With all the negative conversation surrounding mosquitoes these days, it seems like the animal is only in this world to ruin our barbecues and cause problems. And with diseases like Zika, Dengue, and Malaria, it’s hard to believe otherwise.
But lucky for mosquitoes, we have a soft spot for all pests and bugs (even the annoying ones), and we were determined to help improve their reputation. We knew there had to be something interesting about them—and we were right!
Here are a few lesser-known, yet fascinating facts about mosquitoes.
1. All in a name
Originating back to the 16th century, the word “mosquito” is Spanish for “little fly.” Despite their name, though, there’s nothing little about the mosquito family. While there are only 176 mosquito species in the United States, scientists have identified over 3,000 species of mosquitoes worldwide.
2. Here, not there
While it might seem like the same mosquito followed you from your front porch to your office downtown, we can assure you it didn’t. In fact, mosquitoes rarely travel far from home. The majority stays within several hundred feet from where they hatched; a few salt marsh species, however, can travel up to 40 miles away for a meal.
Even if they could travel far, it would take them quite a while. A mosquito’s top speed peaks at 1.5 miles per hour, which is surprising, given that their wing beats from 300-600 times per second.
3. Multiples of three
Mosquitoes have six legs; females can lay 300 eggs at a time, and they can drink up to three times their weight in blood. And that’s not the only triple play either. In their lifetime, females will lay eggs up to three times.
When laying her eggs, a mosquito will place them in what’s called a raft—or cluster of eggs—on the surface of stagnant water. An egg needs only an inch of water for an egg to hatch into larvae, and will stay in the water for the first ten days of life.
4. They like our smell
Like a few other bugs out there, mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale while breathing. And that’s not the only smell they can sense. An individual’s sweat, blood type, and the lactic acid their skin releases can also tell a mosquito that a meal is within reach.
5. But, they like her smell better
According to studies, pregnant women attract almost twice as many mosquito bites as others. Scientists suggest it’s because they release more carbon dioxide and have a warmer body temperature than others. This particular fact has been in the news a lot lately with concerns about Zika-related microcephaly.
6. The perfect match
When it’s time to mate, male mosquitoes listen to the sound of a female’s wings to identify a higher frequency or pitch of the female’s wings. In doing so, he can recognize her species and select the right mate.
7. Not all bite
Contrary to popular belief, not all mosquitoes bite humans. In fact, only female mosquitoes bite humans; they do so to reproduce. Female mosquitoes use the blood to acquire an amino acid called isoleucine, allowing her to produce more eggs.
Males, on the other hand, feed on fruit and plant nectar.
8. Track the moon
According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), studies show that mosquito activity increases by 500% when there’s a full moon.
9. Hibernation happens
Most people are surprised to know that some mosquitoes hibernate. Mosquitoes are cold-blooded animals, and thus, prefer temperatures above 80 degrees. While some mosquitoes lay eggs and die just before winter, others survive by hiding, and some make it through the winter in the larval stage.
10. The deadliest animal
Responsible for more than 700,000 human deaths annually, mosquitoes are the deadliest animals in the world; humans are the second deadliest animals, with snakes and dogs following behind.
Facts are nice. But remediation is better.
While these facts offer a more interesting look at mosquitoes, they’re still a nuisance in your home or backyard. If you think you may have a mosquito infestation, don’t wait another second—especially during the warm, wet months of summer. Give ABC Bryan-College Station a call today.
Our professionals will conduct a thorough inspection of your home, assess the situating, and offer a solution to best fit your needs. We’ll ensure your home is mosquito free all summer long—even if you do have a new appreciation for these pests.