Mosquitoes. How Dangerous Are They?

Photo of Mosquito Getting Ready To Feed

Female Mosquito Ready To Feed
© Alvesgaspar/Creative Commons

A Mosquito can be a very serious health hazard. We would all like to feel there is an environmental value to all living things, but it’s hard to imagine there is any good thing about a mosquito. Maybe they provide a natural food supply for some birds. That’s about it. The world would be better off without these blood-sucking, disease-carrying pests.

Mosquitoes carry serious and life threatening diseases

People, pets and livestock cannot contend with the threat, sickness and potential death of victims caused by the mosquitoes’ thirst for sucking human and warm-blooded animals’ blood. Mosquitoes carry significantly serious diseases including West Nile Virus, Malaria and Encephalitis. Some scientists believe that one-half of all humans that have existed on
earth have died from Malaria.

It is true that Malaria and Yellow Fever are no longer occurring in the USA, but they are still prevalent in other countries. In this day of expanding travel, it is possible that a person can acquire a transmitted disease from a mosquito bite in another country and be bitten at home in America. West Nile Virus is still occurring in America creating significant fear.

Some authorities consider mosquitoes as the most dangerous animal on earth. It is estimated that over 2 million people die each year around the world from diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. That is a very serious concern which should motivate us to kill as many as possible.

West Nile Virus Report (2012)

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 693 cases of West Nile Virus across 43 states have been reported during a 7-month period January, 2012 through July, 2012. This includes 26 deaths. The first reported case of West Nile Virus in the US was in 1999. Since then, the number of recorded infection cases is about 13,000 of which 2000 have become seriously ill with more than 1,200 deaths. West Nile Virus cases are rising at an alarming rate. The states with the greatest number of cases are Texas, Louisiana. Oklahoma, California, Mississippi, and South Dakota. But today, everyone is at risk of West Nile Virus.

See the CDC Report on West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes Are Prolific Breeders

It is impossible to get rid of mosquitoes. They can only be controlled and we can all try and do our part to minimize them. There are over 3,700 species of mosquitoes around the world with under 100 of those species located in the United States. They are prolific breeders. In some species, a single mosquito can create thousands of new offspring in a matter of weeks. Depending upon the species, from egg to adult takes just a few weeks. The lifespan of a female adult can be months while a male mosquito sometimes only live a matter of days.

Habitat of A Mosquito

Mosquitoes lay eggs in water or heavy levels of moisture. They breed along edges of rivers, streams and ponds. Around your home, you will find them in stagnate water within old tires. clogged gutters, and buckets. Near water fountains, bird baths, fish ponds, children’s pools, swimming pool covers. overgrown landscape and any spot that harbors stagnant water.

Mosquito Diet. What Do They Eat and How?

Only the female mosquito seeks human and warm-animal blood. Both female and males do feed on the nectar of plants. but the female needs protein from blood to enable reproduction. They are attracted to body heat and can detect carbon dioxide which is emitted when we exhale. They have a keen sense of detecting body odor applying 27 types of receptors (out of 72 in their antennae) that detect chemicals found in perspiration. The receptors sniff-out blood detectors.

Most mosquito species feed during dawn, dusk or night although they will bite any time when disturbed. A mosquito actually does not bite, but instead pierces the skin with its “proboscis” which functions much like a microscopic “hypodermic needle” attached to its mouth. It injects saliva which acts as an anticoagulant to thin the blood before sucking it out.

It is through its saliva that a mosquito will transfer bacteria and viruses that it gets from another infected animal host. For example, it may feed on a bird that carries encephalitis. The encephalitis virus moves to a mosquitoes stomach where the virus multiplies before moving to its saliva glands waiting for transmission to a new human or warm animal host.

Related Mosquito Topics