If you’ve ever been by the water on a hot day, or skipped the repellant, then you’ve probably had to deal with stinging mosquito bites. However, despite the frustration mosquito bites can cause, these tiny buzzing bugs are fascinating insects. Read on to discover the amazing world of mosquitos.
Seek and Destroy
Mosquitos have been on this planet for a very long time – 30 million years, to be precise. To put that in perspective, the earliest ancestors of humans appeared roughly 6 million years ago, and our species in its current incarnation is only around 200,000 years old. And, in that time, mosquitos have developed skills that put most robotics to shame. They can sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid– and the relevant prey emitting these compounds – from a distance of 100 feet. They also can detect heat from long distances and accurately determine contrasting colors on a background, making them highly effective at seeking out and attacking their victims.
Slow and Steady
Mosquitos are slow, at least compared with most other insects. While the average person walks at around 3 mph, a mosquito can only fly at around 1 mph. That means that if you’re walking at an average speed, you would outrun your mosquito nemesis without breaking a sweat. Despite this, they have some pretty formidable wind flapping capabilities, with around 600 beats per second.
Silent and Deadly
Mosquitos are the most deadly insect on earth. While the bite itself is unlikely to cause more than a frustrating sting, because they feed on blood, they carry a number of frightening diseases, including malaria, which claims over 243 million deaths per year. Considering only the female mosquito sucks blood (the male survives on plant nectar,) and only a small percentage of mosquito species feed on human blood, this is impressive, albeit terrifying.
Wet and Wild
All mosquitos require water to breed; the female can only deposit eggs in a depth of at least two inches of water. Because the water needs to be steady to prevent damage to the eggs, they prefer standing water, such as lakes and ponds to hatch their eggs. In the right circumstances, a female mosquito can lay enough eggs to create a raft over the top of the water– a terrifying prospect, to be sure. From the time they hatch until adulthood, the various stages of mosquito larva will spend most of their time eating and performing water acrobatics.
While one of the most annoying – and terrifying – insects on the planet, mosquitos can provide an infinite source of fascination, assuming, of course, that you do not live in a place where you have to deal with them. Thankfully, they are relatively easy to coexist with. They are responsive to a number of pesticides, and a variety of nettings have been developed to combat their stings, which makes living with these pesky creatures a little