes.
This is because as the body temperature increases, the amount of carbon dioxide one expells also increases. This increase makes our skin more appealing to mosquitos.
For this reason, always be sure to use bug repellent when exercising outdoors. This is especially at sundown or in dark, shaded areas where mosquitos are most prevalent.
6. A Mosquito Dies After It Bites You
This misconception likely comes from the fact that some bees die after stinging humans.
Mosquitoes, on the other hand, do not die after interacting with human skin. In fact, most mosquitoes bite quite a few times rather than just once.
If a female mosquito finds enough nutrients and avoids being smacked, it can actually live up to three weeks having bit numerous victims.
7. Mosquitoes Are Everywhere
While mosquitoes have been discovered in many places, there are still areas on earth in which they have not been reported.
Antarctica, for example, has yet to witness a mosquito on record.
The species of mosquito that carries Zika are not found in elevations above 6500 feet.
8. Clothing Does Not Matter
Research has found that mosquitoes are drawn to the clothing of certain colors. These colors would typically be those that are similar to the animals mosquitoes prey on.
For humans, this means avoiding dark colors such as brown, black, beige, green, etc., when in mosquito-prone areas.
It’s also recommended not to wear tight-fitting clothing. This makes it more difficult for the mosquito to reach your skin through your clothing.
Being well covered with long sleeve shirts, trousers, and thick socks is perhaps the best way to protect yourself. But this isn’t very pleasant on hot summer evenings. A combination of repellent treated clothing and a repellent for the skin is another effective alternative that may allow you to stay a little cooler.
9. You can 100% Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes
As it stands today, there is no guaranteed solution for protecting yourself from mosquito bites. Mosquitoes need to be dealt with in different ways.
You need to remove standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs. If some water can’t be drained, it should be covered or treated with a larvicide.
Adult mosquitoes can be sprayed with adulticides or trapped in mosquito traps.
Bug repellents recommended by the CDC, such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of lemon eucalyptus, are safe and effective when used and reapplied as directed.
Citronella candles may help minimize mosquitoes’ presence near the candle, but it’s not a perfect solution. Citronella works by masking the smell that humans secrete, which attracts mosquitoes in the first place.
However, factors such as wind and a limited radius of the candle prevent it from always working. The CDC doesn’t recommend this and other natural repellents because their effectiveness and safety haven’t been tested.
Other steps you can take to avoid bites outside is to wear long sleeved shirts and trousers.
Don’t forget you also need to banish the skeeters from inside your house. Install screens or keep windows and doors shut. Make sure there are no places mosquitoes can breed inside your house.
You can see, it’s extremely difficult or impossible to be completely safe from mosquitoes.
10. All Mosquitoes Carry Disease
According to research, there are approximately 3500 different species of mosquitoes in the world.
Of all these species, not all bite or are attracted to human blood. Let’s also remember that only female mosquitoes bite humans.
Only a small fraction of the mosquito population have viruses that can be passed onto humans. Certain species are also considered to be more predisposed to carrying disease than others.
For example, the tiger mosquito is known to carry diseases such as West Nile virus, yellow fever, and dengue fever.
Types of Myths About Mosquitoes
Come summertime, the mosquito myths come about as quickly as the mosquitoes themselves.
To best protect yourself from mosquitoes, it’s vital to separate these types of myths from the facts. This summer, let’s increase our knowledge of mosquitoes and minimize our bites.
From understanding what makes your blood more appealing to which mosquitoes are the biters, this knowledge is sure to help increase our bug resistance game.
Want to learn how to best prepare for mosquito season? Read our latest post here !