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Mosquito Minutia

by Frank Ross

Most people would prefer that the life cycle of the mosquito should be ended with a quick slap, but eliminating these minute menaces can best be accomplished by removing their opportunity to reproduce.

Eliminating these minute menaces<br /> can best be accomplished by removing<br /> their opportunity to reproduce.
Eliminating these minute menaces can best be
accomplished by removing their opportunity to

Mosquitoes of different species lay their eggs in a variety of water sources that range from small containers such as knots of trees and old tires to vast expanses of marshland. The larval stage is always aquatic and shuttles from the subsurface, where it filter feeds on micro-organisms, to the surface to obtain oxygen through a snorkel-like breathing apparatus. The pupa stage does not feed but unlike most insect pupae is extremely active. The adult emerges from the pupal case using air pressure and assumes a terrestrial existence.

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Do a survey of the area around your home and eliminate any standing water sources where mosquitoes can breed and multiply. While you're out looking for suspected breeding centers, consider these interesting items of trivia about this otherwise trivial bug.

How many species of mosquitoes plague this planet?

About 2,700.

How many are resistant to at least one insecticide?

More than 50.

What does a mosquito weigh?

Hardly a significant trophy- about 2 to 2.5 milligrams.

How do mosquitoes find a free lunch?

Visually observing movement is the most common attractant but they also "acquire" a target by detecting infra-red radiation emitted by warm bodies; and by chemical signals. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and lactic acid, among other chemicals.

When does their dinner bell ring?

Daytime, nighttime and all times in-between. While some species prefer different times of day or night, most have evolved to match their feeding patterns to human behavior, but there are always animals outside to form a buffet line anytime they need a pull.

Do they ever stop sucking blood?

Yes, when they're full. Actually, for starters, males never suck blood. Females don't do it more often than necessary, since it exposes them to getting whacked.

How fast can a mosquito fly?

Mosquitoes won't set any speed records, but they're persistent at an estimated 1 to 1.5 miles per hour. How far do mosquitoes fly? Certain species, such as the Salt marsh mosquito can migrate as far as 75 to 100 miles.

How far away can a mosquito smell you?

20 to 35 meters.

Why does a film of oil on water kill mosquito larvae?

The oil clogs up the snorkel that the larvae use to breathe.