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MOSQUITO

BACKGROUND | <BIOLOGY | PREVENTION

 MosquitoMosquito Biting

BACKGROUND:

  • Purple martins and bats are thought to eat a significant amount of mosquitoes, when in actuality, mosquitoes comprise a minimal part of their diet.
  • Electric bug zappers are not an effective form of mosquito control. Researchers indicate that less than 1% of the insects zapped by these devices are mosquitoes.
  • Citrosa plants are thought to naturally repel mosquitoes. While citronella oil does have this effect, the citrosa plant does not.
  • Listerine, lemon dish soap and fabric softener sheets are not effective mosquito repellents.  Eating garlic or taking B1 will not prevent mosquitoes from biting people either.
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends mosquito repellents that contain the following EPA-registered active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, PMD or IR3535.
  • When considering the use of a repellent on children, make sure the repellent is appropriate. Most repellents cannot be used on children less than 2 months of age.
  • Remember to always follow the label directions when using mosquito repellents.
  • Around the world, mosquitoes are known to transmit a variety of diseases such as: Malaria, West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever.
  • In 2008, there were 247 million cases of Malaria and nearly one million deaths – the majority of these being children living in Africa. In Africa, a child dies every 45 seconds of Malaria!
  • Florida has an extensive mosquito disease surveillance program. This program involves the monitoring of mosquito pools, wild birds and equine cases, as well as using sentinel chickens to detect disease activity.
  • Around people, pets and livestock, mosquitoes are a menace! In natural systems though, mosquitoes are food for many creatures and help filter particles from water by their feeding.
  • Lovebugs were not the result of a mosquito control experiment gone awry. Lovebugs naturally migrated from Central America. They can be found throughout the Gulf states and even in parts of Georgia and South Carolina.  

BIOLOGY:

  • Mosquitoes are classified in the order Diptera (two wings).  House flies, gnats and deer flies are also members of this classification.
  • Mosquitoes undergo a complete metamorphosis: Egg, aquatic larva, aquatic pupa and adult. Mosquitoes require water to complete their lifecycle.
  • Both male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar. In addition, female mosquitoes feed on blood (to help with egg development).
  • Female mosquitoes inject saliva when they feed. The body’s reaction to proteins in the saliva causes the itchy welt characteristic of a mosquito bite.
  • Disease organisms are transferrable if they can survive in the mosquito’s saliva glands. HIV cannot survive in the body of a mosquito, therefore it is not transferrable to people by mosquitoes.

PREVENTION:

  • To prevent mosquito bites, wear protective clothing such as long pants and long sleeve shirts when outdoors and use insect repellents properly.
  • Avoid being outside during peak mosquito feeding times (dusk and dawn).
  • To keep mosquitoes out of your home, check your door and window screens and repair any holes or tears.
  • Eliminate standing water breeding sites. Water buckets, water troughs, pet water bowls, wading pools, birdbaths, wheelbarrows, clogged roof gutters, discarded tires, plastic containers or any other water-holding container should be cleaned or emptied at least once a week.
  • Keep swimming pools clean and chlorinated. Ornamental ponds should be stocked with predacious fish.

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