- There are more than 3,000 mosquito species worldwide. More than 150 of those species are present in the U.S..
- All mosquitoes have 4 distinct life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult.
- A relatively small number of species transmit dangerous disease, but it’s impossible for you to know which do and which do not.
- The red, itchy bump where a mosquito has bitten you is a reaction to the mosquito’s saliva, and doesn’t indicate whether or not it might transmit diseases.
- On average, more than 1,000 Americans become seriously ill or die as the result of diseases transmitted by mosquito bite.
- Only adult female mosquitoes bite; this is to provide protein for her eggs.
- A female mosquito needs one blood meal for every batch of eggs she produces.
- Mosquitoes actually feed on nectar, plant juices, and decaying plant material for sustenance.
- Mosquito eggs require standing, stagnant water to hatch into successful larvae, but they don’t require much water for it to be possible.
- Mosquito eggs can survive as many as 7 years before hatching.
- With a 100% survival rate, a single mosquito could be responsible for over 1 billion mosquito descendants in under just 1 month.
What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You
Believe it or not, many scholars believe that the tiny mosquito may be responsible for more human deaths throughout history that almost any other organism. That’s because they’re more than merely a nuisance: they’re a vector for parasites, bacteria, and viruses that are the causes of devastating human diseases, as well as parasites that can hurt your pets. That is to say, the mosquito isn’t harmful in and of itself, but it is a delivery mechanism.
Transmittable diseases carried by mosquitoes:
- Dengue fever (rare in the U.S.; 100 million cases worldwide)
- Eastern equine encephalitis (eastern U.S., but rare; 33% mortality)
- Heartworm (threat to dogs throughout continental U.S.)
- Japanese encephalitis (rare outbreaks in U.S. territories in the Pacific)
- La Crosse encephalitis (about 100 U.S. cases annually)
- Malaria (in the U.S., acquired mainly in FL; 1 million deaths annually worldwide)
- Rift Valley fever (endemic to Africa)
- St. Louis encephalitis (4,651 U.S. cases from 1964-2005; 5%-30% mortality rate) ● West Nile virus (663 cases and 30 deaths in the U.S. in 2009)
- Yellow fever (last U.S. epidemic was in New Orleans in 1905)
Tips to Protect Yourself & Your Family
While there are preventative treatments for certain disease, specifically malaria, there aren’t vaccines available for the mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. That’s why the best way to protect yourself from these diseases is to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Here are a few tips to help you on your way.
- Eliminate standing water. We cannot emphasize this tip enough. Any standing water (i.e., water that does not move) can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so be sure to empty any containers that hold water and leave them upturned (e.g., kiddy pools, pet dishes). Clean or remove other objects that will gather water, including tarps and gutters. You may even need to consult someone about preventing standing water from gathering in trees or other landscaping.
- Install or repair screens. When the weather is lovely, we all want to be able to leave our doors and windows open. However, you need to have screens in place to keep the mosquitoes out. If you’re somewhere without screens for some reason, at the very least you should use mosquito netting hung over furniture and beds.
- Practice personal prevention. Obviously, you should avoid going outside at times that mosquitoes are most prevalent and avoid areas where they’re likely to be in large numbers. However, you should also use some kind of repellent, such as DEET, which contains proven, EPA recognized ingredients. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that minimizes the amount of exposed skin. That means leaving quickly if necessary! This is probably the most annoying act of self-protection. It interrupts or even puts a stop to your activities, such as dining at a restaurant patio or playing in the back yard with your kids. However, it’s better to be annoyed than grievously ill.
- Seek professional pest control. While there are many DIY solutions to tap into, only a licensed professional understands exactly what is necessary to effectively protect your property while minimizing the impact it will have on your environment. Did we mention that we’re a professional, safe pest control company? Give us a call at (203) 872-0968 today to see how we can help you and your yard.