Mosquitoes are pests that spread at an alarming rate. Before we talk about solutions to keep them away or eliminate them permanently, lets first learn more about these flying insects.
First and foremost, how do they spot human presence? No matter how much you spray yourself with repellent, mosquitoes will always detect you. In the summer and in humid weather, they multiply and give some people a hard time, as they bite more.
According to a research carried out by a team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington published in 2015, all species of mosquitoes work in the same way to find their victim.
To target their prey, they use the carbon dioxide (CO2) that you release when you breathe. Once the flux is detected, mosquitoes use their eyes to locate their prey and the warmest areas of the body.
Can mosquitoes transmit coronavirus?
With the current coronavirus epidemic that keeps spreading at an alarming rate, it is not surprising that people are concerned whether these bloodsuckers can carry the virus. Can they transmit it to humans and infect a person with COVID-19?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) unanimously agree that mosquitoes are not vectors of COVID-19 for the simple reason that they cannot be infected with the virus. Therefore, mosquitoes cannot transmit the virus to humans.
Although mosquitoes cannot transmit the coronavirus, they are vectors of several other serious diseases such as dengue or paludism. While dengue fever is considered the most common viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes, malaria is the deadliest of the diseases transmitted by these insects. In 2018, the WHO counted nearly 228 million cases of malaria in 91 countries. More than 90% of cases are reported in sub-Saharan Africa and more than 2/3 of deaths are in children under 5 years of age.
So here are a few interesting facts about mosquitoes!
Only female mosquitoes bite.
The females bite us in order to feed. The various components of our blood make it a delicious meal for mosquitoes, essential for their reproduction, and the development of their eggs.
Mosquitoes love CO2
Carbon dioxide is one of the clues mosquitoes use to spot their next meal. They have a special organ known as the jaw palp, which allows them to follow the smell of the CO2 released by our breathing.
Mosquitoes have been around for a long time
Mosquitoes are as old as the dinosaurs, and there is even evidence that their existence dates back to the Triassic period! However, the life span of mosquitoes is rather short (at most 2 months).
Mosquitoes don’t only bite human
Some mosquitoes also like the blood of other animals, like frogs or birds.
There are thousands of species of mosquitoes.
According to the American Association for Mosquito Control, there are more than 3000 species of mosquitoes around the world.
A few useful ways to control the presence of mosquitoes
- Mosquitoes only need the equivalent of a teaspoon of water to develop. By eliminating standing water we can reduce the reproduction of mosquitoes.
- Keep the air circulating constantly with a fan. Mosquitoes are not very skillful in the air!
- Avoid certain times of the day. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk.
- Use insect repellents when you are outside. Mosquitoes do not tolerate these products!