Mosquitoes are experts at sucking blood. They’ve been doing it for 46 million years (and their great-grandparents started 210 million years ago). But why do they make us itch? It’s their dead giveaway!
When a mosquito bites you, it not only takes your blood but injects an anticoagulant—along with some of its saliva—into your skin. The anticoagulant discourages your blood from clotting, letting the mosquito get as much blood as possible, undetected. Your body recognizes the anticoagulant and the saliva as a foreign substance and sends your immune system to fight the intruder. Your body’s histamines are what trigger the swelling and itching.
Each human’s immune system is different, so each person reacts to this chemical intrusion slightly differently. According to the Mayo Clinic, bites can take many forms: they can be puffy, white and reddish; hard bumps; small blisters; or dark spots like bruises, all appearing within minutes or days after being bitten. Some adults have no reaction, while a small number of adults will become increasingly sensitive to this reaction as they get older. While mosquito bites at home might not bother you, if you travel to a region where a different mosquito is prevalent, you might notice more of a reaction. Your body’s histamine reaction is similar to getting pollen in your eyes: some people itch and swell more than others.
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite?
Female mosquitoes need protein and iron to lay their eggs, and since they’re laying 50 to 100 eggs every three days, those mama mosquitoes need lots of meals. A female mosquito in a hospitable environment can live up to a month. That’s a lot of eggs. Mosquito eggs can survive in only about a half-inch of water, so if you are feeling the itch from your bites, take some time to try to prevent future mosquitoes by taking away those egg-laying areas.
You can reduce the number of egg-laying areas in the following ways:
- Get rid of standing water in your outdoor spaces, like in your child’s plastic toys, areas underneath downspouts, plant saucers, or dog bowls. Other areas may include tarps, gutters, and flat roofs.
- Keep your grass cut low, then remove leaves, firewood, and grass-clippings from your yard.
- Clean out gutters, making sure downspouts are adequately attached.
Check out our 7 T’s of mosquito control for more details.
6 Ways to Fight the Itch
To help relieve some itching, try some of these DIY tips. Keep in mind, at Mosquito Squad, we’re experts at killing and repelling mosquitoes. We’re not doctors or medical experts. If you have any concerns about a bite, please consult a medical professional.
DIY ways to relieve itching include:
- Applying mint toothpaste to create a cooling sensation and reduce swelling.
- Applying cold, damp green tea bags to help soothe the itch.
- Use peppermint essential oil as a bug bite soother and prevention spray.
- Use lavender essential oil for a relaxing aroma and balm for inflammatory skin conditions. (You can also mix 2 tablespoons baking soda and 25 drops oil, apply to skin and leave for 20-30 minutes for extra relief.)
- Ice cubes are a time-tested relief from itching and swelling. But why? The cold takes priority in your brain, so your cells switch from “I’m itchy!” to “I’m cold!” Only apply the ice for a few minutes at a time.
One last mosquito itch remedy may sound unusual, but it comes straight from the top: simply apply the inside of a banana peel onto the affected area and leave on for several minutes.
“This ancient Chinese remedy involves rubbing the inside of a banana peel directly on the affected bite area,” says Amy Lawhorne, Mosquito Squad Chief Operating Officer. “This is known to moisturize and neutralize the itching, and the sugars in the banana will assist in soothing the redness.”
Let Mosquito Squad stop the mosquito bite itch before it starts! Call (877) 332-2239 for your free estimate.