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Blood sucking varmints

Updated on July 7, 2009

How I hate mosquitos

The Dreaded Varmint You Can't Seem to Escape

Isn't it odd that something so small and so fragile could be the satanic brother of the vampire himself? I am finding out that this summer season is at a record high for the birth of mosquitoes; at least in my backyard and surrounding area. No matter how much bug spray I apply, these critters are thinking that I'm spraying sugar water on myself instead and are risking the bad taste of OFF, in order to feast upon my already swollen skin. I have to be outside... I've got gardens to tend, flowers to weed, puppies to housebreak. Even the blazing sun, which is enough to make me pass out, isn't even phasing these blood thirsty, winged devils. I decided to find a way to prevent more of them from entering my vicinity. This is what I found...

Aw, It's a Boy and about a Million Girls!

Mosquitoes have four life stages or cycles; egg, larva, pupa and adult. The first three life stages are all spent in water, so if you have pools, ponds or lakes nearby, watch out for those forming babies! Every 5-14 days (of course there are premature mosquitoes, why not?), millions of tiny mosquitoes arise from their water surfaces and spend 14-30 days making all of us miserable. The females live considerably longer than the males (who says that the female is the weaker sex?).

After hatching from eggs in the water, the little larvae are as ugly as they will be pesky. Big heads on segmented bodies, housing mouth brushes for feeding and no legs. They breathe through spiracles on their 8th segment (how many are there...yuck!) and begin their life eating bacteria, algae and other little oddities it finds in the water. They like warmer water so fill those bird feeders with ice cubes!

To become pupae, they shed their ugly exoskeletons. They then form into something that looks like a comma (,) and the head is merged into the thorax. These curvy little pests go to the surface to breathe. After a few days, they then emerge as the lovely creatures we know as mosquitoes!

I'll Take That Bug Spray in a Size Large, Please

The warmer the temps, the faster the development of mosquitoes. Flying mosquitoes like to rest in grass and other kinds of foliage. They will mate within a few days of emerging as adults (horny little things too). The males form a large cloud in the sky and the females swim into the swarm to mate. Kind of like a bar scene for bugs.

The males, sad to say (I'm shedding a tear), live about a week. They feed on nectar and other natural sugar forms. Females like these tasty treats too but need blood to develop eggs. So, each time you get bitten, it is a female and you are giving her future babies a quick transplant. After a good meal (of you), the female will rest a few days, letting the eggs develop and digesting the blood. Once developed, pop! into the water the eggs go and the whole process begins again.

Look at the Head on that Kid!

Mosquito heads are keen feeders and sensory preceptors. It has eyes and antennae as well. The antennae pick up odors. The head is elongated in shape and the stinger is used for feeding. The body, or thorax has six legs and a pair of wings; making the mosquito an insect. The abdomen is the lovely part of this vixen, that gets engorged with your blood. The eggs develop in the abdomen too, so when you kill a bloody mosquito, you've killed her eggs too (please, kill a mosquito today).

Stop Breathing

Carbon dioxide (which we emit) and organic substances that we come in contact with (like sweat, drool, food, etc.) draw a mosquito to you.  Humidity and wetness play a part in attraction too.  So, if you are running through the sprinkler, eating a sticky Popsicle and yelling and screaming a lot, you are prime rib to the waiting blood sucker! 

Could You Brush Your Stinger First, Please?

In order for a mosquito to draw blood (they are the best phlebotomists around), they inject saliva into the source first.  The saliva has some protein in it.  Their saliva affects our vascular system and aids in clotting after they are full.  Actually, scientist are studying mosquitoes for heart related diseases because of their blood clotting inhibitors and the fact that they can dilate our capillaries.   On the other hand, they are disease carrying agents that can cause viruses and carry parasites without catching these things themselves (no Ms. Mosquito, you take the virus first, I insist).   Mosquitoes are estimated to transmit disease to more than 700 million people a year in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico and Asia; many of these people dying.  I guess I am a bit relieved to see North America missing from this list, but 700 million people is nothing to be relieved about.

Die Sucker, Die!

There are some ways to control these pests; so far, I have had little success.  Control of the larvae seems to be the best bet.  Removing stagnant water and breeding areas, pesticides (but I am not fond of killing wildlife to remove mosquitoes), Garlic Oil (see, I told you it was a relative of the vampire) which will repel for up to 4 weeks and natural means such as breeding dragonflies (they love the little buggers) and building bat houses (their fav dessert) or getting fish that will consume the little larvae before they can leave home; are all ways to keep the population down.  Bass, Bluegill, Catfish, Goldfish, Guppies and Minnows love to eat mosquito larvae.

Pour some Ointment on Me

If bitten, the itching and swelling that occurs is a response of our antibodies to the mosquito's saliva.  Benadryl (pill or lotion), antihistamines, calamine lotion, ammonia and warm water can all provide relief. 

I will soon be scouring the camping stores looking for netting to protect me from my hazardous backyard.  I've gone through 2 bottles of spray and am housing at least 20 bites on my body.  I'm sure that if I checked the mosquitoes closely enough, I might even find little cd players on their bodies playing, "Girls just wanna have fun". 

Comments

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    • ljrc1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Cole 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      thanks and you're welcome doodle!

    • DoodleLyn profile image

      DoodleLyn 

      9 years ago from Upstate New York, USA

      Congratulations on your nomination. I hate mosquitos! Thanks for the info.

    • ljrc1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Cole 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Jerilee, I don't know of anyone that likes em either!

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Your enemy is definitely my enemy.

    • ljrc1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Cole 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      thanks everyone! Little did I know that my disdain over mosquitos would bring me notoriety!

    • profile image

      Useful Knowledge 

      9 years ago

      This is a great hub. I really like your writing style. Keep up the great work!

    • profile image

      Useful Knowledge 

      9 years ago

      This is a great hub. I really like your writing style. Keep up the great work!

    • ProCW profile image

      ProCW 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      Congratulations on your nomination, ljrc1961!

      You now have a new fan.

      We, the HubNuggets Team, wish you great success... fame... fortune... etc.

      All the best!

      - ProCW & the HubNuggets Team

      http://hubnuggets.info

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      I really enjoyed this informative and well-written hub about mosquitoes. Who would have thought mosquitoes could be interesting! Great Hub! :D

    • ljrc1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Cole 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      thanks Ripple...glad you liked it! thanks also for the nomination!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Gosh we live in a country where there are mosquitoes.  And you just made them come alive in this hub...singing "girls just wanna to have fun!" LOL 

      Congratulations ljrc!  This blood sucking varmints caught the eye of the Hubnuggets Team and this hub is nominated for the Hubnuggets!  Yooohoo. Go fly over there now by clicking this link and join the Nuggets Feast! http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Self-Publishing-New-Aut...

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