Mosquito Facts

The following is a list of little known facts about mosquitoes, in no particular order:

  • There are about 3000 different kinds of mosquitoes and a worldwide population of 100 trillion.
  • There are over 170 described species of mosquitoes from North America. Several species have been accidentally introduced from other parts of the world.
  • Most mosquitoes are found in tropical climates, but there are some species in arctic and desert regions.
  • Only female mosquitoes bite. They require a blood meal in order to develop eggs. Most female mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Stagnant ponds, ditches and fresh or salt water wetlands are preferred, but even a few tablespoons of water in a flower pot or old tire will do. The eggs hatch, become swimming larvae, develop into pupae, and finally into flying adults. Mosquito larvae are an important source of food for certain fish, birds, bats and other animals.

Mosquito Life Cycle.  

Mosquito Life Cycle.
Figure courtesy of the Department of Entomology, University of Georgia

  • In their quest for blood, mosquitoes may bite birds, frogs, snakes, and mammals, including people.
  • The average life span of the female mosquito is 3 to 100 days; the male's is 10 to 20 days.
  • 24 hours or so after hatching, a female mosquito flies off in search of a blood meal.
  • When she bites, the mosquito injects a bit of saliva that slows coagulation so blood flows freely. It's your body's allergic reaction to the saliva that caused the welt and itching sensation.
  • Depending on species, female mosquitoes may lay 100 to 300 eggs at a time and may average 1,000 to 3,000 during their lifespan.
  • Adults can live for several weeks, feeding on carbohydrate sources such as nectar and fruit juices.
  • Worldwide, mosquito-borne diseases kill more people than any other single factor. In the United States, mosquito vectors transmit several types of encephalitis, dog heartworm, and malaria.
  • The larval and pupal stages can be found in a variety of aquatic habitats including: discarded containers, tires, temporary woodland pools, tree and crab holes, salt marshes, and irrigation ditches.
  • Most mosquitoes remain within 1 mile of their breeding site. A few species may range up to 20 miles or more.
  • Depending on temperature, mosquitoes can develop from egg to adult in as little as 4-7 days.
  • Presently, the cues used by mosquitoes to find their hosts are poorly understood. Carbon dioxide (CO2), heat, octenol and light have been shown to be attractants. Other compounds tested such as lactic acid also have proved to attract certain species of biting insects.
  • You're more likely to be a target for mosquitoes if you consume bananas.
  • Mosquito biting activity increase by 500 times when there is a full moon.
  • A mosquito's wings beat 500 times a second.
  • Mosquitoes dislike citronella because it irritates their feet.
  • Most mosquitoes fly less than a mile during their lifetime.
  • A female mosquito takes a nap after having a blood meal to assist in the digestion process.
  • There are some types of mosquitoes that hibernate to survive cold winters.

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