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Mosquitoes the blood suckers

Mosquitoes the blood suckers

Mosquitoes the blood suckers

THE MOSQUITO

The mosquito 4 mm – 6 mm in size and often live in urban areas can transmit infections to humans such as dengue fever, Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus all of which cause debilitating pain, flu like symptoms, and are often accompanied by a rash. Dengue fever can be potentially fatal and the first domestically contracted case in over 70 years was recorded in the Northern Territory in 2010. It is only the female mosquito that seeks animals out for their blood, which they need in order to reproduce.
Humans are not the only ones in danger from mosquitoes, animals are also susceptible to the spread of infection.
 
Mosquitoes belong to the same group as the true flies, Diptera. As such, they have a single pair of wings. They typically have long, thin legs and a head featuring a prominent proboscis. Mosquito bodies and wings most often are covered in tiny scales. Adult sizes may range from 3 to 9 mm.
 
 
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Mosquitoes are best known for the habits of the adult females which often feed on blood to help generate their eggs. The lesser-known side is that mosquito adults, males and females, also feed on nectar from flowers. Their immature stages usually are located in standing, preferably stagnant, water. The larvae feed on variety of materials, depending on species. Most consume organic flotsam and tiny aquatic organisms. However, some species are predatory and will consume other mosquitoes. Adult mosquitoes prefer to be most active from dusk until dawn but can become active with sufficient cloud cover or in dark shady areas. They do not prefer to be active in the sunshine since they may dessicate and die.
Heard High-Pitched Buzzing of Mosquitoes?
We have all had to deal with mosquitoes. The high-pitched buzz, caused by the rapid beating of their wings, tells us that we have mosquitoes nearby, and that we should beware, since mosquito bites might not be far behind. Mosquitoes can chase us indoors during the best time of the year. Is there anything short of staying indoors that you can do to take back your outdoor living space around your home? Orkin Mosquito Service can help.
Mosquitoes or Flies?
Mosquitoes can be confused with flies. Mosquitoes have long legs, and a long proboscis or “nose” that female mosquitoes use to “bite” people and pets to draw blood, needed to lay eggs. Most flies won’t bite and even long-legged flies are usually much smaller than mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are pesky pests and can spread disease such as West Nile Virus, dengue and malaria. More commonly, though, mosquitoes threaten family events more than health.

Reproduction
Males have feathery antennae they use to locate females. After mating, females typically seek a blood meal to aid in egg production. She often lays them in standing pools of water, but manmade sources can include bird baths, buckets and even mud puddles. Egg numbers vary from species to species but can be as much as over 100 eggs in a single laying. Wormlike larvae, called wigglers because of their wiggling swimming motion, hatch. They feed until ready to molt into pupae. The pupae are called tumblers, again due to their tumbling motion in the water. Adults emerge from the pupae onto the water surface where their exoskeleton hardens.
Signs of a Mosquito Infestation
Annoying signs of mosquito activity include the buzzing of the females and their bites. People have differing reactions to bites, ranging from mild irritation to intense inflammation and swelling. Signs of the immatures are their presence in standing water, which also can include watering dishes of containerized house plants.
The use of insect repellents is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Repellents should not come into contact with the eyes and mouth, and special care should be taken when applying repellent to small children.
After receiving a mosquito bite, a cold compress can be applied to the affected area in order to reduce swelling. Mild antihistamines and anti-itching compounds relieve itching. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can also be used. A paste made from baking soda and water may prove effective, as will certain lotions.
Contact your physician before taking any new medications. If you experience more severe symptoms following a mosquito bite, contact a medical professional immediately.
Life cycle

The length of the mosquito life cycle varies between species and is dependent upon environmental conditions such as temperature and moisture. However, the life cycle of all mosquitoes is comprised of the egg, larval, pupal and adult stages.
Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar alone, while females extract the blood of hosts in order to develop and nourish eggs. Most mosquitoes lay their eggs directly into water. Others lay their eggs near bodies of water but not within them.
Eggs will hatch into larvae within 24 to 48 hours. Larvae soon grow to become approximately 5 mm in length. Most larvae breathe through air tubes. Larger larvae can be seen floating just above the surface of infested waters.
Within seven to 10 days, larvae enter the pupal stage. Pupae are also visible upon the surface of the breeding site. After a mosquito is fully developed, it will emerge as an adult from its pupal case. At this time, the new adult stands upon the water and dries its wings to prepare for flight. Adult female mosquitoes will then seek an animal on which to feed. Females are capable of flying for miles if necessary and can lay over 100 eggs at a time.
Larvae and pupae usually cannot survive without water. If a water source evaporates before the larvae and pupae within it transform into adult mosquitoes, those young often will die.
A few days after a blood meal, female mosquitoes lay about 200 eggs on any water surface-even small water bodies such as bottom trays of potplants are suitable. Most species produce egg ‘rafts’ where many eggs are cemented together, floating until they hatch after two to three days. Although they live in water, the larvae known as ‘wrigglers’ breathe air and come equipped with their own snorkelling equipment. Attached to
their abdomen is a siphon, which they use when they come to the surface to breathe.
Females live for about a month while males often live for only a week, during which they feed on nectar.
Mosquito Habitats
Mosquitoes prefer stagnant water within which to lay their eggs. They most commonly infest ponds, marshes, swamps and other wetland habitats. However, they are capable of thriving in a variety of locations and can successfully grow in numbers even when not in their natural habitat. Many species of mosquitoes use containers of water as egg-deposit sites.
Illustration of a Mosquito
Hot, humid environments are most amenable to mosquito growth and survival. Infestations can occur easily in tropical areas. Some species have also been known to inhabit freezing locations such as the Arctic Circle.
Mosquito larvae can be found in various habitats. Some larvae are active in transient waters such as floodwater, ditches and woodland pools. The
Anopheles, Culex, Culiseta, Coquillettidia
and
Uranotaenia
 species breed in permanent bodies of water and can survive in polluted water as well as freshwater, acid water and brackish water swamps. Other mosquito larvae may be present in container water sources such as puddles upon leaves and stagnant water within small pools.
 
Mosquito Larvae

 
Mosquito larvae live in water until they pupate and develop into adult mosquitoes. The larvae of most species use siphon tubes for respiration; however, some larvae cling to plants to access air supplies. Mosquito larvae consume microorganisms and organic matter in water.
Mosquito larvae may be as large as about 5 mm and can be clearly visible in water. Larger larvae are located closer to the water’s surface. Mosquito larvae are extremely sensitive and will submerge for protection if they sense disturbance.
Mosquito control involves the elimination of existing infestations and the prevention of reinfestation through the eradication of larval populations. In order to control mosquito larvae, regular inspections of possible breeding sites must be conducted.
Because mosquito larvae cannot survive away from water, areas affected by an infestation should be combed for water sources. Water that has been stagnant for three days is a prime habitat for mosquitoes. Some species require minimal amounts of water to thrive; even water sources such as birdbaths are potential breeding sites. Chemical or bacterial larvicide treatment may be necessary in areas where larvae are found.
 
Mosquitoes allergies and reactions

Mosquitoes are vectors of malaria, encephalitis and yellow and dengue fevers. Their bite can also cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
In most cases, a mosquito bite produces a red, itchy bump, which can bleed if scratched. Those with mild reactions to a mosquito bite can take antihistamines to reduce itching and swelling. Consult a physician before taking any new medications. Over time, some individuals develop immunity to the saliva of a mosquito and do not experience any symptoms at all upon being bitten.
People who spend a great deal of time outdoors or already have compromised or weak immune systems are especially susceptible to mosquito allergies. More severe symptoms include blistering rashes, bruises and excessive swelling. In rare cases, a bite victim may
experience anaphylaxis, hives or an asthma attack. In the event of a severe allergic reaction to a mosquito bite, a medical professional should be contacted immediately.
When spending time outside, individuals with known or suspected mosquito allergies should cover their skin in khaki or beige clothing, as mosquitoes are not as attracted to these colors. Because mosquitoes may be attracted to certain smells present in soap, shampoos and lotions, these should be used in moderation and unscented varieties may be less attractive. Mosquitoes are most active from dusk until dawn.
If possible, avoid being outside during these times. The use of citronella or insect repellent may be effective in avoiding bites.
 
Mosquito Bites

Female mosquitoes have piercing mouthparts through which they extract the blood of a host. The protein from gathered blood is used in egg production. Male mosquitoes do not extract blood from a host.
While not particularly painful, the bite of a mosquito can create physiological responses in humans. When a mosquito inserts her proboscis through the skin, her saliva creates a small, red bump. These bumps produce mild to severe itching in many people. Some people may become less sensitive to mosquito saliva through repeated exposure, while others may develop allergic reactions. Symptoms of an allergy include blistering and inflammation, as well as asthma like reactions. Mosquitoes also carry diseases such as yellow and dengue fevers, malaria and encephalitis and are capable of passing them from host to host.
The use of insect repellents is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Repellents should not come into contact with the eyes and mouth, and special care should be taken when applying repellent to small children.
After receiving a mosquito bite, a cold compress can be applied to the affected area in order to reduce swelling. Mild antihistamines and anti-itching compounds relieve itching. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can also be used. A paste made from baking soda and water may prove effective, as will calamine lotion.
Contact your physician before taking any new medications. If you experience more severe symptoms following a mosquito bite, contact a medical professional immediately.
 
Control Methods

Basic Information
Although mosquito control devices are commonly marketed to treat heavy mosquito populations, they have not been proven effective. These devices electrocute insects that approach them. They produce unpleasant sounds and require frequent cleaning. Because these devices utilize an electrical charge, they should be kept away from children, pets and foliage.

Asian Tiger Mosquito
Control Methods
Mosquito electric killers attempt to attract mosquitoes to light and kill them with an electric current. Many mosquitoes may be killed by these lights, but, in fact, most insects killed by electrocuting devices are not mosquitoes, but other flying insects attracted to light.
Challenges of Control
Targeting only adult mosquitoes does little to affect the overall mosquito population. Adults will continue to emerge, many of which will not be killed by a few devices. Pest control experts practice the most efficient methods of mosquito control, including targeting mosquito adult resting areas and addressing possible breeding areas.
Mosquito Repellents

Basic Information
Mosquito repellents are available as aerosols, creams, lotions and sticks. Protection generally lasts a few hours, after which time reapplication is necessary.

Close-Up of a Mosquito
Citronella oil is commonly used in candles, torches and mosquito coils and produces mosquito-repelling smoke. In outdoor conditions with calm
winds, citronella can be an effective repellent. However, citronella is not as effective as mosquito repellents applied directly to clothing or skin.
Control Methods
Apply mosquito repellents in moderation and only to exposed skin or clothing. Mosquito repellents should never come into contact with the eyes or mouth and should not be ingested under any circumstances. Do not use mosquito repellents on or near open wounds and irritated skin. Use caution applying repellants to small children. Pregnant women should consult a doctor prior to use.
Challenges of Control
Mosquito repellents can be effective at temporarily keeping mosquitoes away. The challenges are that it only provides a temporary relief and mosquitoes are not always repelled. Studies have found that some mosquitoes can ignore repellents over time and exposure. Repellents also begin to lose their effectiveness after being applied, which requires periodic reapplication if remaining outdoors. The most effective way to combat mosquitoes are repellents when used in conjunction with a mosquito control program. Consult a pest control professional who is armed with the tools and knowledge to develop a plan to significantly decrease breeding sources and adult mosquito populations.