A nuisance we think of while camping during the summer, or sitting around the campfire, mosquitoes are an important part of the ecosystem, providing sustenance to many animals.
So here are some facts about mosquitoes you may not know:
1. They have been around since the Jurassic Period!
2. Mosquito is Spanish for “Little fly”. The word is reported to have originated in the early 16th century.
3. Only females bite, this is because they need the blood to assist in egg development.
4. Mosquitoes don’t have teeth, instead they use a pointed mouth part called a proboscis.
5. They can drink up to THREE TIMES their weight in blood!
6. The bumps after a bite are caused by their saliva. Their saliva contains a mild painkiller and also an anti-coagulant which most people are allergic to, which causes the swollen itchy area around the bite.
7. Females can lay up to 300 eggs at a time. They are deposited in stagnant water, so any stagnant water you may have in your backyard should be dumped in order to prevent mosquitoes form using them to lay their eggs.
8. Their average lifespan is only 2 months and during this time females can lay up to 3 clutches!
9. Animals love mosquitoes. They’re a common food source for bats, birds, frogs, fish and dragonflies.
10. Humans are a second or even third choice for blood. Mosquitoes prefer horses, cattle and birds.
Mosquitoes have a reputation for transmitting diseases like the Zika Virus, West Nile Virus, Malaria and more.
To prevent potential transmission, here are some ways to enjoy the outdoors without getting bit :
– Get rid of or be away from standing water
– Use fans, even outdoors
– Plant some citronella in your backyard or use citronella candles
– Cover up with long sleeves and pants
– Use bug repellents with DEET
– Have a well maintained yard, use natural options like plants to deter them so that humans and mosquitoes can coexist and provide sustenance to the animals that rely on them.
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