It’s that time of year when the annoying hum of mosquitoes fly by your ear. Spending time outdoors in the summer and mosquito bites seem to go hand in hand. Those bites can mean more than an itch, they can carry highly infectious diseases like Zika virus, West Nile virus, dengue fever and chikungunya. You’ll hear a lot about mosquitoes and there are facts and myths that need to be cleared up to protect yourself and your family from these potential diseases.
What Blood Type Do Mosquitoes Like?
Female mosquitoes don’t really care who they bite, they just want blood and they don’t care where it comes from. They need blood to produce eggs and because of this many people believe that they show no preference to their victims. Mosquitoes need carbon dioxide that we all produce, and new research has shown that there are some mosquito species that do like certain types of people. Insects use their sense of smell to find prey and odoriferous chemicals produce by certain people can have them attracted to some people and not others. There was a study that found pregnant women in Gambia attracted Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Another study concluded that beer consumption increased the attractiveness of some types of mosquitoes.
Are You Safe from Mosquitoes Indoors?
It is not true that staying inside will keep you safe from potentially contracting the Zika virus. While spending time inside at certain times of the day can reduce the risk, they can still be a problem. Mosquitoes can get into the best sealed homes and start to breed in any other areas with the smallest amount of standing water.
Are Mosquitoes Only Found Near Wetlands?
Almost all mosquito species prefer warm weather and moist soil or standing water to lay their eggs. These conditions are all found in swamps, ponds and marshes. Drain these areas of water would do little to reduce mosquito populations as many don’t even need them to reproduce. Mosquitoes will use toys, birdbaths, tires, buckets, planters, flower pots and many other items to lay eggs.
Do Mosquitoes Hate Bats, Listerine & Citronella Candles?
There are many ideas on the internet about repelling mosquitoes but “natural” solutions provide very little, if any, relief. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that products containing DEET or picaridin is the best way to repel mosquitoes. You also need to take precautions during the day as some species of mosquito will bite during the day.
Would it Be Good to Have a Wold Without Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes kill hundreds of thousands of people every year with mosquito-borne diseases. Malaria claimed the lives of 6 million people in the past decade. There are experts that claim mass mosquito-cide to be the only solution. But total eradication of mosquitoes would be very risky and almost impossible. Out of the 3,500 species of mosquitoes, only 200 of them bite and there are areas in the world where mosquitoes are a food source for animals. They are also very resilient, and the use of pesticides can be risky for humans and the environment.