MOSQUITOES IN NORTH CAROLINA
They seem to be everywhere. Outdoors. Indoors, in abandoned bird baths, in old gutters, in ponds. There seems to be no escaping their dangerous intents. If only you could run away from them, but there is no escaping their presence. All you can do is pray for your safety, pray like there is no tomorrow. For millions of people every year though, there were actually no tomorrows.
These creatures are called the mosquitoes – tiny creatures that do not look much but are capable of transmitting dozens of deadly diseases. They are so deadly, in fact, that they have caused the deaths of more people than all the wars in history combined. Due to this, they have been dubbed as the “most dangerous creatures on earth”. To this day, they have caused the deaths of millions of people.
What is it in these tiny insects that make mosquitoes in North Carolina, or any mosquito for that matter, so dangerous? Inside their seemingly fragile bodies are pathogens that can cause deadly diseases. Dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, Zika virus, West Nile virus, and elephantiasis are among the diseases that they are known to carry and transmit.
All throughout the world, there are around 3,000 identified species of mosquitoes. Out of this number, only three of them are known to transmit diseases. Its Scientific name is Culicidae. Mosquitoes are classified as invertebrates. They are small, their size is only about .125 to .75 inch in length and is so lightweight at .000088 ounces. They have slim bodies, with jointed bodies. They are equipped with a pair of wings each. They have six legs, with prolonged mouthparts called proboscis, and antennae attached to their heads. They are one of the slowest flying insects and that makes them easy to swat; they fly at a speed of only 1.5 miles per hour. Since they are also very light, it is easy to disturb their flight patterns using an electric fan.
They transmit diseases by being bloodsuckers, but only the female adult mosquitoes have the necessary mouthparts that can suck blood. Their mouths have two tubes: one is for injecting enzymes that would prevent blood clotting, and the other is for sucking blood. We may, therefore, conclude that only the female adult mosquitoes can bite and transmit diseases. The male mosquitoes feed only on nectar. The blood meals are necessary for the females so that she can properly nourish her eggs before she lays them.
Mosquitoes only rely on the carbon dioxide emitted by humans or animals so that they could find them due to their poor eyesight. Aside from that, they also use scent to help them find a host.
There are three groups of mosquitoes: Culex mosquitoes, which carry filariasis, West Nile virus, and encephalitis; the Anopheles mosquitoes which carry malaria; and Aedes, which carry yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis.
Types of mosquitoes
Culex – The adult Culex mosquitoes measure about 4 mm to 10 mm. It has a blunt tip on its abdomen. It is also known as the common house mosquito. It typically gets its blood meal from birds more than in humans, it is not as dangerous to us as the 2 other mosquito groups which we would be discussing later. Still, they are known to transmit deadly diseases to humans. They live for 10 to 14 days. They usually bite during dawn or after dusk, and their bites are itchy and can be painful. They are weak fliers, so they can easily be blown away with an electric fan. The male adults feed only on nectar, while the females suck blood to nourish her eggs, aside from feeding on nectar as well.
Culex mosquitoes are known to spread diseases such as West Nile fever, encephalitis, and filariasis.
Anopheles – This group of mosquitoes is responsible for transmitting the disease called malaria, which is why they are known universally as “malaria mosquitoes”. Unlike the Culex mosquitoes which prefer birds, Anopheles prefer mammals, including humans. Its body is divided into three segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen. It has a dark brown to the black body. When at rest, its body points upward, rather than being even on the surface. This is unlike all the other mosquitoes. The adult female mosquito lives only from a few weeks to a month, during which time she will mate several times with male mosquitoes. She will begin laying eggs after she has had a blood meal. And even though she has a short lifespan, she would have been able to lay thousands of eggs before she dies. These eggs she would lay on the surface of standing water. These eggs would hatch after 3 days to 3 weeks, depending on the temperature of the surroundings. Other places they love to breed in are irrigated lands, small streams, slow-moving clean water, freshwater marshes, and ground pools.
There are actually 430 species of Anopheles mosquitoes, but only around 30 to 40 species are vectors of malaria. They are active mostly before dawn and after dark.
Aedes – They are the primary vectors for such diseases as the Zika virus, dengue, Chikungunya, and yellow fever. They have a narrow and usually black body. They have noticeable black and white markings on their bodies and legs. The females are further distinguished by the shape of its abdomen: it has a pointed tip. Another distinguishing feature of the female is its maxillary palps, which is shorter than the proboscis. They hold their bodies low and parallel to the ground. Their proboscis is pointed downward.
Aedes mosquitoes are active only during the daytime. They live in water. Female adults lay their eggs on moist surfaces close to water. Their eggs are black in color. Old tires, cans, pots, and birdbaths are ideal places for them to lay their eggs.
Mosquito life cycle
Mosquitoes undergo complete metamorphosis in their lifetime. The mosquitoes’ life cycle starts from being eggs, then onto the larvae stage, to pupae and finally the adult stage. Some species can live to as long as 5 to 6 months. For an insect, they live very long.
Female mosquitoes can lay 100 to 300 eggs at a time and can do so all throughout their lifetime. They find standing water to breed. The eggs hatch after 3 days to 3 weeks. After they hatch, they become larvae. Larvae move in a wiggling manner and do not resemble the adults at all. They feed on fungi at the surface of the water, lying parallel. They continue to grow while undergoing the 4 instars of this stage. After that, they turn into pupae. Pupae tumble through the water. At this stage, they do not eat, and instead just simply wait it out until they become adults. This stage lasts for 1 to 2 days.
How to get rid of mosquitoes in North Carolina
Mosquitoes transmit so many deadly diseases, so much so that they are considered the greatest killers of all mankind. It is just right that they are feared, yet we need to act quickly to make sure they are eradicated, or at least controlled.
Over the years, mosquitoes have developed resistance to pesticides. All is not lost, however, as there are still several ways to control them. Here are a few tips on how to get rid of mosquitoes.
- Mosquitoes thrive in standing water. Remove all old items that can hold water for a long time. Among these are old tires, old cans, old gutters, abandoned birdbaths, clay pots, flower vases, and other similar items. Empty and scrub water containers. Replace water in flower vases once in a while. Mosquitoes do not lay eggs on the water that has not been stagnant for about a week.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover as much skin as possible.
- When going outdoors, apply EPA-approved mosquito repellent on your skin. This will surely keep them away. Choose one with the active ingredient DEET for added protection. Other active ingredients you can check for include oil of lemon eucalyptus. IR3535, 2-undecanoate, and picaridin.
- Inside the bedroom, use a mosquito net to protect you from mosquitoes. Mosquitoes find their way inside bedrooms because they can sense carbon dioxide being emitted by a potential host like you. They also recognize the scent.
- Put screens on windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering your house.
- Electric fans can also work to protect you from mosquitoes because they are so lightweight and are clumsy fliers, so winds coming from an electric fan would definitely throw them off. You may also use air conditioning as much as possible.
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned pest exterminator company that has been in this business for more than 60 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.