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Scientific Name: Diptera
Physical Attributes: Two-winged insects with long thin legs and a proboscis that extends from their head.
Adult Size: 3 to 15 mm
Habitat: Most commonly found near standing water. Ponds, swamps and other wetlands are some of the places that these pests are most commonly found.
Lifespan: Most mosquitoes have a very short adult life span, ranging from as little as two weeks to two months. Some species have a hibernation stage that may last for several months, but their life following this hibernation remains brief.
Found In: Throughout the US and most of the world
Mosquitoes, which comprise the family Culcidae, make up a large portion of the order Diptera, which actually makes them a type of fly! Mosquitoes have been around with very little change for a long time. The oldest preserved mosquito is from 79 million years ago, and they have shown very little change for almost 50 million years. Mosquitoes are obviously well adapted to their environments.
There are at least 3,000 species of mosquitoes found around the world. About 150 species are found in North America, 85 of which are found in the state of Texas alone. Texas and New Jersey are two of the states that are cited with having the most mosquito activity.
Most people do not realize that blood is not the only part of the mosquito’s diet. In fact fruit nectar is the largest part of their diet, and blood is only consumed in order to aid in the development of eggs. Only female mosquitoes bite, and they bite each time they have a new batch of eggs that require the nutrients derived from blood.
Some people are the target of mosquito bites more than others. The reasons for this are unclear, but the most likely answer is that the signs of human activity that these pests look for are easier to sense among these individuals. Sometimes perfume or fragrances found in personal products may dilute or enhance these signs.
Diseases that can be spread through mosquitoes and other, such as West Nile Virus, have been subjected to much media-attention during the last few years. In other countries, Malaria is a major problem, and mosquitoes are a large part of the spread of this disease. Other diseases for which mosquitoes are a primary vector include Dengue fever, Yellow fever, and lymphatic filariasis. It is estimated the mosquito bites are the cause of more than 700 million illnesses every year.
There are individual and city-wide responsibilities that must be seen to when trying to combat mosquitoes in your area. Many local governments have elected to spray throughout the city for these pests, and while this may reduce the chance of seeing them around your home it does not eliminate it. Bug zappers, store-bought sprays and mosquito-repelling products like candles are some of the most common products used by homeowners who are looking to control this pest on their own.
Additionally, make sure your home and lawn are free from standing water–mosquitoes can breed in as little as a couple of ounces of liquid.
If mosquito control becomes a problem that you aren’t capable of handling on your own there are many pest control companies who offer mosquito services, and there are many businesses whose sole focus is mosquito removal.