Here is one thing you do know: it takes exactly one mosquito in your room for you to have a sleepless night. You are also probably aware that mosquitoes transmit diseases, including malaria, one of the deadliest infectious diseases on the planet. I would put money down, however, that you don’t know most of the other facts on this list.
1. Mosquitoes cannot transmit the HIV virus
Mosquitoes deal in blood, so they must be able to transmit HIV, right? No. Interestingly, the HIV virus is actually consumed by the mosquito’s stomach, and it is therefore unable to make it into your bloodstream. While mosquitoes are capable of passing along malaria and dengue fever, they at least spared us a disease that is far more lethal.
2. Some people get bit by mosquitoes more often than others
Up to 20% of you reading this site may be exceptionally tasty for a mosquito looking for a meal. There are a number of possible reasons for this, from bacteria on your skin to blood type to clothing (the darker the clothes, the bigger the target). Just have a look at this article from the Smithsonian Magazine.
3. Some mosquitoes are resistant to DEET, and they may inherit this trait
No, this is not good news. DEET is widely considered to be the most effective agent in repelling mosquitoes, yet some mosquitoes are actually resistant to the chemical. We recommend this article from Nature for more on this. Overall, DEET still likely packs the most punch for maximum protection, but you can always opt for a product with picaridin. See our recommendations for insect repellant here.
4. Mosquitoes can survive the cold
Wouldn’t it be nice if cold weather killed mosquitoes? Yes, it would be. Most species of mosquitoes hibernate, just like bears. Female mosquitoes can extend their lives by over 5 months by hibernating. Mosquito eggs that become frozen will stay that way until they thaw, at which point they will hatch and hundreds of new mosquitoes will then roam the earth.
5. Mosquitoes don’t stay long on this earth
If it’s any consolation, mosquitoes do not have longevity working in their favor. Male mosquitoes are lucky if they make it past day 10, and females top out at around 8 weeks. Hibernating mosquitoes can extend their lives for many months, though.
6. They are many
There are over 3,000 different species of mosquito. The most well known species are Anopheles mosquitoes and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, both of which are notorious disease carriers.
7. It’s the saliva that leaves the bump
While one tube of the mosquito’s proboscis is busy pumping out your blood, another one is injecting saliva, which deadens the sensation on your skin while also preventing your blood from clotting. It’s the saliva that causes a mild allergic reaction, thus leading to that itchy bump.
Ok, let’s hear it. How many facts did you know on this list?