The word “mosquito” originates from the Spanish for “little fly.” And indeed, the mosquito is the unmannered first cousin to the common house fly. Houseflies buzz around and are a nuisance, but aren’t as annoying as the mosquito, who was never taught that sucking someone’s blood is definitely in bad taste.
We have all the types that spread malaria (Anopheles), encephalitis (Culex), yellow fever, and dengue (Aedes aegypti). The good news is that there are only occasional cases of these maladies. For the most part, the worst thing about mosquitoes is that burning, itchy bump that erupts after the bite and the fact that mosquito bites transmit heartworm to our dogs. The good news is that only half of the mosquito population needs our blood. Weighing only 1/25,000 of an ounce, the female mosquito can land on the skin without any tactile response from our brains.
The bad news is that the whole process from egg-larvae-pupae-adult mosquito can take as little as a week–seven measly days. The good news is that mosquitoes need water to breed and grow, and that’s where you can drastically reduce the problem in your home.
Cycle Interrupts. After the female finishes pumping your blood, she will probably go to several more feedings. The adult mosquito lives an average of 2 to 3 weeks, but during this time, she is a busy fly, sucking many varieties of blood and laying hundreds of eggs.
Once her eggs are laid in the water, they can remain unhatched for several months or hatch in one or two days. When the eggs hatch, they are bambino larva feeding and growing in the water. And it doesn’t take much water. A pint of water in a Coke can left on the porch can hatch as many as five hundred larva.
When the children reach adolescence, they transcend into a pupa state in which they do not feed but just wait for adulthood. Reaching adulthood, the adult mosquito lifts off the water’s surface, checks to make sure her blanket is pink, and then, comes buzzing in your direction.
That is, until the sucking begins. Like many insects, including ticks and fleas, mosquitoes hunt for hosts by sensing carbon dioxide emissions from our bodies. They are also particularly fond of moist heat around the victim. Unlike ticks and fleas, mosquitoes do seem to differentiate between victims’ blood chemistry, preferring one person’s blood to another. Not all mosquito species prefer humans at all. Some only attack birds, frogs, deer, or other mammals.
The male mosquito can get along just fine slurping nectar, but the female has to feed on blood in order to lay eggs. First, she punctures the skin with her proboscis which has six elongated probes or rigid tubes. Four of these tubes cut the skin. Then she inserts the other two like a straw in a milkshake and starts to slurp. Her saliva acts as an anticoagulant and keeps the blood from clotting. It is her saliva that begins the body’s allergic reaction and you know the rest. Itch and claw. Claw and itch. After satisfying her brood’s desires, the female mosquito flies off to lay her eggs in water. She won’t go very far to do this either. The hunting grounds of many species is probably only a hundred or two hundred feet from where the mosquito begins its life cycle. So one of the best first lines of defense is to interrupt the mosquito’s life cycle by vigilantly searching out and removing all sources of sitting water around the home.
Alternative Ways to Protect Your Home
The most important step in protecting your home is fixing or replacing broken window screens. If they can’t get in, they can’t buzz and bite.
Protecting Your Body
Your body is your temple. One of the best ways to protect the temple is to cover it. Wear long sleeve shirts, pants, and a hat to cover exposed skin. Tuck in your shirt. Mosquitoes are good, but they’re not good enough to bite through cotton. Another way to protect the temple is to–pardon me–make it stink. Stink to high heaven. Make the body emit odors that repel mosquitoes.
Entomologist , recommends saturating your body with B-1 vitamins.
Eat plenty of garlic in foods or take garlic pills. Not only good for your health, but noxious to insects. Rub some apple cider vinegar on exposed skin to keep away pests.