Actual size: 0.3 in.
Mosquitoes at a Glance
Mosquitoes are widely distributed through the United States. In southern states,
mosquitoes can be a year-round concern. Even in the northern states, mosquitoes
can wreak havoc from early spring to late fall.
Only the female mosquito will bite. Within hours of extracting a full blood meal,
she flies off and lays her eggsas many as 300 at a time for some species.
With multiple species hatching to different timetables all season long, it's no
wonder mosquitoes are such a major disruption in our lives (without the right protection,
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
A mosquito's mouth is made up of bristles and tubes. The bristles first poke a tiny
hole in the skin, and then two tubes are inserted into the hole. Saliva flows through
one tube and the blood is sucked up though the other. The saliva has an anticoagulant
that allows the blood to flow easily up through the tube. Proteins that are contained
in the saliva and left behind in the host are what cause the skin to itch.
Every year, consumers spend millions of dollars to protect themselves against mosquitoes
and other biting insects. In the process, they are often taken in by questionable
home remedies and unproven gadgets, according to leading biting-bug expert Dr. Jonathan
Day. According to Dr. Day, a leading medical entomologist from the University of
Florida, consumers should be wary of gizmos and gadgets that are reputed to offer
repellent-like qualities, but fail scientific testing.
"The most effective protection against biting insects are repellents that contain
DEET," states Dr. Day.