No matter where on this planet we call home, every human being is familiar with the pest we call mosquito. With over 3500 varieties, it is the female mosquito that pesters. Both male and female mosquitoes have mouths shaped for piercing the skin of plants or animals. The males generally get by with fluid from plants for their nourishment, but it is the females, in order to produce a healthy brood, which require blood. Only in some species of mosquito do the females feed on human blood, but it is these species that act as a vector not only for mosquito-born viral diseases, notably dengue fever, yellow fever and malaria, but also for parasites. At least 2 million people die per year from mosquito born diseases. Mosquitoes evolve through four stages during their life-cycle, from egg, to larvae, to pupa to adult. While some species can develop from egg to adult in as little as five days, most species, especially those in warmer climates, take as long as 40 to 42 days to develop from egg to adult. Mosquito saliva is specially formulated to ensure the free flow of blood, and as such contains up to 20 different proteins which serve the functions of restricting vascular constriction, blood clotting, angiogenesis, and immunity, as well as causing inflammation. Without the anticoagulant effect produced by mosquito saliva, our blood would clot inside them, rendering it useless for their nourishment, as they would be dead. Mosquitoes are most definitely attracted to some particular humans over others. This is the result of those humansâ€™ preferential smell, and mosquitoes are highly attuned to the various odors produced by different smelling humans. For those of us who smell better to mosquitoes, preventing mosquito bites is a primary concern. While many commercial products exists to deter mosquitoes, eucalyptus oil is also effective, as are a number of balsam products, such as Tigerbalm, which contain eucalyptus or camphor. These products are also effective in reducing the itchiness caused by mosquito bites. Alleviation of mosquito bite itchiness can also be achieved by soaking the affected area in a mild ammonia solution or a mild MSG solution. Why do mosquitoes often buzz around our heads? It is not merely to annoy us, out of spitefulness, as many of us often assume. It is because we produce a cloud of carbon dioxide, as well as a bouquet of odiferous chemicals, by means of our mere existence, which remain within our proximity, and attract mosquitoes to us. Is it possible to pop a mosquito by tensing oneâ€™s muscles in the area in which the mosquito bites, as it bites? Apparently this can be done only if you pinch the skin where they are biting. This prevents them from retracting themselves and causes them to over-gorge on blood, leading to one exploded mosquito. Sources: Wikipaedia (http://en.wikipedia.org), ChaCha (www.chacha.com)
2011-02-22 3:15pm PST
Just the thought of them makes me cringe! Great article.