15 Mosquito Facts You Likely Didn’t Know
Mosquitoes. We’d like to say we love to hate them, but we just hate them. After all, what is there to like? Between their incessant buzzing and the itchy, welted bites they leave behind, mosquitoes have secured a spot as one of the most despised summertime pests.
While we’d like to look forward to spending time outdoors during the beautiful days of summer in the Carolinas, it’s hard to with pesky mosquitoes buzzing around! (Although we do have a few tips about DIY mosquito repellants you should try.)
When it comes to mosquitoes, you may think you know everything there is to know! However, this list of mosquito facts may just surprise you. Follow along below to learn 15 interesting (and likely unknown) facts about mosquitoes.
Are You Aware of These 15 Mosquito Facts?
1) Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals in the world.
Say what? That’s right, mosquitoes are in fact the deadliest animal in the world. On average, mosquitoes kill approximately 725,000 people per year. They are the main vector of malaria, which accounts for killing more than 600,000 people per year.
Mosquitoes are also known vectors of yellow fever, dengue and West Nile virus. Interestingly enough, out of the thousands of species of mosquitoes, only 60 of them are known to carry the West Nile virus. On this list of mosquito facts, this is likely the most alarming one!
2) There are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes.
The worst part? Mosquitoes are located all over the world. According to the American Mosquito Control Association, there are currently 176 species living in the United States.
3) Mosquitoes beat their wings between 300 and 600 times per second.
Male mosquitoes typically move their wings between 450 and 600 times per second and female mosquitoes can move their wings up to 1,000 times per second. While that may seem fast, it’s actually quite slow!
4) Mosquitoes are some of the slowest flying insects.
Despite the rapid movement of their wings, mosquitoes are some of the slowest flying insects. Mosquitoes move approximately one to one-and-a-half miles an hour—but it’s not due to their size. The average mosquito weighs around two milligrams, so it’s definitely not their weight that’s slowing them down!
Although they may be slow, their tiny bodies still seem to find us. Unfortunately, when it comes to mosquitoes, you can run but you can’t hide!
5) A mosquito can smell the carbon dioxide we exhale from up to 100 feet away.
So how do mosquitoes find us anyway? Carbon dioxide.
Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and are more likely to bite people who exhale more carbon dioxide—which is why they prefer adults over small children. Pregnant women are also at a greater risk of being bitten by a mosquito because they exhale a larger amount of carbon dioxide than normal.
This also explains why we frequently hear mosquitoes buzzing around our ears. Since we exhale carbon dioxide through our nose and mouth, mosquitoes are more attracted to our heads.
6) If you’ve ever been bitten by a mosquito, it was a female.
Male mosquitoes drink plant nectar—not blood. Female mosquitoes, on the other hand, require a hearty blood meal in order to reproduce. The hemoglobin in our blood is a necessity when it comes to female mosquitoes laying eggs.
7) Female mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs at a time.
Although females can lay up to 300 eggs at a time, they usually lay an average of 100 eggs at a time. Female mosquitoes can lay up to seven batches of eggs in a two month period, but only if they are able to survive long enough to do so (read: if they can avoid being smacked by an aggravated host).
8) Mosquitoes require water to breed.
Water is a necessary element in the mosquito life cycle and without it, mosquito eggs would not be able to hatch into larvae. Larval mosquitoes spend their first 10 days in water, feeding on microorganisms and organic matter in stagnant water.
This is why it’s so important to remove any sources of standing water from your home. Check in and around your home frequently for clogs or areas that are unable to properly drain. These may not only cause issues for your home, but also provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
9) Mosquitoes have preferences to scent and color.
Surprisingly enough, mosquitoes are picky little bloodsuckers. In fact, studies show that some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Our skin produces approximately 300 chemicals, and although scientists don’t know exactly which chemicals are most attractive to mosquitoes, the preference exists!
Mosquitoes have a preference in clothing color, too. In some studies, mosquitoes were more likely to bite a host wearing darker colored clothing. So, when all else fails, wear light-colored clothing to ward off mosquitoes.
10) Mosquitoes can live up to five or six months.
Although a mosquito’s life expectancy is quite high at five or six months, the average lifespan is only a few weeks. Males typically live shorter lives, lasting approximately 10 days. Females typically live much longer, around six to eight weeks—which we think is pretty unfair considering males aren’t the ones biting!
11) Mosquitos are confused by the smell of chocolate.
Studies have shown that certain minty, spicey or chocolatey scents confuse mosquitoes. Since these scents are strong, they tend to disguise the carbon dioxide we emit. If that isn’t more reason to eat chocolate, we don’t know what is!
12) The saliva from a mosquito bite is what causes itching.
The bite from a mosquito isn’t what makes you itch. It’s actually the saliva the mosquito leaves behind that causes an allergic reaction! Once the mosquito begins to suck your blood, it inserts a drop of saliva that acts as a coagulate, allowing the mosquito to drink as much blood as possible.
13) Without a chemical signal, mosquitoes would continue drinking blood until they burst.
Mosquitoes have a chemical signal that alerts them when it’s time to stop drinking blood. Without this signal, mosquitoes would quite literally drink until they burst. Sorry, no sympathies here!
14) Mosquitoes match the whine of the opposite sex to locate a mate.
Male mosquitoes will seek mates based on the frequency and pitch of a female’s wing beats. The male will then attract the female by matching his own whine to that of the female.
15) While mosquitoes can’t be eliminated, they can be controlled with the help of our experts!
Using our tested three-step approach, we’ll use our pest control expertise to let you enjoy the outdoors once again. When you need mosquito control, trust the team at Killingsworth to take care of pesky mosquitoes once and for all. We know all of the mosquito facts from A to Z, so we'll be able to treat mosquitoes around your home no problem!
Don't let mosquitos take over your yard! Schedule a pest control service today and let us do the work.
Content was originally published on May 21, 2015. Content was refreshed on July 12, 2019.