It is believed that the earliest form of mosquito arrived on the planet 226 million years ago. That means these small insects have been on Earth for significantly longer than humans. In fact, most scientists agree that Homo sapiens have only been on the planet for approximately three million years.

During that time a battle has existed between humans and their tiny foe, the mosquito. It is estimated that the mosquito has caused more human death than any other animal on earth. It has been responsible for Zika outbreaks, yellow fever and is still attacking people today!

Understanding The Mosquito

Mosquitoes have slender segmented bodies and a single set of wings, they are not strong fliers. They do need water to survive, not just for drinking but also for laying their eggs. This is why mosquitoes tend to congregate around still water.

Adult female mosquitoes use a special tube to pierce your skin and suck your blood. The blood contains protein and iron which is essential for the female to produce eggs.

Unfortunately, the saliva of the mosquito is transmitted to you when they bite you. This will generally cause a small reaction. That’s the traditional red mark and itchiness you get after being bitten.

What are the types of mosquitoes in the world?

There are thousands of species of mosquitoes worldwide, but they can generally be categorized into several main groups based on their characteristics and habitats. Some of the most common types of mosquitoes include:

  • Anopheles Mosquitoes: Anopheles mosquitoes are known for their role in transmitting malaria, a potentially deadly disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. These mosquitoes typically breed in freshwater habitats such as ponds, marshes, and slow-moving streams. Female Anopheles mosquitoes require a blood meal to lay eggs, and they are most active during the evening and night.
  • Aedes Mosquitoes: Aedes mosquitoes are known for transmitting diseases such as dengue fever, Zika virus, chikungunya fever, and yellow fever. They are characterized by their black and white stripes and typically breed in containers with stagnant water, such as discarded tires, flower pots, and water storage containers. Aedes mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters and can also bite at night.
  • Culex Mosquitoes: Culex mosquitoes are known for transmitting diseases such as West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis, and filariasis. They are typically found in urban and rural areas and breed in various water sources, including stagnant ponds, ditches, and sewage systems. Culex mosquitoes are most active during the evening and night and can transmit diseases through their bites.
  • Mansonia Mosquitoes: Mansonia mosquitoes are found in tropical and subtropical regions and are known for transmitting diseases such as filariasis and Rift Valley fever. They breed in freshwater habitats such as swamps, marshes, and rice fields, and their larvae attach to the roots of aquatic plants. Mansonia mosquitoes are most active during the evening and night and can transmit diseases through their bites.
  • Culiseta Mosquitoes: Culiseta mosquitoes are commonly found in temperate regions and are known for transmitting diseases such as West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis. They breed in various water sources, including ponds, marshes, and flooded areas, and their larvae attach to the undersides of floating objects. Culiseta mosquitoes are most active during the evening and night and can transmit diseases through their bites.

These are just a few examples of the types of mosquitoes found worldwide. Each species has its own habitat preferences, behavior, and potential for transmitting diseases, making mosquito control and prevention efforts crucial for protecting public health.

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Diseases transmitted by Mosquitoes

But, if the mosquito is carrying any bacteria, they will also be transmitted. In this way, the mosquito is capable of passing on a variety of diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and Zika.

Mosquitoes belonging to certain species are capable of transmitting diseases to humans through their bites. Some of the most notable mosquito-borne diseases include:

  • Malaria: Transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes infected with Plasmodium parasites, malaria remains a significant global health concern, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions. Symptoms include fever, chills, sweats, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue, and in severe cases, it can lead to complications such as organ failure and death.
  • Dengue Fever: Dengue is caused by the dengue virus, which is primarily transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, particularly Aedes aegypti. Symptoms of dengue fever include high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, rash, and fatigue. In severe cases, it can progress to dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, which can be life-threatening.
  • Zika Virus: Zika virus is primarily transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. While Zika virus infection is often mild or asymptomatic, it can cause complications such as birth defects (congenital Zika syndrome) in babies born to infected mothers and Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults.
  • West Nile Virus: West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, primarily Culex species, which acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds. Most people infected with West Nile virus do not develop symptoms, but some may experience fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. In rare cases, severe illness such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis can occur.
  • Chikungunya Fever: Chikungunya fever is caused by the chikungunya virus, which is primarily transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, particularly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, fatigue, nausea, rash, and swollen joints. While chikungunya fever is rarely fatal, joint pain can be prolonged and debilitating.
  • Yellow Fever: Yellow fever is caused by the yellow fever virus, which is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in urban settings and Haemagogus or Sabethes mosquitoes in forested areas. Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice. In severe cases, it can lead to hemorrhagic fever and organ failure.

These are just a few examples of mosquito-borne diseases, and there are many other viruses and parasites transmitted by mosquitoes that can cause illness in humans.

Prevention measures such as mosquito control, personal protection (e.g., repellents, long clothing), and vaccination (where available) are essential for reducing the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

Many of the diseases it carries can be deadly. If you think you have a mosquito problem click here and get in touch with your local exterminators. They will help you eradicate the issue and protect your home and family.

Why Anyone Can be Affected

Female mosquitoes are automatically attracted to humans and have a natural ability to find blood vessels and extract blood. Scientists have adopted an array of approaches, including radiating male mosquitoes and releasing ones with genes that prevent fertility. However, they still do not know exactly what it is about humans that attract mosquitoes.

This is something that is currently being worked on, identifying this will make it significantly easier to create effective mosquito traps and prevent humans from being bitten.

That’s the bottom line, mosquitoes do not appear to be choosy regarding which person they bite, it is literally the first one they find. Once bitten, you will either suffer an irritating red spot or you will have contracted a disease that needs medical help to survive. You won’t know straight away whether you’ve been infected or not, only time can answer this.

Prevention

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How to Stop Mosquito Bites is the question we are all asking. That’s why it’s essential that you cover exposed skin in mosquito repellant and stay as covered up as possible.  This prevents mosquitoes from getting to your skin and biting you.

Don’t forget, most of the diseases they spread don’t have vaccines or medications. You simply need to let your body fight the illness and hope you survive. That’s why eradicating mosquitoes has become a global issue, it could save millions of lives.