Mosquitoes are the most deadly creatures we know in the world. While they are small, have no fangs or claws, and may not seem intimidating, they are responsible for the most deaths across the world.
These pests are responsible for over a million deaths per year, and infect close to 400 million people will a number of diseases. While these numbers seem to be going down thanks to medical treatment and vaccinations, they still pose a very real threat.
In the US, there are around 176 distinct mosquito species. These insects are known to many people, and having any of them on your property can be an unpleasant and potentially dangerous situation.
Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to reduce the chances of experiencing mosquito problems. In this section, we are going to take a look at what mosquitoes are, how to identify them, and how to manage their population.
If you are worried about flying insects on your property, the last two sections will be useful to you.
What Are Mosquitoes?
As we know, mosquitoes are flying insects. They are part of the True Fly family, and, like all flies, have wings. The wings of mosquitoes are scaled, however, which sets them apart from their cousins.
Many will know that mosquitoes feed on blood, but only the females do. Male mosquitoes have mouth parts that are not suitable for piercing skin like the females are. Instead, male mosquitoes will feed on sugar sources such as nectar. Females are the insects that cause problems for the human population.
Although mosquitoes can vary in color, they all look similar. They can be a grayish-brown, or black, and will typically have either green, blue, or white markings of some kind. On their wings, scales line the veins, and they have six long legs.
Their mouths are beak-like and sharp, and the females has a proboscis long and strong enough to piece through skin to feed on blood.
What Dangers Do Mosquitoes Pose To Humans?
These insects are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths across the globe every year. They are known to spread diseases and germs. Viruses such the West Nile and Zika viruses are easily spread through these insects.
Additionally, chikungunya and Dengue fever are common issues associated with mosquito bites. Of all diseases spread by mosquitoes, malaria is known to be the most dangerous, and was a common occurrence in the US well into the 20th century.
Not all mosquitoes have the ability to spread diseases, however. The majority of these insects in the US are referred to as nuisance mosquitoes, which means that they cannot spread diseases and make people ill.
These female mosquitoes will still feed on humans, but are not a health risk as other species are. Even though they cannot spread disease, the result of them feeding in your blood will still be unpleasant and should be avoided.
- Malaria: a potentially fatal disease that is caused by a parasite which frequently infects some mosquito species. Individuals who get malaria will suffer from chills, high fevers, and a flu-like sickness. There are four distinct types of malaria parasites that are known to infect humans.
- Zika Virus: an infection that is usually mild but can result in a fever and rash.
- Dengue Fever: a tropical virus transmitted by mosquitoes that can result in vomiting and nausea, rashes, muscle, joint, and bone pain, Individuals suffering from Dengue fever will experience flu-like symptoms and severe headaches. There is no specific treatment for this illness, and the only thing you can do is ensure you stay hydrated to fight off the disease.
- Chikungunya Virus: individuals with this illness may experience headaches, muscle pain, rashes, joint swelling, and a fever. While this rarely results in death, it can lead to disabilities and the symptoms can be very severe.
What Attracts Mosquitoes?
Unfortunately, mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide that all living things exhale and emit. This means that they are drawn to your breathing. Not only that, but they pick up on body heat, skin odor and perspiration using their receptors to find their next target.
Because of this, there is nothing you can do to yourself to stop being seen as a meal for a mosquito. However, there are some things you can do to attempt to repel them.
- Beer: according to a study, mosquitoes may be attracted to beer. In this study, researchers found that more of the insects were attracted to individuals who had consumed a liter of beer compared to those who drank a liter of water. While experts are unsure of why, it can be determined that there is a high possibility that mosquitoes are drawn tho those who consume alcohol.
- Blood Type: many people think that some mosquitoes prefer specific things in humans, and there may be some truth to that. Although having a sweet blood isn’t really a thing, your blood type could play a part in why mosquitoes may like you so much. One study showed that people with type O blood were the preferred victims for Aedes albopictus, while AB was preferred for Anopheles gabniae.
- Sweat and Heat: a 2019 study’s findings suggested that mosquitoes could be able to detect ammonia, lactic acid, and various other compounds that are emitted through a personâ€™s sweat. Doing things like strenuous exercise will create a build-up of lactic acid and heat within the body, which may attract more mosquitoes. Higher levels of compounds make you easier to find.
- Carbon Dioxide: a study found that the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from humans will attract mosquitoes. This explains why larger people frequently experience more mosquito bites, as they need to breathe more, and therefore exhale more carbon dioxide.
- Being Pregnant: a study founds that some species of mosquitoes are attracted to pregnant individuals. Although there is little research to back this up, it is thought that this is because of increased carbon dioxide and body heat.
- Skin Bacteria: a study found that the amount and types of bacteria on our skin could play a role in how attractive we are to mosquitoes. So, depending on the natural microscopic life you have on your skin, your unique scent will be different.
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Things You Can Do To Prevent Yourself From Getting Bitten By Mosquitoes
To decrease the chances of mosquitoes targeting you, you can try a couple of things. Depending on where you are experiencing the problem, one of these methods might work better than others.
For example, using a mosquito net is generally used with beds for sleeping individuals. Repellant can be used in a number of places and situations, depending on the type of repellant you decide to use. Try using one or all of these methods to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
- Use a mosquito repellant: a mosquito repellant does exactly what you think, it repels mosquitoes. You can get this in a spray that will help keep the bloodthirsty insects off you.
- Wear light-colored clothes: wearing lighter colored clothes has been associated with reducing the chances of being targeted by mosquitoes. So, if you are going to be spending time outdoors and know that there are mosquitoes in the area, try wearing lighter clothes instead of black.
- Use a mosquito net: getting a mosquito net to cover your bed is a good way to avoid these insects. They will be unable to get through the net and get to your skin. When using mosquito nets, make sure that there are no holes, and are secured, so there are no openings where the insects could get in.
Looking for a couple of ways to repel mosquitoes from you? Thankfully, there are a couple of DIY methods you can try out. Below is a list of easy things you can try at home if you want to keep these bloodsuckers away from you.
These methods should be used while also trying to take care of the root causes for the mosquito population, which we will go through below, too. These are all methods that Healthline recommends to use, and they have had various levels of success.
- Thyme Oil: research has shown that you can get up to 85% protection from mosquitoes for one to one and a half hours after burning thyme leaves.
- Cinnamon Oil: according to a study, cinnamon oil can kill mosquito eggs and keep adults away.
- Soybean Oil: according to researchers, soybean oil can provide protection from mosquitoes and has long-lasting effects.
- Greek Catnip Oil: this member of the mint family is known to repel mosquitoes. Growing this can help keep these insects away.
- Geraniol: it has been shown to have some level of success for between 2-4 hours, depending on the type of oil. Some geraniol is made from citronella, rose, and lemongrass.
- Tea Tree Oil: research into insect repellant have shown that any repellant that contains tea tree oil (melaleuca oil) is effective in keeping mosquitoes away, as well as biting midges and bush flies.
- Neem Oil: has had some levels of success for up to three hours, but as this oil can cause skin irritation, it is not recommended to use.
- Lemon and Eucalyptus Essential Oil: a study showed that mixing a 32% lemon and eucalyptus oil will give over 95% protection from mosquitoes for around three hours.
- Citronella: this is a common, effective, and natural ingredient that can deter mosquitoes. Outdoors, citronella candles may provide up to 50% protection from mosquitoes.
- Lavender Flowers: a study found that using crushed lavender flowers helped repel mosquitoes.
If you are looking for a chemical repellant that is known to be highly effective against mosquitoes, DEET is highly recommended. This is an incredibly long-standing and effective insect repellant that is used even in the US Army.
If you donâ€™t mind using chemicals in order to protect yourself, DEET is the best product you could use.
Preventing Mosquitos From Gathering In Your Area
Repelling mosquitoes isn’t enough. To solve the problem, you need to get to the root cause. Mosquitoes do well is specific environments, and if you can stop them from spreading at the source, you will take care of your problem.
If you experience issues with mosquitoes inside, you can try using mosquito translate and make use of oscillating fans. However, the number of insects frequently means that a more hands-on approach is needed. Below is a list of things you can do to get rid of the mosquito population.
- Get gardening: we went through a list of essential oils you can use to repel mosquitoes, but if you can plant the correct plants around the house, this will be an efficient way of dealing with your mosquito issue. Try planting basil, citronella, lavender, or catnip to repel the bloodsucking insects.
- Attract mosquito’s predators: this works well in combination with some other methods. Some species of birds and bats are great at reducing the mosquito population, so the more mosquito-eaters you can attract, the better.
- Get rid of standing water: mosquitoes breed in standing water, and they can do it in less than a week. To combat your problem, get rid of standing water. Even small amounts can pose an issue, so be sure to frequently check the yard for anything that could fill with water. If you have a bird bath, a pool, or anything else that constantly has water in it, empty it every few days and re-fill it.
- Stock ponds and marshes: since ponds and marshes are typically standing water, they are the perfect breeding ground. To fight this issue, stock these waters with fish that will eat the pests. Additionally, make sure that the landscape is suitable for frogs since they are also notorious mosquito-eaters.
- Get rid of excess vegetation: since adult mosquitoes hide in thick vegetation during the daylight hours, reduce the amount of vegetation that they could take refuge in.
If these do not work for you, there is a chance that you may need to get the help of professional pest control services. These insects can be challenging to track and deal with efficiently, so if the problem continues after taking all the steps mapped out below, give us a call.
Having mosquitoes around isn’t worth the potential health dangers they could pose, and no one should have to through a mosquito infestation.
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