Whether it’s a Â mosquito net, mosquito eater, mosquito spray, mosquito treatment or mosquito repellent, we all try to avoid mosquito bites and the post mosquito bite itchiness and swelling. As well as trying to avoid the world’s biggest killer’s disease spreading rampage.
We’ll start by looking at some interesting facts about this resilient little pest, then move on to how we can best protect ourselves from getting bitten too much.
Firstly, we are not just battling with a single ‘mosquito’ species as there are around 3,500 identified species of mosquitos worldwide. Â Some prey on livestock and some prey on humans. Interestingly, the male mosquitos feed off of plants, whereas the female mosquito is more attracted to feeding off of your blood as will as plants.
Each of these species of mosquitos have there own unique spawning specs in mind. Some prefer standing water, others prefer to attach eggs to aquatic plants and some even specialise in laying their larvae in pitcher plants.
The transition from egg to a mosquito adult can take between 5 days to a month and a half, depending on temperature. Their size depends on how many larvae competing for food there are in the surrounding area and also the amount of food available to the larvae. Depending on what species emerges, they can live from a week to several months.
The average mosquito can carry blood three times it’s own weight. And what causes that loud sound when one flies by your ear? Well, they can beat their wings on average at 500 times per second.
Why is it that only female mosquitos feed off of your blood?Â No it’s not because the males have become vegetarians out of a feeling of guilt for the bites they produce, the females need the protein from your blood for their eggs. However, both males and females also feed off plant nectar.
Where do mosquitoes go by day? It would be fun to imagine that they chill out with a beer and play games on an Xbox, but in reality they are lying low in cool areas by day and come out at dawn, dusk and by night to feed. They are kind of like mini-vampires, but less appealing to humans than say Jacob or Edward out of Twilight.
How to avoid mosquito bites . . .
1) The most obvious and most neglected advice is to wear trousers (without your ankles being bare) and long sleeved tops. This is often so obvious that it is dismissed by travellers in place of more promoted methods. After all, what pharmaceutical company is going to advertise wearing trousers and long sleeved tops?
Take a look at some old footage of when English soldiers where at war with the Japanese in the jungles of Thailand. The English soldiers were all wearing shorts and not wearing any top most of the time. The Japanese were much more in tune with this environment and covered up. More troops went down with Malaria than were killed in battle.
2) Get rid of any stagnant water near you if possible. Use insecticide spray if this is not possible. If you are unlucky enough to live next to a stagnant canal, give up on that idea right now unless the authorities step in with industrial insecticide spraying campaigns.
3) Use lotions such as eucalyptus oil based lotions to repel insects. Ask native people in the area that you are travelling in for the best products available. They will have practical experience of what actually works compared with manufacturer’s claims.
4) Wherever you are staying, spray the rooms and evacuate, then go back into the room and seal it with mosquito meshes, nets and doors.
5) Mosquitoes don’t like wind, so if you are at the beach stroll near the sea where the wind will be more breezy than strolling along the edge of a jungle area. If you are sitting, put a fan on and angle it toward you.
6) If you sit still, for a meal for example, light a couple of mosquito coils and apply a second layer of mosquito repellent cream.
7) If a mosquito is in the process of biting you, don’t swat it, as it’s needle like sucker will be stuck in your arm still and cause enhanced irritation. Let it do it’s deed. If you really hate the mosquito, as you will, cup your hand over it and when you feel it trying to flee, tense your hand up to crush the cheeky little critter and smile with insane joy.
As an afterthought, we all hate mosquitos but it’s really nothing personal, the females need you for their eggs – their children. If any mother had to become a vampire in order for their offspring to survive they’d do it at the drop of a hat . . . but admittedly, it doesn’t change the feel good factor after swatting one with a rolled up magazine. 😉
Article by Kevin Baker