Mosquitoes might just be the most irritating creatures on the planet. The itching and the incessant buzzing drive people crazy all over the world, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that mosquitoes are actually pretty fascinating – even if they are incredibly annoying.
Here are some eye-opening mosquito facts that might just make you warm a little to these pesky bugs.
Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on earth
Forget snakes, sharks, and lions, mosquitoes are actually the creatures to fear. There are more deaths attached to mosquitoes every year than any other animal in the world. Seems strange for such a small bug, right? But they can carry a concoction of deadly diseases, like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis.
You’ll only ever be bitten by a female
Female mosquitoes are the bloodsuckers of the species, but it’s nothing personal. They actually need a certain amount of blood each day to be able to reproduce and give their eggs protein. Because males don’t carry the eggs, they don’t have to hunt down a blood meal to snack on every day. Instead, they head straight for the flowers and feed on pollen.
Mosquitoes love a sweaty body
Though your parents might have told you that mosquitoes prefer to snack on sweet blood, this isn’t quite the case. Mosquitoes are actually attracted by the carbon dioxide we exhale and the certain aromas that come from each individual’s body. So, rather than having a sweet tooth, they prefer sweaty surfaces where there are ample amounts of carbon dioxide and plenty of scents to soak up.
It would take a lot of mosquito bites to drain you
Even though a mosquito is able to chug down up to three times its weight in blood, it’s almost impossible for them to drain any human completely of blood. In fact, it would take a whopping 1.2 million bites to achieve that – which means there’s probably not enough room on your body.
Mosquitoes hibernate in winter
Strangely enough, mosquitoes hit the hay for the winter when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. As cold-blooded creatures, they rely on the sun to keep them going, so when it gets chilly they find holes to relax in until the weather gets better. These creatures aren’t stupid – some adult females go all out and lay their eggs in freezing water and die. The eggs keep in the cold conditions until the temperatures rise and they can hatch.
Mosquitoes only live for about 2 months
Mosquitoes actually have a very short life span, with most clocking in at around two months. Males are the less fortunate of the species, averaging around ten days, while the females can make it to six or even eight weeks. During their lifespan, females will lay eggs every three days or so and, if they hibernate, they can sometimes live for six months or more.
Mosquitoes are ancient creatures
Would you believe that mosquitoes are some of the oldest creatures on the planet? They’ve been around since the Jurassic period (about 210 million years), and have appeared numerous times in historic literature, including the works of Aristotle in 300 BC.
Mosquitoes buzz around our heads for a reason
Mosquitoes are most attracted to the whiff of carbon dioxide and, since we breathe that out through our noses and mouths, they tend to buzz around our heads. They can actually sniff out carbon dioxide from 100 feet away, honing in on their human prey from an impressive distance. This answers why you’re often woken up by that dreaded buzzing in your ear in the dead of night.
It’s the mosquitoes spit that’s itchy
Perhaps the worst thing about mosquito bites is the incessant itching that comes afterwards. It can seem like you’ll never be able to satisfy that scratch, but it’s not actually the bite that causes the annoying reaction. In fact, it’s the mosquito’s saliva, which they pump into their human prey to act as a painkiller while they feed. Our skin has a natural allergic reaction to this, meaning the dreaded itch is inevitable.
These mosquito facts offer an insight into the fascinating and strangely alluring world of these bloodsuckers – though they probably won’t quell the anger when one’s buzzing around your head while you’re trying to sleep.