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Summertime means mosquitoes, which means it’s time to prep yourself against the oncoming onslaught of bloodsuckers with some trivia. Here are the deets on mosquits.
- Mosquitoes do have preferences about what kinds of people they are most attracted to. They like Type O blood, pregnant women, people with lots of skin bacteria, heavy breathers, and people with lots of body heat.
- Mosquitoes don’t have teeth. They use a proboscis for sucking blood, but the proboscis itself can’t pierce the skin, so they have four sets of cutting edges equivalent to teeth that allow them to penetrate the skin.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans exhale, but some scents can confuse a mosquito’s sense of smell. These include minty, fruity, and caramelized chocolate.
- Only female mosquitoes bite humans and animals, while male mosquitoes prefer to feed on flower nectar.
- When a mosquito is infected with the dengue virus, it’s even hungrier for blood than before. The virus manipulates mosquito genes to make them blood crazy, and even gives them a better sense of smell so that they can find their favorite treats faster.
- Most people are quite familiar with the incessant itching sensation of a mosquito bite, but the reason that humans react that way to the bites is because of mosquito saliva. The saliva is an anticoagulant that keeps the blood flowing and unfortunately also spurs an immune response in most humans.
- Of all the animals in the world, mosquitoes cause the most human deaths every year due to diseases like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis.
- There are thousands of species of mosquito, and not all of them bite humans. Some prefer other animals, like culiseta melanura which bites birds.
- When they mate, mosquitoes will synchronize their wing beats. They can actually hear the wing beats of potential mates, and they match each other when it’s time to get it on.
- All mosquitoes need water in order to breed and hatch. Some of them don’t need much: a single puddle could do it, but a completely dry climate won’t let them reproduce.
- Mosquito is Spanish for little fly.