10 Fascinating Facts About Mosquitoes

 

 

10 Fascinating Facts About Mosquitoes

 

 

 


In one form or another, Mosquitoes have been around for 79 million years, and as far as we know, they've always been considered pesky little creatures. In recent years, they've been annoying us more than ever. Climate change has brought warmer conditions to much of the world, meaning mosquito season lasts longer. To help raise awareness  and to help educate the public, many charities around the world take part in World Mosquito Day. Each year, the day falls on August 20th. To do our part in educating the public, we've found 10 fascinating facts about the bugs!

 

 

1) Chocolate confuses them

Mosquitoes are attracted to people because of the carbon dioxide we exhale. However researchers have found that some scents can stun the bug's sensors, making it harder for them to find humans. Chocolate is one of the scents that can cause this confusion! Other smells include mint and some fruits.

 

2) Why they buzz in our ears

Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide from up to 100 feet away. As humans only exhale carbon dioxide through our noise and mouth, mosquitoes are naturally attracted to our heads.

 

3) The females are the ones to watch out for

It's only female mosquitoes that bite animals and feed on blood. Male mosquitoes meanwhile only buzz around flowers, feeding on the nectar.

 

4) Viruses make them hungrier

It's well known that mosquitoes have a strong thirst for blood, but research has found that this thirst gets even stronger when the dengue virus is within the mosquito. That's not all, the virus also activates genes within the bugs which causes their sense of smell to become stronger.

5)  Mosquitoes love dirty socks

When the malaria parasite infects a mosquito, they become hungrier for blood and feel the urge to feed more often. However mosquitoes also become more attracted to the smell of human sweat, as proven in an experiments using well-worn socks.

6) Mosquito spit is itchy

As a mosquito sucks up blood, it leaves behind a small drop of saliva. Unfortunately for humans, this triggers a natural immune response that results in histamines and terrible itching.

7) Not all carry the West Nile virus

There are thousands of different species of mosquito, however the deadly West Nile virus is only found in around 60 of them. The virus cycles between the Culex mosquito spcies and common urban birds such as robins, cardinals and sparrows.

8) Mosquitoes may have killed Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great,  once King of Macedonia is considered one of the most successful commanders in history. A paper published in 2003 suggests that a lone mosquito may have infected the King with the West Nile virus, leading to his death.

9) Light, but slow

A mosquito typically weights between 2 and 2.5 milligrams, which would suggest they could fly swiftly, but that's not the case. Mosquitoes usually fly at speeds between 1 and 1.5 miles per hour, meaning they are one of the slowest of all the flying insects.

10) Deadly

While tigers, sharks and snakes are considered dangerous, none of them compare to the mosquito. The insects are by far the most deadly animal on the planet due to the spreading of malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and encephalitis. A single malarial mosquito has the ability to infect more than 100 people in its lifetime and according to the World Health Organisation, malaria kills a child every 45 seconds in Africa.

Content provided by MNN