542 Zika virus disease cases were reported in the US during 2017. In total, there have been 2,474 reported cases in the United States. Zika virus is a disease that is spread by a specific type of mosquito. Symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, muscle or joint pain, red eyes and headaches. There is no medication or vaccine for Zika virus. Mosquitoes are known to be a pesky insect. Yet many people are misinformed about mosquitoes and proper protection. In this post, you’ll learn the truth behind 8 popular mosquito myths. Do mosquitoes die after they bite? Read on to find out.
All Mosquitoes Bite Humans
This one is false. Not all mosquito’s species feed on people’s blood. And of the ones that do, only the females bite humans and other animals. Female mosquitoes need nutrients in blood to make eggs. Male mosquitoes only eat plant matter such as nectar in flowers
Drinking Alcohol Repels Mosquitoes
Whoever came up with this myth, likely just wanted to have a reason to enjoy a beer on a camping trip. But it is false. Studies show that drinking 350 ml of beer dramatically increases your chances of mosquitoes landing on you. The ethanol content in your blood is what attracts mosquitoes to you when you have been drinking. So instead of repelling mosquitoes, drinking alcohol does the open. It’s like putting an “open” sign on the front of your t-shirt for the neighborhood mosquitoes to come over for a feast.
Mosquitoes Mostly Bite People with Sweet Blood
This myth is what people say to explain why some people get excessively bit by mosquitoes and someone else standing in the same spot will not. In truth, the taste of a person’s blood has nothing to do with a mosquito biting you or not. What attracts mosquitoes is carbon dioxide from breath, heat from bodies and lactic acid. If you are outdoors exercising you are outputting more carbon dioxide from heavy breathing. Your body heat is also increasing. Both make you more attractive to mosquitoes. Everyone has different levels of lactic acid in their bodies. If you exercise a lot, chances are you have some lactic acid build up in your body. People with Type O blood are 2 times more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes compared to people that have a different blood type. This is likely due to the difference in lactic acid secretion.
Citronella, Bats, and Listerine Repel Mosquitoes
There are dozens of mosquito repellent ideas out there because people really hate mosquitoes and are willing to try just about anything to get rid of them.
All citronella candles do is mask the chemicals that humans secrete so that mosquitoes don’t land on them. Citronella does work in a small area such as an enclosed patio, or if there is no wind blowing. However, if a mosquito is close to you, it will smell the chemicals in your skin even if there is a candle burning nearby. In other words, citronella candles are only semi-effective.
Some people buy bat homes for their backyards hoping that bats will devour the mosquitoes in the area. Unfortunately, there would not be enough bats in your yard to make a big enough difference. Sure, the bats will eat some of the mosquitoes, but they also eat other things. And since mosquitoes are so numerous, even if a few become dinner each day, there are still many more out there to enjoy you as a snack.
Some people swear that spraying your body with Listerine will keep the bloodsucking pests away. This is just like the citronella candle idea. Listerine may mask the smell of your body somewhat. Listerine has eucalyptus-oil based ingredients in it which can repel mosquitoes. However, given the low eucalyptol content, it would not repel mosquitoes for long, even if applied directly to the skin. The only tried and true way for proper mosquito control is to hire a professional pest management company. They will use a pesticide to get rid of mosquito larvae and adult mosquitoes. Reynolds Pest Management can create a perimeter around your yard to prevent mosquitoes from entering your space.
Any Repellent Will Work
Retail stores are crowded with dozens of mosquito repellent sprays. All have clever marketing to convince you to buy one product over another. The truth is that not all repellents are created the same. The bug sprays that have been proven to be most effective are ones that use diethyltoluamide (DEET). You can check the Environmental Protection Agency online tool to find a repellent that will protect you against mosquitoes and other insects such as ticks.
It Doesn’t Matter What Clothes You Wear
False. Mosquitoes are not color-blind. They are attracted to the colors of their usual prey which are large, dark mammals like cows and horses. Your best bet is to wear light-colored clothing. Also, choose loose-fitting clothes which will make it difficult for the bloodsuckers to reach your skin.
Pregnancy Hormones Make you a Mosquito Magnet
There are a lot of anecdotal stories where women say that they get bitten by mosquitoes much more when they are pregnant compared to when they are not. Likely, this has to do more with the amount of carbon dioxide they are breathing out than hormones. Pregnant women take more breaths because they need to pump more blood through their bodies. The more breaths you take, the more carbon dioxide you exhale. Some mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika virus can be passed to the fetus. That is why pregnant women need to take precautions against mosquitoes.
Do Mosquitoes Die After They Bite?
Some insects, like bees, die after stinging a person. Mosquitoes do not. A mosquito will likely bite you once, go lay eggs and then come back for more blood. If a mosquito avoids being slapped to death it can live up to 3 weeks. During her lifetime, a mosquito can lay up to 5 batches of more than 100 eggs each. Mosquito bites are itchy because we have an allergic reaction to the saliva from the mosquito. The mosquito does not leave a stinger or any other debris behind in our skin.
We hope you have found the answers to questions such as do mosquitoes die after they bite helpful and informative. Now that you can separate fact from myth, you can know properly protect yourself against illnesses carried by mosquitoes. Mosquito misting offers a long-term solution for problems with mosquitoes. Contact us for a free estimate.