MOSQUITOES: HOW LONG CAN ONE TERRORIZE US?
This world we live in is full of dangers. This is a scary fact that we all have to face; we worry about our kids’ safety when they have to go out to the world outside because no matter how much we want to protect them, they will always have to go out on their own to face their own challenges.
What exactly are the dangers that we and the members of our families face? One thing we have to look out for is the possibility of them getting quite a number of diseases. It is a cruel world, and we can never give too much protection for our children. When it comes to disease vectors, nothing beats the dreaded mosquitoes.
Believe it or not, these tiny, seemingly harmless mosquitoes are considered the most dangerous creatures on the planet. If you think that sharks, lions, poisonous spiders, bears, or crocodiles are the deadliest, think again. They pale in comparison to what the mosquitos have done. Mosquitoes have killed more humans than all the wars in history combined. They are still responsible for millions of deaths of people all over the world due to the various diseases they transmit.
How come they get to kill so many people in one year? Do they live very long lives to enable them to go around a lot? How long do mosquitoes live?
The lifespan of mosquitoes: How long do they live?
Mosquitoes seem to be around all year round, but they’re actually is a mosquito season. This is the time they are around the most, with their irritating buzz around our ears constantly harassing us, day and night. Each time they do, it seems like they live forever because they never stop terrorizing us. If you are curious as to how long mosquitoes live, let us take a look at their lifespan. Knowing their lifespan can arm you with the knowledge you will need to get rid of these mass murderers.
Female mosquitoes live far longer than their male counterparts. They are also the only ones who are capable of sucking blood because they have the necessary mouthparts to do so. Male mosquitoes live shorter lives and do not feed on blood. Instead, they feed on nectar.
The average female mosquito lifespan can live for 1 to 2 months; that is if they do not get swatted away and get to live their full lives. And that is if they are inside the house. Outside of it, they can live at a temperature of over 50 degrees F, but ideally at 80 degrees F.
Male mosquitoes live far shorter lives than the females; they live only up to 10 days.
It is nice to know that male mosquitoes have a very short life span. That is at least one less mosquito to worry about, right? Yes, and no. Male mosquitoes have never been our problem because they never bite humans to suck blood, so it does not really matter whether they live to just 5 days or 10 days. They are here only to mate with the female mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes go through several stages in their lives. They go through the egg stage, larval stage, a pupal stage, and finally the adult stage.
Female adult mosquitoes breed in standing water. After the female feeds on a blood meal, she would look for a suitable place, specifically stagnant water. Old puddles, old gutters, abandoned birdbaths, and old cans with water are among the places they look for. After finding the ideal place, the eggs will hatch in 2 days.
After the eggs hatch, they will enter the second stage: the larval stage. They need water to survive, that is why their mothers take great care to lay them where there is an abundant supply of it. After they emerge from the eggs, they rise above the surface of the water so they could breathe. They could only wiggle in the water and are not mobile. They will stay in the water for 4 to 14 days, during which time they will shed their skin 4 times. After the fourth time, they will enter the pupal stage.
The pupal stage is the third and last stage before they enter the adult stage. This will last about 2 days. At this stage, they are capable of moving by tumbling around the water using their tails. This is in order for them to seek protection and to respond to light changes. They do not feed and only spend their time resting in preparation for becoming adults. At this stage, they undergo a metamorphosis that is very much like that of a butterfly’s cocoon stage.
The mosquito would emerge from this shell as adults. It would then spend some time in the water to rest and give its body some time to mature some more and dry off so it can fly. The male mosquito would first find nectar to feed. After that, it will try to mate with as many females as possible to ensure the continuity of its species. After 10 days, the male would die.
Be wary of the female mosquitoes
Similar to the male mosquitoes, the female will spend some time resting in the water immediately after emerging as an adult. Once their bodies are hard enough and their wings dry, they will then search for food. Female adult mosquitoes also feed on nectar, similar to the male’s diet. The difference between the two is that the females will supplement their diet with blood. This is to provide protein for their eggs.
The female adult mosquitoes are equipped with mouthparts that can suck blood. This is called the proboscis. Males do not have this, that is why they are limited to just eating nectar. When the female mosquito set out to bite the skin, their labium rolls up to reveal needle-like parts that will pierce the skin of their hosts. There are six different needle-like mouthparts called stylets that they use to suck blood.
The first stylets are called maxillae. This contains tiny yet sharp teeth that can pierce the skin. After piercing, another set called mandibles that are used to hold the skin apart. Another set is called the labrum. It searches for a blood vessel to pierce through and get blood. After this, the last stylet goes to work. The hypopharynx stylet will inject saliva into the wound so the blood would not clot, and the mosquito can soon after go back to the bite site to feed some more. It also dilates the blood vessels to give more room for the blood to flow.
The female mosquito will mate with a male-only once. After mating, the female will store the sperm in her body so that she can continue to fertilize the eggs even without mating. All she will need is a blood meal, then she will be ready to give birth. Usually, the female mosquito can lay as many as a couple of hundreds of eggs whenever she gets to feast on blood.
After 2 months, she will die. But she would have laid enough eggs to continue the mosquito’s legacy of mass murdering.
Why are mosquitoes so deadly?
Why a need to exterminate mosquitoes? Mosquitoes are known to transmit deadly diseases to humans, resulting in millions of deaths each year. Here is a list of the deadly diseases that mosquitoes transmit:
- Dengue fever – Dengue fever is caused by 4 viruses. They are simply called Dengue virus 1, 2, 3, and 4. It is the leading cause of illnesses and deaths in tropical and subtropical countries, like the Philippines, Africa, Mexico, the Pacific Islands, Taiwan, and Central and South America. The estimated number of infection all throughout the world is 395 million to 400 million. Symptoms will begin to show in the patient after 3 to 6 days of infection. These symptoms include sudden high fever that lasts for 2 to 7 days, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, difficulty breathing, nausea, skin rash, black and tarry stools, bleeding nose or gums, and a tendency to bruise easily.
- West Nile Fever -The West Nile fever is the most common mosquito-borne disease here in the United States. Of those who are infected, only 20 percent show symptoms. These symptoms usually show after 3 days to two weeks of being bitten. Symptoms include mild fever, body aches, headaches, diarrhea, vision loss, numbness, body rashes, swollen lymph glands, muscle weakness, and paralysis. However, some people will show severe symptoms. This includes meningitis and permanent brain damage. When the central nervous system gets affected, the patient may die. The elderly and those with medical conditions are at higher risk of getting severe symptoms.
- Yellow fever – It is so named because of jaundice that appears in some of the patients. For most people who are affected, there are no symptoms. But for those with symptoms, they will have a fever, chills, severe headache, body pains, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Then a smaller percentage may have a more severe phase in a span of one day. Jaundice, high fever, dark urine, and abdominal pains will appear in more severe cases. There may be bleeding in the eyes, nose, mouth, and stomach. Death of the patient may occur after 7 to 10 days.
Stop the mosquitoes from further terrorizing each and every one of us. For mosquito infestation problems, call the local exterminators for killing mosquitoes and flying insects, Go-Forth Pest Control.