The mosquito: whatever you want to know
How many eggs does a female mosquito lay? How long do mosquitoes live? Why is the mosquito buzzing? Why do they suck blood? Why do those bumps itch anyway? What should you pay attention to if you don’t want them near you? What do water, frogs, fish, grubs and sweaty feet have to do with mosquitoes? Lots of questions, here are the answers.
The European mosquito
Everything that lives on this globe has its use in one way or another. People understand that about plants, trees and flowers. You can eat it, season your dishes with it or make medicines with it. Or put it in a vase and enjoy it. People also understand the use of animals: you can ride them, let them keep your grass short, they provide dairy and meat. Some become your friend and you can pet. A number of animals clean up nature such as the vulture and even an insect like the ant cleans up. But mosquitoes! You only expect trouble from that. That even mosquitoes are useful was also new to me.
The usefulness of the mosquito
A female mosquito only needs to mate once in her life, the spermatozoa she receives from the male, she stores in her lower body until she needs them to fertilize her eggs. She lays the eggs in a water-rich place and then leaves them there. The mosquito larvae go through a number of stages and when they hang on the surface of the water, the frogs strike. The mosquito, or at least the larva, is useful as food for frogs, but also for fish. The mosquito larva is also useful by filtering single-celled algae and animals from the water surface. As it turns out, an area like the Everglades in Florida couldn’t exist without mosquitoes.
Who, what and why
Mosquitoes fledge about two weeks after fertilization. Male mosquitoes have a short life and will only fertilize the females. The male feeds on plant juices such as nectar. The female mosquitoes are the ones that need blood to mature the eggs. Mosquitoes can only absorb blood by piercing the skin and not by drinking from a bowl like a cat. The spit they leave behind causes the allergic reaction such as itching and a bump.
Hard to whack
You wonder why that mosquito always just flies away when you are very close and then want to swat quickly. That fast, that’s what it does for him. The mosquito has two long hind legs that stick back when resting. The purpose this serves is that she does not see the oncoming enemy coming, but can feel the air vortex with those long hind legs. And then she is of course quickly gone. Maybe that’s why mosquitoes don’t like wind, because then they don’t feel that enemy coming.
What are they coming to
Leftover water in the vicinity can cause the females to lay their eggs there. Therefore, pay close attention to everything that can contain water. A drain in the garden, the drip tray under a planter, a gutter and even an abandoned soda can with rainwater can become a breeding ground. Especially since the natural enemy of the mosquito, the fish and the frog does not live there. A mosquito can detect prey up to thirty meters away. They rely on carbon dioxide that we as humans exhale and on a number of fragrances, including sweaty feet. Mosquitoes hardly ever travel further than a hundred meters from their hometown. And if a lot of females are born, right in you, left behind inadvertently, you can store a little water. Female mosquitoes lay eggs every 3-4 days during their lifetime. When you consider that each mosquito can live for about two weeks and each time it takes in blood, it lays a few hundred eggs. That is to say, a few hundred eggs per mosquito bite and then you don’t know anything about the mosquito bites that the mosquito may have left with the neighbors. Then there are quite a few eggs that the busy female can lay and which all become mosquitoes, without their natural enemies, the frog and the fish nearby. Before you know it, you have an epidemic.
Devices to combat mosquitoes are not always effective. Ultrasonic sounds that would come from one of those devices that you plug into a wall socket are a waste of money, so it does not work. Because a female mosquito chases her nose for prey. The male mosquito, which does not bite, does go off on its ears at night so that it can find the loudly humming female to mate with her. The different types of mosquitoes all buzz slightly differently, as the male can detect a female of the same species.
Odor control and smoke
The appliance in the socket that emits an odor and citronella will work, but only for a short period of time. Boswellia is also an idea, but more for when you are in the garden or on the balcony. Holding your breath all night so that you don’t emit carbon dioxide is obviously not an option.
Mosquito net or wind
What remains is to prevent the mosquitoes from entering by installing insect screens. Or make sure they can’t get to your bed by hanging a mosquito net. Another way is to lie down on the draft or buy a fan, because mosquitoes don’t like wind.
Lubricate with a DEET product
And otherwise you can buy a product and smear or spray it on your body. The most effective means is the one that contains DEET as it blocks the mosquito’s sense of smell. Products with a concentration of 50% DEET are effective for up to ten hours. Higher concentrations can be dangerous to health, DEET irritates the mucous membranes and can cause problems in people with respiratory problems.
Alternative to DEET
There are also products with PMD or Mosi-guard for sale, these are an alternative to DEET products. When these products have concentrations of 20 to 30%, they provide approximately four to six hours of protection.
There are a number of scientists who believe that the mosquito is of no use. According to them, nothing or no one will miss the mosquitoes when they disappear. Opinions are divided, just think of the Everglades in Florida. Whatever the answer to this question, we humans certainly wouldn’t miss the mosquito when it disappeared.