Mosquitoes are one of the most irritating parts of spring and summer seasons. Often being outdoors and enjoying warm weather gets interrupted by these little insects. And in some parts of the world mosquitoes even transmit several serious diseases, therefore we should avoid getting bit as much as possible. Although there are endless array of products which deter and kill these aggravating pests from mosquito fogger to bug spray, understanding mosquito biology and habits can also help us to keep them away and feel better if the mosquitoes have managed to bite us already..
Mosquito females bite, males don’t
Firstly, you need to understand that only mosquito females bite humans and other mammals. Males do not feed on blood, they survive feeding from the nectar of different flowers and plants. The reason behind this is that female mosquitoes need the blood in order to be able to reproduce and breed. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be possible for them, because they use the iron and protein found in the blood to make their eggs. Therefore, if we don’t let the mosquitoes feed off of our and our pet’s blood, they will breed less and their population will shrink.
Scents, sweat and CO2 are turn-ons for mosquitoes
Secondly, know that mosquitoes are highly attracted to the smell of our sweat and carbon dioxide that we breathe out when we exhale. In fact, they use these two things as markers for finding their next target. So, especially if we are exercising or doing any other physical activity, we have to take into consideration that afterward we will be a huge mosquito target. Not only will we be sweaty, but also, during and after physical activities our breathing increases, increasing the amount of carbon dioxide we breath out. Therefore, after physical activities we need to either take a shower immediately or we need to protect ourselves by using bug sprays or other mosquito repelling products, which will help to keep the insects away.
Rain and wind can be your best friend when battling mosquitoes
Another mosquito trait which can help us to avoid their presence in our backyards and around our houses is that mosquitoes don’t like wind and rain. If it’s raining or very windy outside, you won’t see a lot of mosquitoes flying around. And although these weather conditions are completely independent of us there are ways how you can recreate them to help you lessen the amount of mosquitoes that reside in your space. You can artificially create rain by using sprinklers or different misting systems, which will create walls of moisture that will keep mosquitoes from entering your territory. And the wind can be created by using fans. Place them near sitting areas or in the space where you will be hanging out the most and the number of mosquitoes flying around should decrease drastically.
Why mosquito bites itch and how to help the itch
We all know what happens after a mosquito bites us. The spot gets read, swollen and itchy. But why is that? Well the cause for this is mosquito saliva. Mosquitoes use their saliva to numb the place they bite us, to expand our blood vessels for a quicker meal and to prevent our blood from clotting up while they feed. But since this saliva contains different proteins, they tend to kick our immune system into high gear, which causes your body to produce antibodies and react to the saliva by causing swelling and itching. So, while the saliva helps mosquitoes, it causes allergy-like reaction in our bodies. How does knowing this helps us? Well, by knowing why the bites itch you also can figure out how to sooth the unpleasant feeling. Starching will only make it worse, so the best course of treatment is using something that will help this inflammatory reaction, like a steroid cream or cooling essential oils.
Say yes to yellow light
Lastly, mosquitoes are also highly attracted to light. When the sun sets they will accumulate in large swarms near any lit light source. This is because mosquitoes and other insects for that matter use moonlight as their navigator during the nighttime. But, since artificial lights often are brighter than the moon, they mistake them for this natural satellite and fly towards the lamps instead the moonlight. You can use this knowledge to make sure that mosquitoes don’t come inside your home or don’t bother you during your outdoors party. Of course, I am not saying that you need to turn off all the lights, but you can exchange your blue toned bulbs for yellow ones, since mosquitoes are more found of blue-tinged or true white light than of yellow illumination. This will let you have spend time outdoors with less mosquitoes around and less insect bites at the end of the night.
There are many biological reasons why mosquitoes are more found of our backyards and homes than an unpopulated meadow for example, and why they need to bite us. And, since mosquito bites are extremely irritating and can even be dangerous to our health, we want to avoid them as much as possible. Therefore, knowing the above mentioned facts about these pests can help us to better understand mosquitoes and to better understand how we can avoid them and fight them.
Bio: Karen Thompson is the main editor for InsectCop.net, a blog which details all the best ways how to control mosquitoes, so mosquitoes don’t bother you ever again.