Mosquito – Identification and Treatments
House mosquito, southern mosquito, Asian tiger mosquito, yellow fever mosquito
There are about 3,500 species of mosquitos, all of which can be identified by long, thin legs and a needle-like proboscis on their heads. Mosquitoes have a single pair of wings and belong to the same group as true flies. They range in size from 3-9 mm and are generally brown or black in color. When mosquitoes bite humans or animals they leave behind red, itchy lumps. Some people have allergic reactions to these bites and experience intense inflammation and swelling.
Only female mosquitoes feed on blood, but both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar from flowers. Most males are smaller than females and have large, feathery antennae. Mosquitos prefer damp, tropical areas with a lot of standing water like swamps or marshes. Mosquitoes are most active at night or on cloudy days. They avoid being active in the sunshine because they can easily become dehydrated and die. After mating, female mosquitoes seek out a blood meal to help them produce eggs. Up to 100 eggs are laid in any sort of standing, stagnant water and hatch into larvae. These larvae stay in the water and consume algae and small aquatic creatures. They go through one last adolescent stage, pupae, before maturing into adults.
Mosquitos can carry and transmit diseases to their hosts. This is an endemic problem in developing countries, but it also affects North American countries. Some mosquito-borne diseases that may affect Americans are zika virus, chikungunya virus, West Nile virus, dengue, malaria, and yellow fever. If you start experiencing any symptoms after a mosquito bite, it is important to contact a medical professional.
One way to prevent mosquito infestations is to reducing any standing water on your property so that there is nowhere for the larvae to develop. There are a variety of mosquito traps on the market that use sticky surfaces or electric grids to kill the bugs. These may kill a few adults but have been proven ineffective in reducing populations in an area because they don’t target larvae or the environments in which they live. Mosquito repellents are also effective in temporarily keeping mosquitoes away, but they lose their effectiveness over time and require periodic reapplication. The best way to control a mosquito infestation is to contact your pest control professional.