You know they are annoying. But did you know the mosquito is among the most deadly of all animals on Earth? We pulled together 10 facts on the blood-sucking bugs.
Near the creek by my house, the mosquitos have arrived in force. I swat them on my neck, brush them off the dog’s back, then run away from the shade near the water where the buggers can get thick.
Fortunately, they are rarely harmful to humans here. But did you know the mosquito is among the most dangerous and deadly of all animals on Earth? Here are 10 facts about these annoying little insects.
1) Mosquitos Are Deadly
They are often ranked at the top of the list of “deadly animals.” Sadly, millions of people are infected with malaria each year around the world by mosquito bites.
2) Many Kinds Of Mosquitos
There are more than 3,500 species of mosquitos on Earth. Not all are bad. A huge amount of the species of mosquitoes are not blood-suckers. They will not bite.
3) Beer Attracts The Bugs
Cracking a cold one around the campfire? Researchers tested a hypothesis around beer and how mosquitos reacted to “prey preference.” See a recap of the study here. In short, the bugs were indeed attracted to the smell of beer.
4) Females Bite
In most species of mosquitos, only the females seek blood and bite. Male mosquitos are fine with plants.
“Mosquito” has roots in Spanish or Portuguese words, meaning “little fly.”
6) Prehistoric Insects
Encased in amber, mosquitos have been found preserved in Canada that are nearly 80 million years old.
7) Diseases Transmitted
Beyond malaria, the bugs can transmit yellow fever, filariasis, west Nile virus, dengue fever, and other maladies.
8) Beyond Bug Spray
There are many types of mosquito repellent products on the market. A unique option comes from Thermacell, which sells Mosquito Repellent Lanterns powered by butane cartridges. They shine a light as well as vaporize an allethrin repellent, allowing it to rise into the air and help ward off bugs.
9) Mosquito Repellant Clothing
Companies like ExOfficio, Insect Shield, Columbia, and others sell clothing treated with insect repellent, including permethrin. Over the years I have tested much of this apparel. While no panacea, it does seem to deter mosquitoes, ticks, and flies.
10) You Can Still Get Out!
Dressed right, and following some basic advice about where to go and when to travel during mosquito season, the bugs should not hold you back. See Andrew Skurka’s article, “My clothing system for backpacking in peak mosquito season,” as a solid tutorial on how to not let the little bugs ruin your trip or keep you home.