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Why don’t we know a mosquito is biting us until after it’s done?

A mosquito bite is miserable to experience and can often ruin an outdoor occasion in just a few bites. Most of the time we don’t realize we have been bitten until the itching begins. Mosquitoes are like ghosts, they float undetected and almost invisible haunting each victim until they’ve had their fill.

In order to understand why mosquitoes are so good at concealing their presence and their initial bite you have to learn how they operate and how they attack us without us noticing. When the mosquito bites, it injects saliva into our skin which contains proteins that prevent our blood from clotting. This saliva also includes an anesthetic. This is the reason we most often do not feel it.

Did you know that only the female mosquito bites? When she lands on her victim she inserts her proboscis into your skin. Her proboscis is very thin and very sharp. She then begins her blood meal feeding until her abdomen is full, and then flies away. After we’ve been bitten, we begin to itch because of our bodies response to the saliva that stays in the wound. This saliva she left us with causes the wound to itch and swell.

Mosquitoes have been around for over 30 million years and during that time they have been honing their skills so that they are experts at finding the right prey. First, they have tools to target their victims. Mosquitoes sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid from 100 feet away. Humans and other mammals give off these gases every time we breathe. Mosquitoes can also detect heat, which we all emit and this makes us an easy target. Mosquitoes can also see us. The color we wear and our movements can attract mosquitoes also.

Treatment of your outdoor area by a licensed professional will dramatically reduce the mosquito population in your yard. Common sense safeguards such as keeping your lawn and garden free of  standing water, which is appealing for mosquitoes to lay their eggs, is also key. If planning a picnic or camping trip make sure you dress appropriately and carry insect repellent. Even though mosquitoes have become experts at biting us over the past 30 million years-we can still outsmart them by taking these measures.