Mosquito Tips

Read these 10 Mosquito Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Mosquito Control tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What are the life stages of a mosquito?

Stages of Life for Mosquitoes

Every kind of mosquito goes through four distinct stages in its life cycle:

1. egg
2. larva
3. pupa
4. adult

The length of the first three stages depends on the species (as you might expect) but also on the average temperature. For instance, Culex tarsalis may complete its life cycle in 14 days at 20°C (68°F) and only ten days at 25°C (77°F). Some species have a life cycle of as little as four days or as long as one month. The females tend to outlast the males, however, as the average lifespan of a male mosquito is 10 to 20 days while a female can live anywhere between 3 to 100 days.

Mosquitoes as disease vectors?

Mosquitoes and Disease

*Be weary of mosquitoes—those little bites can do more damage than you might realize!

• The Anopheles mosquitoes are famous for being carriers of malaria (you can recognize them by their tilted resting position which makes them look like they are sort of doing a partial handstand)
• Mosquitoes of the genus Aedes transmit the viruses responsible for yellow fever, jungle yellow fever, and dengue fever
• In the United States and in the tropics, members of the genus Culex (to which the common house mosquito belongs) are vectors of filariasis (the infection by a filarial worm that causes elephantiasis, and human encephalitis)

How fast has West Nile virus spread?

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus was accidentally introduced into the United States in 1999 and by 2003 had spread to almost every state. Most people infected with west Nile wither have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Some mild symptoms include:

• Sudden onset confusion
• Headaches
• Stiff necks
• Vomiting

More sever symptoms include:

• Altered Reflexes
• Convulsions
• Comas
• Inflammation of the brain

Through the transmission of West Nile as well as diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, spotted fever, and encephalitis, it can be argued that mosquitoes have caused more human deaths than any other animal.

What about equine West Nile virus?

Equine West Nile Virus

Most people know about the West Nile virus spread by mosquitoes. But there is also a equine version of West Nile virus that affects horses. If you own a horse, check with your local county health department or veterinarian to find out how to protect your horse(s) against this new threat.

How to female mosquitoes find their food?

How Mosquitoes Find their Prey

Female mosquitoes of blood-sucking species locate their victims primarily through scent (they are extremely sensitive to the carbon dioxide in exhaled breath, as well as several substances found in sweat).

Female mosquitoes also use extremely sensitive thermal receptors located on the top of their antennae to sense blood near the surface of the skin (they are only capable of this when they are 10 feet or less away).

Some people seem to attract mosquitoes more than others. Being male, being overweight and having type 'O' blood may increase the risk of being bitten. Mosquitoes can detect heat, so they can find warm-blooded mammals and birds very easily once they get close enough.

What do mosquitoes look like in non-adult stages?

Mosquito Larvae and Pupae

If you've ever looked closely at pond water, chances are you've seen mosquito larvae. The larvae are the "wigglers" found in puddles or water-filled containers. The larvae breathe atmospheric oxygen through a siphon at the tail end.

The pupae are nearly as active as the larvae, but breathe through thoracic "horns" attached to the thoracic spiracles. Most larvae feed on microorganisms, but a few are predatory on other mosquito larvae.

*As a preventative measure to stop the spread of mosquitoes, a light film of oil can be spread over water's surface in order to close off the wriggler's access to air, killing the larvae.

What do mosquitoes live?

Mosquito Habitat

Jurassic Park wasn't completely fiction! If we can draw any truth from that film it is that mosquitoes have, indeed, been thriving for over 100 million years.

One of the truly remarkable facts about mosquitoes is their ability to adapt. Most people know (from experience) that mosquitoes reside in humid, temperate zones (like swamps and jungles). Most people don't realize, however, that mosquitoes have successfully adapted to climates as extreme as the Arctic Circle (where they spend winter as larvae frozen in the ice).

How long have mosquitoes been around?

Mosquitoes Have Been Around

Ever wish those pesky little creatures would just go away permanently? Don't count on it. Mosquitoes have been around for more than 170 million years. That's a pretty good record for a bug that only weighs, on average, between 2 and 2.5 milligrams.

The truth is that their instincts pre-program their life's behavior. They are able to adapt and refine these progrmas accordingly and thus stand the test of time.

Why do female mosquitoes seek blood?

Female Mosquitoes

Among well-know mosquito facts is the fact that the female is the one who seeks blood. It should be noted, however, that mosquitos do not feed on blood but rather require it for successful reproduction. The female mosquito needs the protein found in blood for the development of her eggs. Otherwise, like the males, they are content to eat nectars and various plant juices.

How has West Nile virus affected the need for mosquito information?

Mosquitoes and West Nile Virus

Because of the growing threat of West Nile Virus, mosquito information is becoming more important. Some of the best places to get more information on mosquitoes and the viruses and diseases they carry are:

• The US Department of Agriculture
• Your County Health Department.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

These sources can recommend ways to help safeguard you and your family against mosquitoes. Learn the facts so you can better protect yourself and your loved ones.

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Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.