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Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are among the top 4 most dangerous animals in the world, and there are approximately 175 species of mosquitoes found in North America.

What do mosquitoes look like?

Although it varies depending on species, most mosquitoes have a grayish colored body with distinctive white stripes stretching across the abdomen. Their bodies are covered in scales that may be blue, green, or silver. They have a narrow body with long, thin legs, a long nose called the proboscis used for feeding, and one set of transparent wings. The size of an adult mosquito ranges from ¼ to ⅜ of an inch. Mosquito larvae have large heads, and their abdomens resemble worms. Larvae are found in areas of standing water, and are commonly observed moving through the water in a wiggly movement.

What are the unique characteristics of mosquitoes?

Only female mosquitoes feed on blood, but males and females alike will feed on plant nectar and other plant juices as a source of food. Females will feed from any vertebrate animal, but most species prefer to feed on warm-blooded animals. Mosquitoes are responsible for spreading many serious diseases and pathogens to people, pets, livestock, and other animals. Some of these diseases include West Nile virus, yellow fever, malaria, tularemia, Zika virus, and canine heartworm. 

What are the habits of mosquitoes?

Most mosquitoes are active at dawn and dusk, hiding in dense vegetation during the heat of the day. Mosquitoes avoid the sun because they need water to survive, and the sun causes moisture to dry. 

Where are mosquitoes commonly found?

Mosquitoes are commonly found near standing water, since this is where both breeding occurs and larvae grow into adults. Common breeding sites for mosquitoes are stream and lake edges, clogged gutters, bird baths, wading pools, wheelbarrows, and piles of trash. 

What are the risks of mosquitoes?

Dawn and dusk are the most common times to be bitten by a mosquito. A mosquito bite will leave a raised, red, and itchy welt on the skin. Although annoying, the bites themselves are usually not harmful unless they are scratched open and become infected. However, mosquitoes are carriers of many dangerous diseases, and people that are commonly around mosquitoes have a higher chance of contracting a life-threatening disease such as West Nile virus, yellow fever, malaria, or the Zika virus.

 

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