One of our least favorite guests at outdoor events is the pesky mosquito. Here are a few interesting facts about these irritating insects.
- The female mosquito is the only one that has mouth parts for piercing the skin. When piercing with her proboscis, she will stab two tubes into your skin. The first tube injects an enzyme that inhibits blood clotting. The second tube is used to suck blood into the mosquito’s body.
- Mosquitoes can smell your scent, especially the carbon dioxide you exhale, from 100 feet away. Limit your use of scented soaps and colognes while you’re outside. They also are fond of octenol, which is a chemical that is released in sweat.
- Mosquitoes are a reliable source of food for thousands of animals, including birds, bats, dragonflies and frogs.
- Mosquitoes require water to breed. Even a soda bottle cap turned upside down is large enough to breed many mosquito larvae. Get rid of or turn upside down things that can hold water, including old tires, cans, wheel barrows, bottles, etc. Repair your leaky pipes and outside faucets.
- Each year, mosquito-borne diseases cause millions of human deaths worldwide through malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, the West Nile virus and dengue fever.
- Bug zappers aren’t a good way to reduce the mosquito population because mosquitoes aren’t drawn to the fluorescent light they emit. They also kill some beneficial insects.
- It is a myth that Purple Martins are voracious mosquito eaters. Research shows that a Purple Martin would need to eat 14,000 mosquitoes each day to survive.
- Dryer sheets don’t make good mosquito repellents. DEET is the only effective repellent that blocks mosquitoes. An adult should apply the repellent to a child.
- Mosquitoes are more likely to choose a victim who is wearing darker colors. Long-sleeved shirts and pants will provide some protection.
- Mosquitoes have been around since the Jurassic period, making them approximately 210 million years old. Prevent them from breeding by removing standing water.
One option to consider is an outdoor misting system that uses pyrethrum, which is a botanical insecticide that is produced primarily in the flowers of Tanacetum cineraiaefolium, which is a species of the chrysanthemum plant family.
Unless you live in Antarctica, you’ll most likely see these uninvited guests while gardening, barbecuing or relaxing on your deck. Don’t let mosquitoes get the upper hand!
Source: David Maddox, Tuxedo Mosquito Control