Pest Facts: Mosquito

Sadly, the telltale buzz of the mosquito has become nearly synonymous with New Jersey summers, especially in areas near standing water. These bugs are infamous for their blood-sucking bites, as well as the itchy red bumps-officially termed wheals-that they leave on their human hosts. Some mosquitoes also carry dangerous diseases, which makes them not only irritating but hazardous, too.

Physical Description

Mosquitoes get their name from their diminutive size-mosquito means "little fly" in Spanish. Mosquitoes generally have a thin body that contrasts with their long legs. These insects vary in size, but they usually reach a quarter of an inch to a half inch in length.

Male mosquitoes feed on nectar, but females prefer blood. Females need blood to increase their reproductive potential, so they seek out animal targets, including humans and other mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and even fish.

Preferred Habitat

You can find mosquitoes almost anywhere, except Antarctica and a few other cold areas. Their most natural habitats include ponds, swamps, and wetlands. Despite their size, mosquitoes are hardy creatures and flourish even when outside of their natural habitat.

Threat

When female mosquitoes feed on human blood, they secrete proteins in their saliva that encourage blood flow. The saliva generates an immune response in human bodies, causing swelling and itching. These reactions are certainly annoying, but many anti-itch medicines and ointments can provide relief.

The true danger of mosquitoes lies in their ability to spread disease. Worldwide, more than one million people die from diseases spread by mosquitoes every year. Mosquito-transmitted diseases are much less prevalent in the United States than elsewhere, but still represent a significant threat. Some examples of mosquito-borne diseases in the United States include:

  • Dengue fever
  • Encephalitis
  • Malaria
  • West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes can also spread diseases to other animals, including dogs and horses.

Prevention

Mosquitoes need standing water in order to breed. Pools and bird baths in your yard might seem like obvious targets, but mosquitoes can even lay eggs in the puddles that form in leaves or the folds of a tarp. Try to remove those sites of stagnant water if possible, or at least empty and refill them often to keep the water fresh.

There are a lot of myths and theories about mosquito prevention techniques, but the color of your clothes or the food you eat will not likely impact your chance of getting bitten. A good mosquito repellant spray will help, but must be applied generously and frequently.

More permanent solutions can help with mosquito control as well, including pesticides, mechanical barriers, or mosquito traps. A pest control specialist can inform you on the best option for your personal situation.

Mosquitoes are a nuisance and, more importantly, a health hazard. If you live in Hoboken, NJ or a nearby community, and basic prevention techniques simply don't work, call an expert at Ace Walco Termite and Pest Control. You can reach us at 1-800-831-4223.

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