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Mosquitoes are common pests that are found in many areas of the world. There are over 3,000 different species throughout the world with 176 of these species being found in the United States. Mosquitoes range in size but do not usually grow to be longer than .6 in. They have thin bodies made up of three sections and they have two wings.
The name mosquito comes from a Spanish word meaning “little fly.” Many people believe that the reason mosquitoes bite humans is because they need to feed on human blood, but this is not true. Mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, similarly to bees. Female mosquitoes suck blood in order to help with the development of their eggs prior to laying them. Male mosquitoes do not feed on blood at all. Although mosquitoes can be very annoying to humans and at times dangerous because of their ability to carry and transmit diseases, they play an important role in the ecosystem because they serve as a food source for many organisms.
Mosquitoes live in a variety of habitats, but they are mainly concentrated near sources of standing water in order to reproduce because mosquito eggs need water in order to hatch. Some species lay their eggs in standing water, while other simply lay their eggs in moist soil and then hatch once the soil is flooded with water. These “floodwater” species lay eggs in the fall that can survive through the winter and then hatch once spring showers flood their habits. One female mosquito can lay up to 200 eggs at a time, which can allow for an infestation to quickly get out of hand.
Mosquito control can be complicated because the bug has the ability to adapt to different and changing conditions. There are methods that you can take to prevent infestations from occurring as well as eliminating one once it has already formed. Take special care to empty out or throw away anything outside that can hold standing water, such as buckets, tins, tires, etc. You can also use traps such as bug zappers or outdoor sprays. If the infestation seems to be out of control, seek the help of your local exterminator in order to deal with the problem effectively.
Generally, mosquito bites simply appear as a small itchy bump, but some people can have more intense reactions to the bites if they are allergic. Although a mosquito bite itself is harmless, mosquitoes are capable of transmitting serious diseases through these bites, such as malaria, yellow fever and West Nile virus. Because of the risk, it is always smart to use insect repellant when outside in order to prevent mosquito bites. If at any time you feel that the bite is serious, seek medical help as soon as possible.