What is the deadliest creature on the planet?
The Mosquito, according to the World Health Organization. Their ability to carry and spread disease to humans causes millions of deaths every year - in 2015 malaria alone caused 438,000 deaths.
How is Zika Virus spread?
Mosquito transmission (Aedes aegypti), while the primary method, is not the only way that Zika spreads, and researchers are learning more about the other routes of transmission, every day. After Brazil reported an alarming increase in a birth defect (microcephaly) that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads, researchers at the CDC conducted review of existing research and agreed that the evidence was conclusive - that the Zika virus causes a rare birth defect and other severe fetal abnormalities (04/13/2016). There have also been a number of reported cases of sexual transmission of Zika virus (from men to women and not vice versa) which according to World Health Director Margaret Chan "is more common than previously assumed."
Currently the World Health Organization estimate that between 3 million and 4 million infections will develop in the course of 2016.
How long have mosquitoes been around?
The way mosquito experts tell it, the bugs have been a plague on man since the beginning. In fact, mosquitoes were here before people, going back more than 200 million years. And in all that time, we still haven't found a way to rid ourselves of them or their annoying bites.
Why are mosquito populations increasing and becoming even more of a problem worldwide?
Thanks to global warming and climate change, there's been an increase in mosquito populations and mosquito-borne diseases across the globe.
How many mosquito species are there?
There are now over 3,500 mosquito species worldwide and approximately 175 of them in the U.S.
Do all mosquitoes bite?
Only female mosquitoes bite people. Both male and female feed mainly on fruit and plant nectar, but the female also needs the protein in blood to help her eggs develop. Once she's had her fill of blood, she'll rest a couple of days
before laying her eggs.
How do mosquitoes find their targets?
Mosquitoes can smell human breath. They have receptors on their antennae that detect the carbon dioxide released when we exhale. Those plumes of CO2 rise into the air, acting as trails that the mosquitoes follow to find the source.
Mosquitoes also use heat sensors around their mouth parts to detect the warmth of your body – actually, the blood inside it – then land on you and locate the best capillaries for tapping.
The Mosquito Bite Survival Guide
Just as different mosquito species carry different diseases, different species are active at different times as well which means you can be bitten at any time. While we probably never will be able to be kill every mosquito, we can learn how to deal with them to reduce their impact on our lives.
To protect yourself and prevent mosquito bites we recommend the following:
- Empty any freestanding water since it is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and pants when outdoors in mosquito prone areas.
- Use mosquito nets in outside areas.
- Use citronella candles or insect repellant.
- Use mosquito traps in outdoor areas.
With some DIY Mosquito Control in place, together with a little care when you venture outdoors you will come out a winner. In the rest of our Mosquito FAQ section we delve more fully into the subject of mosquitoes and their quest for human blood.