Mosquitoes bite humans to suck their blood. The nutrients in the blood help the females to produce the eggs they need to ensure the reproduction of the species.
Only females bite. And, despite their smallness, they have a powerful stinger that manages to penetrate the skin and absorb blood.
This kind of nutritional communion would not be problematic if mosquitoes did not transmit diseases that, in many cases, can be deadly.
Mosquitoes, insects with two wings and six legs, only use blood to develop and protect their eggs, but their diet, female and male, is based on nectar and sugar, according to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA). There are 3,000 species, of which 176 live in the United States. The last new classified was discovered in the Florida Keys in 2001.
They are hideous under the microscope, and imperceptible in presence until their annoying buzz is heard. Although their bites are not harmful in themselves, mosquitoes are vectors of diseases such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya, malaria and the Nile virus.
They have lived with the human species for millennia, and they are the insects that cause the most bites.
The mosquito bite causes a small welt that can trigger an allergic reaction. Some people don’t even feel it, while others really suffer from it.
How many people are affected by mosquito bites annually is unknown, as most are not reported. A recent study by the American Association of Poison Control Centers counted only 252 registered cases for presenting various complications.
What is known is that mosquito-borne diseases have a huge burden of disease, infecting 700 million and causing one million deaths each year.
Mosquito saliva contains hundreds of nutrients, many of them still unknown. But those that have been classified have a powerful effect on the human immune system.
If it happens to you frequently, and you feel like a magnet for these insects, scientists have found incredible reasons from your metabolism, your body chemistry, and your alcohol habits, that would explain this fatal attraction.
Mosquitoes use different “clues” to locate their victim, including the carbon dioxide we breathe out, heat, and body odor.
The main victims of mosquitoes
If you have group O blood. Mosquitoes will inevitably fall in love with you. If you are A, B or AB, you will not live this romance in the same way. A Japanese study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that O blood is the most desired by little bloodsuckers.
If you are a beer drinker. Other research, highlighted by the National Library of Medicine, revealed that liquors, and especially beer, cause mosquitoes to “land” on the skin of drinkers, up to 10 times more than on those who do not drink.
If you have dirty feet. The scent of dirty and sweaty feet are irresistible to mosquitoes. This was verified by students from the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, who exposed their own dirty feet to mosquitoes. Dozens came over to nibble them, compared to just two or three when the feet were washed and smelled of soap.
If you are pregnant, or ovulating. Women ovulating, and pregnant women are twice as likely to suffer a sting. The theory developed by Dr. Steve Lindsay of Durham University is that women in sweet waiting have more surface area in their bellies and a warmer temperature, which attracts mosquitoes.
If you wear black or red. Scientists at Iowa State University ranked mosquito attractions with laboratory tests, and black clothing took first place. Curiously, these insects distinguish colors, and wearing black is being the perfect white, followed by red. Be careful blondes, because they are also his favorites.
When mosquitoes bite
Although they bother all day, mosquitoes are more nocturnal. And only females suck human blood, from which they extract proteins and iron that, as we said, allow their eggs to develop. It is incredible, but our welt at the end is a gesture of solidarity to guarantee the survival of the mosquito species.
The Virginia State Department of Health reports that mosquito activity increases 500 times when there is a full moon. And up to 250 at twilight and dawn.
Females live from 3 to 100 days, and males, 20. They detect their “perfect skin” up to 100 meters away. And yes, come in the dark.
How to fight mosquitoes
Spirals The most classic way, which our grandmothers used, was to light a spiral, which contains a mixture of potassium nitrate combined with other natural ingredients that scare away the mosquito … but do not kill it.
Repellents You have to have discipline and smear well exposed areas of the body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend those that have DEET, a super effective component: it is a perfect chemical barrier to stop the insect’s attack.
Eat garlic Scientists from the Department of Biology at the University of Colorado explain that garlic is a natural repellent against mosquitoes, apparently due to the component called allicin, which is released from the skin after eating this food. You won’t be able to kiss much, but you will be free of the stingers.
Have a bat. Yes … it is not the ideal pet, but having it in your garden guarantees a life free of mosquitoes. Bats are not very nice but they eat 3,000… yes, 3,000 insects, every night. So… you decide!
Eliminate standing water. Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs. Therefore, one of the main measures to eradicate them and control the population is to remove stagnant water, at the community level and at home.
Sources: scientific studies, CDC, AMCA, Pest World.