Mosquitoes are some of the most common and annoying pests in the world. They are also one of the deadliest, as they transmit a variety of diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever.
But why do mosquitoes bite and suck blood in the first place?
The answer is simple: they need blood to survive. Female mosquitoes, in particular, need the protein found in blood to develop their eggs. Without a blood meal, they will not be able to reproduce.
Mosquitoes find their targets using a variety of cues, including:
Carbon dioxide: Mosquitoes can detect the carbon dioxide we exhale from up to 50 feet away. This is their primary way of finding us.
Body heat: Mosquitoes are also attracted to body heat. They can sense the difference in temperature between a human body and the surrounding air.
Bacteria: Mosquitoes are also attracted to the bacteria that live on our skin. These bacteria give off a scent that mosquitoes can detect.
Lactic acid: Mosquitoes are also attracted to the lactic acid in our sweat. This is why we are more likely to get bitten after we have been exercising.
Once a mosquito has found a target, it will land on the skin and use its proboscis, or mouthpart, to pierce the skin and suck blood. The proboscis is made up of six sharp needles that allow the mosquito to easily penetrate the skin.
The mosquito will then inject saliva into the wound. This saliva contains anticoagulants, which prevent the blood from clotting. It also contains proteins that suppress the immune system, so that the mosquito's bite does not cause pain or swelling.
The mosquito will continue to suck blood until its abdomen is full. This can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Once the mosquito is full, it will fly away and lay its eggs.
Mosquitoes are a nuisance, but they can also be deadly. By understanding why mosquitoes bite and how they find their targets, you can take steps to protect yourself from these pests.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes is to call Mosquito Squad of Grand Rapids. Our Traditional Barrier Treatment eliminates up to 85-90% of mosquitoes to keep your yard a fun and safe place all summer long. Our highly trained technicians target areas we know mosquitoes like to land and lay their eggs to control the mosquito population on your property.