The Mosquito: What's All the Buzz About?

Many people have a strong aversion to bugs. Think, for instance, of the prominent role that spiders play in creepy Halloween decorations. As well, consider the hushed tones that people use when nervously discussing the cicada broods lying in wait underground. For some insects, this revulsion is misplaced; if you don’t bother them, they will happily avoid you. In other instances, however, insects can pose a threat to a person’s health and happiness; such is the case with the mosquito. 


Transmitting Disease

For many people, the mosquito represents a harmless pest; an encounter with this insect leaves them with nothing more than an itchy red spot. For others, however, the mosquito is much more dangerous and acts as a vector. A vector is a living organism that is a carrier of disease; it transmits an infection from one host to another, such as from an animal to a human. Some of the diseases that can be spread through mosquito bites include yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, malaria, West Nile virus, and zika.

Drinking Blood

If you are bitten by a mosquito, you can be sure that the female of the species is the culprit. The male mosquito, which has a diet of flower nectar, does not bite humans; it has no need to feed off their blood. The female mosquito, in contrast, has a diet that includes flower nectar as well as blood. To develop the eggs that are necessary for reproduction, the female mosquito needs to obtain the protein found in human blood.

Its specialized mouthpart allows a mosquito to access the bloodstream; with an extension that resembles a tiny needle, the mosquito is able to pierce the skin, and then, using a straw-like tube, suck up the blood. When the female mosquito later lays her eggs, she does so in areas containing stagnant, shallow water. Therefore, proper water treatment, achieved by conducting regular pond maintenance Florida, is essential to avoiding infestation.

In addition to removing standing water, other ways to stay free from mosquito bites include using protective netting when sleeping and wearing thick clothing with long sleeves.