Scratching a mosquito bite is inevitable. With all the time you will spend outdoors this summer, it will be nearly impossible to go all season without swatting away a mosquito from your personal space. Despite the nuisance of mosquitoes in Michigan, they can pose a greater threat in other places on the globe, and that threat may come this way.
Mosquitoes like feeding on humans because it will help them reproduce. Only female mosquitoes will bite, and they will take that blood to lay fertile eggs. Many species of mosquitoes continuously breed, which means more frequent bites. A female will search for blood every other day to lay more eggs.
As for male mosquitoes, they will feed primarily on nectar from flowers. In fact, both males and females will feed on nectar and use it as their chief source of energy. The simplest way to tell them apart is by looking at the antennae. The male mosquito has feathery antennae, which are used to help them detect their potential mates’ wingbeats. The females have more plain antennae, and their mouthparts are different, which help them pierce human skin.
There may be some reasons that could make you a more attractive target for mosquitoes than others. For instance, they have found mosquitoes to prefer Type O blood nearly twice as much as Type A, with Type B falling in the middle.
Mosquitoes can also detect the carbon dioxide that you exhale. They have an organ called the maxillary palp, which can pick up carbon dioxide in your breath from as far as 164 feet away. At a closer distance, mosquitoes can smell lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other substances expelled through sweat. They are also attracted to people with higher body temperatures.
Their eyes can also pick up darker colors, like black, dark blue or red. That means if you wear clothing with darker shades, you become an easier and more attractive target.
One key defense against mosquitoes is to limit the areas where they can lay their eggs. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, which make them more common around wet areas like marshes and lakes. However, it takes only half an inch of water for them to breed. By removing any standing water in your yard, you can lower the amount of mosquitoes.
Most mosquitoes in Michigan are active around dusk and dawn. If you can, avoid being outside during those times. Otherwise, wear long sleeves and pants, and use bug spray to help repel them. Mosquitoes are also not strong flyers, so using a fan or going out on a breezy night can keep them away.
In the United States, most people bitten by mosquitoes will feel only the red bump and itchy welt. But recently mosquitoes have been found to spread West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis and dengue fever. Around the world, they will also spread malaria and yellow fever.
Eastern Equine encephalitis is carried by certain types of mosquitoes in Michigan. People over 50 and under 15 are at the greatest risk of developing symptoms from the disease, but just roughly 5 percent of human infections result in illness. Fortunately, it is rare to contract, and they infected only 10 people in Michigan in 2019.
Fully removing mosquitoes is close to impossible, but with the right help, you can severely limit their breeding potential in and around your property. For more information on mosquitoes and other summertime pests, contact Van Den Berge Pest Control at 616-392-7367.
Trust the locally owned, widely renowned experts at Van Den Berge Pest Control for all of your pest needs. With over 100 years of combined experience throughout the Holland, MI-based pest control team, you know you’re in excellent hands with our state-certified experts.