Why are mosquitoes attracted to people?
Mosquito bites are extremely irritating, as anyone who has been attacked during Australia’s hot and wet summer months can attest to. But why do mosquitoes gravitate towards people, and why is it that some people seem so much more vulnerable to mosquitos than others? In a crowd of humans, why is it that mosquitoes always tend to bite the same few victims?
To answer these questions, it is necessary to understand what causes mosquitoes to behave the way they do. Knowing just why you attract mosquitoes makes it easier for you to avoid being bitten.
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite People?
To be precise, only female mosquitoes bite people. Male mosquitoes exist primarily to help with reproduction. Females, on the other hand, have a proboscis, which is a long tube which serves as a mouth, similar to that of butterflies. Female mosquitoes penetrate the human skin with the proboscis in order to suck blood. The blood provides nutrients for egg development.
What Areas Attract Mosquitoes?
You may have noticed that mosquitoes seem to proliferate in certain areas. They favour areas around stagnant water, which provides a medium for egg laying and larval development. This is why it’s important to avoid stagnant water lying around in your garden or other areas of your property.
Why Are Mosquitoes Attracted To People?
As mentioned, Mosquitoes (females) feed on the blood of humans, because female mosquitoes require blood for nutrients needed to develop eggs.
They are also attracted to human breath. Female mosquitoes have long antennae, as well as palps, which sense odours. These are highly sensitive to the smell of carbon dioxide, which humans give off each time they breathe out. Mosquitoes can detect CO2 from over 50 metres away, which they follow in search of prey. However, carbon dioxide exhalation isn’t the only factor which determines which person the mosquitoes choose to feed on.
The smell of human sweat also attracts mosquitoes. When we perspire, we release odours and kairomones which attract mosquitoes. Certain types of bacteria which reside on human skin also give off substances like lactic acid, uric acid and ammonia, which mosquitoes can detect. When your body temperature rises, you are more likely to perspire, which then increases your attraction to mosquitoes. Mozzie bites tend to be more frequent on the wrists, ankles, hands and feet, as these are the parts of the body which often remain uncovered.
Some people also appear more favoured by mosquitoes for other reasons beyond their control. There is no single factor which can entirely determine why mosquitoes bite some people rather than others. Japanese researchers have discovered that O blood types are more likely to be attacked by mosquitoes than A blood types. According to scientists, it is our genes that determine 85% of the factors which make us more attractive to mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are from the same group as Diptera, otherwise known as the true flies. Like them, mosquitoes have only one pair of wings. They are equipped with long, thin legs with a distinct proboscis attached to their heads. Their wings and bodies are covered in tiny scales. Full grown mosquitoes vary in size from 3mm to 30mm (depending upon the species).
Flick Pest Control’s Mosquito Treatment Methods
Treating mosquitoes in Australia requires a multi-faceted approach. On the one hand, it’s necessary to address the source of the problem (breeding sites) as much as possible. Since stagnant water is needed for mosquitoes to lay eggs, it is necessary to identify and remove of any stagnant water sources which may be used as breeding grounds. Pro-active source reduction is needed to prevent mosquito problems long term However, in the short term, the use of chemical products may be necessary to reduce the current mosquito population.
A mosquito treatment program starts with a house visit. A qualified pest control expert will thoroughly inspect your property in order to identify the type of mosquito you causing you concern. After that, a mosquito treatment plan will be tailored to your specific situation and recommendations will be made for the reduction of mosquito breeding sources. Your pest control professionals will then conduct the appropriate treatment to your property.
The following lists some of the source reduction activities that may take place:
- Your pest technician may prepare a plan of your property on with marked areas where mosquitoes are, or could potentially breed. These sites are divided into two groups, those that are natural and those that are artificially created, and can collect water. Some examples include low-lying areas that remain wet after rainfall, guttering which has been clogged, crawl spaces which are easily flooded, pooling of water around downpipes, child swimming pools, boats left uncovered, tree holes, cans and old tyres where water can collect and rubbish or debris which can retain water.
- Recommendations to help you stop mosquitoes from entering the home.
- Recommendations for the management of the plants and vegetation on your property. Some mosquito species breed in hollow plants where water can collect.
Insecticidal treatments may be applied to treat your existing mosquito problem, such as:
- Insecticides may be used on vegetation where adult mosquitoes take shelter throughout the day.
- Insect growth regulators may be added to water to stop mosquito larvae from developing.
- Microbial based products which can be applied to water for mosquitoes larval control.
- Water surface treatments which deter the female mosquitoes from laying eggs and the existing larvae from breathing.
Flick Pest Control’s approach to mosquito management is a holistic one which is enhanced by the cooperation of people and pets and which incorporates products that are safe for the environment. Give us a ring to schedule a pest inspection, receive a quotation at an affordable price and put an end to your mosquito problems.
Call our local office now at 13 14 40 or send us an email to get in touch.