Mosquito Trivia

Mosquito Facts

A mosquito’s wing tips flutter in a figure 8 pattern and have been measured at a speed 450-600 times per second. That’s why you hear a high pitched buzzing when they are flying around your ears. Only the midge (small mosquito like gnats) has a more rapid wing cycle, which has been measured at an astounding 1062 times per second!
The name mosquito comes from the merging of two Spanish names and means “little fly”. They were aptly named by the Spanish explorers when they encountered mosquitoes in Mexico and California.
The mosquito is, by far, the most deadly insect in the world. Nearly half a billion people worldwide are infected with some disease transmitted from a mosquito bite, although many only lead to mild sickness. Even so, more than 1,500,000 deaths each year can be traced to a mosquito bite.
The single largest disease propagated by mosquitoes is Malaria. Each year more than one million people die from mosquito transmitted Malaria and 90% of those are in Sub-Sahara, Africa. Of those deaths, about 70% are children under five years old. (
Worldwide, there are more than 3,000 varieties of mosquitoes. Of those, there are approximately 200 in the U.S., and, about 55 of those are found in Georgia and Florida.
Some mosquitoes are weak fliers and as a result, don’t venture more than about 300 feet from where they are born and fly lower than 15 feet above the ground. Others are strong fliers and can travel up to 75 miles. Most mosquitoes can fly backwards.
Without vigilance, West Nile virus can spread quickly. From 1999 (when the first case was reported in the US) through 2001, there were only a total of 119 cases confirmed. In 2002 alone, that number increased to 4156 cases and the following year 9,862 cases. Over $200 million was spent to combat the rising number of cases of West Nile in 2002. The number of cases confirmed dropped 75% in 2004, but has steadily been on the rise ever since. Also, the death rate of the disease has increased a little, with the current rate reaching about 4%. (
The typical female mosquito can lay 2-3 “rafts” of eggs (100-300 eggs each depending on the species) within her life time. Other important factors are temperature and weather conditions. She might have only been propagated one time by the male.
Both the male and the female feed on sweet nectar and juices from plants, not blood.
The lifespan of an adult mosquito is typically about 2-3 weeks. This can vary due to temperature and weather conditions.
The female mosquito always outlives the male mosquito.
Only the female mosquito bites because she is trying to get protein from the blood to nourish eggs that she is about to lay. Small animals are her primary prey and humans are a secondary target.
The reason humans get welts (the bump is actually called a wheal) and itch from a mosquito’s bite is due to a chemical reaction from the mosquito’s saliva that is injected during the bite. This saliva contains a protein (and also can carry the disease) which, when injected into the skin, prevents your blood from clotting so that the blood will flow more easily. Hence the bleeding that can occur after the bite. After she has bitten you, some of the saliva remains in you. In response, your immune system rushes to the injured area to dissolve the protein, causing the swelling. The swelling recedes after a day or two, but the itching will remain until all of the saliva protein has been broken down. After repeated bites, some people become immune in the same way that allergens build up after allergy shots.
Mosquitoes have been known to fly backwards and between rain drops. Many varieties are notoriously weak flyers, and typically fly at 15 feet or less.
The Southern Home mosquito is the primary carrier of West Nile virus in the Atlanta area since it prefers a blood meal from birds. Also, it is most active in the early morning and in the evenings, while other mosquito species can be active 24/7.
The mosquito’s head is mostly eyes. The eyes are comprised of many lenses, which take one specific picture. The overall view is like a mosaic composite, which is very efficient, and allows the mosquito to “see” human and animal movement.
One common myth is that citronella oil and candles are an effective way to repel mosquitoes. While, in high amounts, the oil from the citronella plant can repel mosquitoes, the concentration in candles and oils sold in stores, has little or no repellant effectiveness. Also, trapping devices, including ultra-violet zappers, only minimally work and are not species selective.
HIV cannot be transmitted through a mosquito bite, because the virus will not survive in the system of the mosquito.
The Asian tiger mosquito, found in Atlanta, is the carrier of encephalitis and meningitis. In southern Texas and Mexico, it also is responsible for the spread of dengue fever.

[ Schedule a free evaluation ]