They fly around, suck your blood and seem to have no other purpose. Vampires? No, our topic for today is mosquitoes. The best way to understand mosquitoes is to understand why they choose to bite us. According to an article by ABC News, these flying insects are attracted to five things that easily make any human a magnet for mosquitoes. Carbon Dioxide, heat, your clothes, beer, and exhaled chemicals are five of the reasons why mosquitoes choose to bite you while you are either enjoying your backyard BBQ or a nice fishing trip on your favorite lake. Mosquitoes hone in on their victims by following their output of carbon dioxide and the heat radiating off of your body is how they figure out where to bite you. In addition to those five things, there is also evidence that one blood type (O) attracts mosquitoes more than others (A or B). It is important to note that females are the only mosquitoes that suck blood, which they use to obtain protein and iron to make their eggs.
Most mosquitoes are just irritating because of the large red and itchy bumps they leave on your skin after honing in on you. The irritation that you feel from mosquito bites is caused by their saliva which contains various enzymes and proteins that affect the body’s clotting ability. The red bumps appear because of humans’ allergic reaction to these enzymes and proteins. However, there are mosquitoes that can transmit diseases.
These diseases include: malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, filariasis, tularemia, dirofilariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Ross River fever, Barmah Forest fever, La Crosse encephalitis, and Zika fever. The only viruses in this list that have vaccines are Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever. The most common mosquito-borne viruses in the United States are the West Nile virus and La Crosse encephalitis.
Keep in mind that majority of mosquitoes are found in areas of high humidity, which is why you see them mainly during the summer months. For obvious reasons, you would not want a mosquito to bite you. According to the CDC, mosquito bites can be prevented by using insect repellent, covering up and being sure to keep mosquitoes outside. If you choose to use insect repellent be sure that they contain at least one of these active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), Para-menthane-diol (PMD) and 2-undecanone. To cover up, opt to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Also, if you are able invest in a mosquito net to go over your bed. The best indoor mosquito solutions are ultrasonic repellers, camphor oil, Tulsi, dry ice, garlic, mosquito traps, peppermint, tea tree oil, coffee grounds, and mosquito repellent plants. To prevent mosquitoes from entering your home in the first place be sure to patch up gaps in your window screens and doors and invest in door strips to keep them out.