Forget the myth about mosquito ability to transfer AIDS virus. Once and for all the times – mosquitoes are unable to infect, transfer, or deliver AIDS virus.
Only female mosquitoes bite. The maxillae and mandibles (mouthparts) of male mosquitoes are delicate, tape-like structures, usually one part being longer than another and so unsuitable for piercing the skin. Although both males and females also feed on nectar, only females bite as they need blood for eggs to mature.
Considerable amount of human diseases is spread by mosquitoes. More than three million people worldwide die from mosquito-transmitted diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and different kinds of encephalitis – Murray Valley encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis or other. As most of those diseases are spread around the equator, global trade market makes it easier for infected mosquitoes to get into other countries.
The larval and pupal stages of mosquitoes develop in water. Different water habitats are suitable for them to develop, such as pools, tires, discarded containers, irrigation ditches, tree or crab holes, flower pots, rain gutters, decorative ponds, salt marshes or any other place where water accumulates and stays for a particular period.
Mosquitoes are attracted to humans by several main chemicals, carbon dioxide being the most recognized attractant. Different body odors as sweat, lactic acid, octenol as well as body heat and moisture also attract these insects. Visual cues as movement or dark color lure mosquitoes too. People drinking beer have been shown to be more attractive to mosquitoes, but ingestion of garlic or vitamin B12 has been proven to have no impact on mosquito biting in laboratory.
Mosquitoes are not affected by ultrasonic devices. At least ten studies in the past 15 years convincingly demonstrated that ultrasound in the range of 20-70 kHz has no repelling effect on female mosquitoes. Huge amounts of money are spent on research and development of ultrasonic devices, they are an effective marketing tool, but nonetheless none of them works as they are advertised to work.
Most mosquitoes remain within 1 - 3 miles of their breeding site. Some of them, as the Asian tiger mosquito - Aedes albopictus – fly only about 300 feet away while species developing in salt marshes usually migrate 20 to 40 miles or even around 100 miles under the favorable circumstances. Wind currents are the main mean of long mosquito migrations.
Lifespan of adult mosquitoes vary from species to species. Most females live from two weeks up to a month while males reach 10 – 20 days. Females of some species live through the winter in barns, caves, houses, culverts, attics or other hideouts and can live around six months.
There are over 3000 species of mosquitoes worldwide with more than 160 species in North America alone. Different mosquito species exhibit different behaviors – some of them prefer humans as hosts, others – different mammals and birds or even frogs. Some mosquitoes feed just before nightfall, others around the clock or whenever a host is available
Bird or bat species are not effective for mosquito control. Although some bird species as purple martins consume large numbers of flying insects, mosquitoes comprise no more than 0 to 3 percent of their diet. Bats are mostly opportunistic insect feeders and mosquitoes comprise less than 1 percent of bat guts. Beetles moths and wasps are the favorable meals of bats although some species-specific differences do exist.