Mosquito Facts, Identification and Control
Scientific Order: Diptera (All true flies)
The Common House Mosquito or Northern House Mosquito (Culex pipiens)
The Southern House Mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus)
Size: Usually no larger than ⅛ of an inch
Color: Most varieties of mosquito are blackish-brown in coloring
Behavior and Diet
Mosquitoes traditionally live on plant nectar or honey when not producing eggs, but females need protein to create eggs and they get that from an all-too-familiar source: our blood (and that of other mammals).
Mosquitoes love warm, moist things. Since the skin's temperature is associated with the prevalence of blood vessels underneath the epidermis, we tend to get bitten more when we are hot and sweaty and our blood vessels are dilated.
So how does a mosquito detect the presence of blood? Actually, it is the smell of carbon dioxide exuded by all mammals that attracts mosquitoes. In fact, a mosquito's chemosensory system can sense the CO2 exuded by one human body up to 80 feet away!
The only place you can go in the world and not encounter a mosquito is Antarctica. Mosquitoes breed in tropical regions all year long but hibernate in the winter where seasons are more demarcated.
A single female mosquito can lay between 100 and 300 eggs at a time, and since the typical mosquito lifespan can go from as short as a week to as long as several months, that means she is capable of hatching thousands of eggs in her lifetime. Each egg hatches between 24 and 48 hours of being laid, which adds up to a lot of bugs.
Like other arthropods, mosquitoes exhibit a four-stage life cycle:
Eggs--must have access to some type of moisture
Larvae--tiny "wrigglers" that live in water and molt as they enlarge
Pupae ("tumblers")--the stage before larvae emerge as adult mosquitoes
Adult--the result of hardening of the exoskeleton and wing maturation following pupae growth.
Like all other insects (arthropods), mosquitoes have a head, thorax and abdomen containing specialized organelles for interpreting sensory information (the head), for locomotion (the thorax) and for egg development and digestion (the abdomen).
Attached to the thorax are the wings (an exoskeleton outgrowth of polysaccharides and proteins) and six legs.
There are three main variety of mosquito: aedes, anopheles, and culex. They are all similar in appearance but possess different behavioral characteristics.
Signs of Mosquito Infestation
Mosquitoes can thrive in a variety of habitats, but they mainly prefer sources of standing water since their eggs need that hydration to hatch. Prevent them from having a place to nest by removing any outdoor or indoor sources of standing water. Additionally, if you have a pond or similar non removable feature on your property, make sure to check regularly for any new batches of eggs so you can remove them prior to hatching.
Treatment and Prevention
The biggest danger when it comes to having mosquitoes plaguing your home or property is their distinct capabilities for spreading disease since their favorite food source is blood. Along with removing or treating areas of standing water on your property, we recommend heeding the following tips to best reduce the risk of yourself, your home, and your pets from contracting any mosquito-borne diseases.
Always apply insect repellent liberally to skin when venturing outdoors in hot, humid weather or in areas where mosquitoes are prevalent. Always put on sunscreen before applying insect repellant.
Spray insect repellents containing Permanone on clothing, tents and other outdoor gear to improve protection.
Turn over plastic swimming pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
Stock ornamental garden pools with fish to control mosquitos.
Remove trash, grass clippings and weeds from ditches, culverts and rains so that rainwater drains properly.