Mosquitoes are biting, blood sucking insects that tend to lay eggs and breed in many different locations that have standing or stagnant water sources. The female mosquito may lay her eggs in such places as a child’s wading pool, a birdbath, drainage ditch, or even a plugged gutter. Any area or container that may hold standing water is a potential breeding ground for these insects.
Mosquitoes tend to come out in the evening hours, and are commonly found in heavily wooded areas. There are also species that will bite during daylight hours, and some that solely bite bird or mammals as opposed to humans. Only female mosquitoes bite, because they need the protein in the blood to produce their eggs.
Some signs that mosquitoes may be present usually include finding the eggs in standing water, visibly seeing the insects flying around, or getting that unpleasant bite. Many times people discover that they have already been bitten before they realised there was a mosquito nearby.
There are several common species of mosquitoes with the Aedes mosquitoes being well known lately, due to the dengue fever outbreaks. Aedes mosquitoes are identified by the black and white stripes on their body.
The life cycle of the mosquito includes four stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. Under optimal conditions, the egg of an Aedes mosquito can hatch into a larva in less than a day. About four days later, the larva develops into a pupa, from which an adult mosquito will emerge after two days. Three days after the mosquito has bitten a person and taken in blood, it will lay eggs, and the cycle begins again.
Mosquitoes are considered pests because they bite and create painful, itchy bumps called wheals. Many people can have a severe allergic reaction to a mosquito bite. During the biting process, as the female feeds on the victim’s blood, she also injects her saliva into the victim. The protein in the saliva is what causes the unfavorable reaction to the bite, and the saliva can also transmit diseases.
In order to get rid of mosquitoes, efforts should be made to prevent them in the first place. Keeping your home environment free from standing and stagnating water is a good start. Make sure large swimming pools have working filters in place to trap any eggs, empty or cover any smaller pools, change birdbath water frequently, keep gutters and outside drains running freely. Make sure any screens in the home are free from holes and tears to keep mosquitoes out.
In Singapore, there is the “Do the 10-minute 5-step Mozzie Wipeout” which outlines the key areas to look out for and ensuring that no stagnant water are in these places.
Other precautions to prevent bites include staying indoors after dusk, wearing light colored clothing such as long pants and long sleeved shirts in the evenings, and using an insect repellant. Keeping candles or torches burning when outdoors in the evening also helps to repel these pests.