It is easy to dismiss mosquitoes as just another summer pest, but these insects are actually quite sophisticated and deadly. Most of the time their bite simply leaves behind an itchy bump, but they can also transmit diseases to both humans and animals. In fact, they are the deadliest animal on the planet. So how does a tiny insect manage to have such a deadly and effective bite?
First and foremost, they are very motivated and driven by a need to procreate. Only the females actually bite because they need blood in order to produce eggs. They also hunt for pools of water where they can lay their eggs. Even the smallest source of water, such as some moisture on a piece of trash, can provide the right environment.
How a Mosquito Bites
During the few seconds that it takes a female mosquito to deliver a bite and draw blood a series of things occur in quick succession. If you look at a mosquito through a microscope, you can see that what looks like a single proboscis is actually six smaller needles that are usually covered by a protective sheath. Two of the needles have sharp teeth that are used to saw through the skin. The teeth are so sharp that you typically won’t even feel them going to work.
When the female finds a human or animal to bite, the sheath retracts and the needles go to work. Once the teeth have sawed through the skin, receptors on the tip of the other needles start probing for a blood vessel, which naturally exude certain chemicals that help guide the female mosquito. When she finds a blood vessel, a needle acts as a straw to suck up as much blood as possible. The mosquito is actually able to separate blood from water, which often results in a droplet being left behind on the skin. That way, she can optimize red blood cells.
While all this is happening a separate needle is injecting chemicals into the skin. These chemicals work to make the blood flow more easily and are also responsible for leaving behind the itchy welt. As a final parting gift, the mosquito leaves behind some of her saliva, which is how diseases are transmitted. This final step doesn’t actually have any purpose. mosquitoes are simply carriers, so while the deadliest animal on the planet they aren’t necessarily malicious.
The best way to limit your exposure to mosquitoes is to eliminate any water sources that may attract females looking for a place to lay eggs. If you have a persistent mosquito problem that is limiting your ability to enjoy your yard, it may be time to call in the professionals. The experts at PMi Pest Management can help you reduce the mosquito population around your home for a safer and more pleasant outdoor living space.