Little known mosquito facts:

  • Only female mosquitoes 'bite'. Female mosquitoes need proteins that are found within blood for proper egg development.
  • There are about 2,500 species of mosquitoes worldwide, about 180 in the United States and 16 known species in the Benton County Mosquito Control District.
  • Light Weights: Many mosquito species only weigh about 2.5 milligrams. It would take about 180,000 mosquitoes to equal a pound. (Some species of mosquitoes can weigh as much as 10 mg)
  • A mosquito (female) only takes about 5 millionths of a gallon of blood per 'bite.' At this rate it would take over 750,000 bites to make a gallon of blood.
  • They may not be fast, but they are persistent. Mosquitoes fly at a speed of 1 to 1.5 miles per hour.
  • Mosquitoes feed on plant juices and/or nectar. Blood is taken (only by females) for proper egg development.
  • Mosquitoes don't bite and suck so much as they poke and pump. The female mosquito has highly specialized mouthparts composed of 6 stylets. All the stylets pierce the skin, then 4 of the stylets serrate capillaries, 1 stylet injects an anticoagulant and the last stylet acts like a trough for the blood to be drawn into the mosquito by a pump located in teh head of the mosquito.
  • But what about broccoli? Even though most mosquitoes have certain animals that they prefer to feed upon, when blood is needed they are not very discriminate. Mosquitoes can feed on mammals, birds and some species even feed on reptiles.
  • No more for me please, I'm full! Mosquitoes have stretch receptors in the abdomen that let a female mosquito know when to stop taking blood.
  • For the purpose of mating, male mosquitoes are attracted to female mosquitoes by the whine of the females' wings.
  • The 'cattail' mosquito larva has a specialized abdomen that allows it to attach to cattails, or other plants, and breathe air through the stalk of the plant. This lessens the chance of predation or detection since the larvae do not need to go to the surface to breathe.
  • Mosquitoes lay their eggs in different ways. Some species lay eggs as rafts that float on the surface of the water. Some lay their eggs singly on the surface with small floats on each side. And some lay their eggs in moist soil or on the side of a container in expectation that rising water will cover the eggs so they can hatch.
  • Mosquitoes that lay their eggs in rafts can lay as many 250 eggs at one time. But even a raft of 250 eggs is still quite small, measuring about 1/4 inch by 1/8 inch.
  • Dark, vivid or contrasting clothing can be more visually stimulating to mosquitoes and therefore more attractive. Wearing more muted colors may help in reducing mosquitoes picking you out of a crowd.
  • The long-range attractant for female mosquitoes is carbon dioxide. As we (or other animals) breathe the carbon dioxide is picked up by wind currents, which the mosquito can detect. It will then follow the trail of CO2 until it gets close to its victim, at which point other indicators will be used to bite the person or animal.
  • Mosquitoes have adapted to almost every environment. They are found on all the continents, except for Antarctica, and can be found in mountains, marshes, tundra, deserts, mines, jungles, forests and many more places.
  • Up close and personal? After mosquitoes have used carbon dioxide to get close to a bloodmeal, other indicators are used to actually pick out a victim. These include lactic acid, body heat, natural skin oils, body scent and more. This is why some people are bothered by mosquitoes more than others.
  • Why the itchy bump? When a female mosquito 'bites' you, she injects an anticoagulant (found in her saliva) to keep the blood moving. Your body reacts to a protein found in the saliva.
  • Many factors are involved in determining how you will react to a mosquito bite, but everyone does have a reaction. Some people who have skin sensitivity or are prone to allergic reactions may react more to a mosquito bite more than others. Individuals that have been bitten many times over the years, generally react less to the bites, due to the body 'getting use' to the allergic protein.
  • Malaria (a mosquito-borne illness) affects 300 to 500 million people every year and kills 1 to 3 million.
  • The chrysanthemum flower is used to produce a derivative called pyrethrum, which is used in some adult mosquito control products (fogging).
  • Do mosquitoes migrate? It depends upon the species; some stay within a few hundred feet of where they hatched while many will readily travel 1 to 7 miles. And in more rare situations, mosquitoes have been tracked at distances up to 100 miles away from the site where they hatched.
  • In 1793, Philadelphia experienced a dreadful mosquito-borne yellow fever epidemic killing 5,500 out of the population of 55,000. At its worst, the death rate exceeded 100 hundred a day.
  • In 1802, Napoleon lost 23,000 out of 29,000 men to mosquito-borne yellow fever in Haiti. Foreign armies would provide a source, without any natural immunity built up, for viruses so that epidemics could arise quickly and have devastating effects. This in part paved the way for the Louisiana Purchase.
  • Mosquito Control Districts (MCDs) are different than private organizations that control mosquitoes. MCDs in Washington get their guidance and authority from the Revised Code of Washington 17:28, which was passed in 1957.
  • Under ideal conditions, mosquitoes can go from egg to adult in as little as 4 days. But the cycle is dependent upon many factors and usually takes 7-14 days.
  • In 1951, Australia introduced the disease myxomatosis (a mosquito-borne virus) to control rabbits that were overrunning sheep herding land. In some areas, 99% of the rabbits were eliminated.
  • All mosquitoes bite. Not true. Only females take blood (and sometimes they don't even need blood) and there is one species of mosquito that never takes blood (Toxorhynchites). But most female mosquitoes need a 'blood meal' to acquire nutrients that are used for egg development