The bane of summer — the mosquito.
We all love nice weather, but no one loves this little annoyances that seem to love the heat as well. You probably have plenty of questions, so we’re here to answer just a few.
Why do mosquitoes bite?
Female mosquitoes bite and take blood, whereas males survive on nectar and water. Female mosquitoes need blood for protein and iron which they use to make eggs. They drink about 3 milligrams of blood each bite. They also feed on nectar and water like males do.
Why do mosquitoes bite some people more than others?
Mosquitoes don’t just feed on humans. They will also bite birds, mammals, amphibians and even reptiles. They find their vertebrate-prey through movement, odor, body heat and carbon dioxide exhalation.
Some people do get bitten more than others, and that can be because of several factors. Some people have more of certain chemicals, like lactic acid, in their skin, which attracts some species of mosquitoes. The more carbon dioxide that you release — linked to metabolic rate — the more attractive you are to these biting creatures as well. Even blood type can affect how much you attract mosquitoes, as they tend to prefer type O more than type A or B.
Why do mosquito bites itch?
When female mosquitoes bite, their saliva contains enzymes and proteins that stops blood from clotting. Most people are allergic to these additives in mosquito saliva, and that is why the area bumps and itches, in reaction.
How do I protect myself?
- Clothing: Dark clothing is more attractive to mosquitoes than light clothing, because dark clothing sticks out more on the landscape and is more noticeable to the insects. Wearing lightweight, breathable fabrics covering the skin also helps protect you.
- Motion: Mosquitoes also find hosts due to motion, making people stand out from the landscape.
- Breeze: Mosquitoes can’t fly in a breeze more than 1 mile per hour, so pointing a good fan in your direction helps.
- Repellent: Using a good mosquito repellent is always helpful. Spray into your hand and rub on the skin to avoid inhalation.