With summertime commencing, the warm weather brings about some of the peskiest annoyances of summer.
Come sundown, these insects seem to swarm in the thousands and produce bites that leave our skin itching and irritated for days.
That’s right, we’re talking about mosquitoes.
In this article, we’ll be listing the ten most common mosquito misconceptions 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 of 2004 and 2016, there were over 640,000 reported cases. There were also nine new germs spread by mosquitoes during this time.
Several viruses (such as West Nile or Zika) will not be too serious for most people.
However, certain people may develop very serious 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 biting 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, they 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.
Antartica, 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. This makes areas such as South America less risky for the Zika Virus.
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 to wear ill-fitting clothing. This makes it more difficult for the mosquito to reach your skin through your clothing.
9. You can 100% Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes
As it stands today, there is no guaranteed solution for protecting yourself from mosquito bites.
Things like bug repellents and citronella candles do help to minimize the presence of mosquitoes, but it’s not a perfect solution.
A citronella candle works by attracting mosquitoes to the chemicals in the candle. By doing this, it helps to mask 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.
One of the best ways to combat the presence of mosquitoes is by using mosquito traps. Try one this summer!
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.
In order 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!
And if you’re looking for even more information on mosquitoes and what you can do to minimize their appearance this summer, visit our blog.