Are mosquitoes ruining your summer fun outside? Here are some (not so?) fun facts about mosquito bites:
- Only female mosquitoes bite. A female must feed on blood for her eggs to mature. Males are primarily nectar-feeders and may be found near flower beds. Interestingly, females also feed from nectar when they are unmated. It is only when they have fertilized eggs that they require a blood meal.
- Female mosquitoes are solenophagous, meaning that they feed directly from blood vessels. Their mouthparts are classified as piercing-sucking and are modified into a needle shape.
- Mosquito mouthparts are flexible, meaning that they can bend and turn while under your skin in search of a blood vessel (ouch!).
- During the process of feeding, mosquitoes inject their hosts with saliva. This exchange is how some mosquitoes are able to transmit disease. In the case of malaria, for example, the causative parasite is picked up from a host’s blood during a blood meal. The parasite multiplies within the mosquito’s digestive system and migrates to the salivary glands. Once the parasite is present in the mosquito’s salivary glands and is in the proper life stage for transmission, it may be passed to a new host.
- Mosquito saliva contains over 100 different proteins. Many of these proteins help the mosquito discretely acquire a bloodmeal without alerting the host. Other proteins help to override the body’s response to injury. Some prevent blood vessels from constricting when pierced, while others override clotting mechanisms like platelet aggregation.
Contact Innovative Pest Solutions if you’re tired of being covered in itchy bites. We would love to develop a mosquito management strategy for your yard to help you enjoy the rest of summer.