Mosquitoes, the insects that are hated all over the world. These pesky, disease-carrying pests make a living by sucking the blood out of just about anything that moves, especially us! But here are some interesting facts about the mosquito.
- Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on Earth.
That’s right, more deaths are associated with mosquitoes than any other animal on the planet. Mosquitoes may carry any number of deadly diseases, including malaria, West Nile Virus, dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis. Mosquitoes also carry heartworm, which can be lethal to your dog.
- Only female mosquitoes bite humans and animals; males feed on flower nectar.
Mosquitoes mean nothing personal when they take your blood. Female mosquitoes need protein for their eggs, and must take a blood meal in order to reproduce. Since males don’t bear the burden of producing young, they’ll avoid you completely and head for the flowers instead. And when not trying to produce eggs, females are happy to stick to nectar, too.
- Mosquitoes fly at speeds between 1 and 1.5 miles per hour.
That might sound fast, but in the insect world, mosquitoes are actually rather slow. If a race were held between all the flying insects, nearly every other contestant would beat the pesky mosquito. Butterflies, locusts, and honey bees would all finish well ahead of them.
- A mosquito’s wings beat 300-600 times per second.
This would explain that irritating buzzing sound you hear just before a mosquito lands on you and bites.
- All mosquitoes require water to breed. Some species can breed in puddles left after a rainstorm.
Just a few inches of water is all it takes for a female to deposit her eggs. Tiny mosquito larva develop quickly in bird baths, roof gutters, and old tires dumped in vacant lots. If you want to keep mosquitoes under control around your home, you need to be vigilant about dumping any standing water every few days.
- An adult mosquito may live 5-6 months.
Few probably make it that long, given our tendency to slap them silly when they land on us. But in the right circumstances, an adult mosquito has quite a long life expectancy, as bugs go.
- Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide from 75 feet away.
Carbon dioxide, which humans and other animals produce, is the key signal to mosquitoes that a potential blood meal is near. They’ve developed a keen sensitivity to CO2 in the air. Once a female senses CO2 in the vicinity, she flies back and forth through the CO2 plume until she locates her victim.