The mosquito is a small winged insect that has habituated the planet for millions of years. These pests belong to the same group as the true flies, Diptera. Mosquitos have long, thin legs, and a single pair of wings. The head features a prominent proboscis. They can ruin a family barbecue and make simple summertime yard work unbearable. The good news is that only the female bites. The bad news is that it feels like there are very few male mosquitos in the world.
Why Mosquitos Love People
Mosquitoes have the ability to sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid from about 100ft away. Carbon dioxide is a gas humans release while breathing. Since breathing is mandatory, it is an easy way mosquitos capitalize. Did you know that the world record for breath holding comes in at over 20 minutes? On the other hand, most healthy people can hold their breath for less than 2 minutes. Looking at these facts Freedom Pest Control does not want anyone to attempt holding their breath as method of mosquito pest control.
Mosquitos are also attracted to sweat and body odor. The human body releases chemicals like lactic acid during perspiration, and body odor is the secretion of bacteria that a mosquito simply can not resist. Oh, and please don’t think that some nice perfume or cologne will help solve the problem, as those scents can attract mosquitos too!
Why Mosquito Bites Itch
Hot summer days are awesome, but they often come with a price. One might feel the tingle of this little pest landing on the arm with an endless night of itchiness to follow, but did you know the itch does not actually come from the bite? The female mosquito uses her proboscis (the needle) to inject into the skin to find a blood vessel to suck out the blood as a tasty snack, and the itchiness actually comes from her saliva that she injects before and after the vampire behavior. The reason for this is that the saliva serves as an anticoagulant that keeps the blood flowing during her feast.
Mosquitos carry a plethora of infectious diseases from viruses to parasites that can infect us with Malaria, West Nile virus, Zika, and more.
- Malaria – People who get malaria will typically get very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Malaria can be a deadly disease, but thankfully illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
- West Nile Virus – West Nile virus can cause febrile illness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). The incubation period is usually 2 to 6 days but ranges from 2 to 14 days. This period can be longer in people with certain medical conditions that affect the immune system.
- Zika Virus – The most common symptoms of the Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain, and headache. Symptom can last for several days to a week. People don’t typically get sick enough to go to the hospital, and fatalities are very rare. Once a person has been infected they are likely to be protected from future infections.
What about Pets?
Mosquitos will bite our beloved dog, especially in those warm summer months. These bites can cause things like heartworm and West Nile. Human bug sprays are toxic for pets, so please stick to products that are made for dogs. Thankfully most flea and tick products are formulated to deal with mosquitos too.