According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA, and yes there is actually an association!), there are over 3,000 different mosquito species throughout the world, however, only 175 have been found in the United States currently.
Here are some interesting facts about mosquitoes:
- West Virginia has the fewest species with only 26 identified and Texas has the most with over 85.
- The word mosquito is Spanish for “Little Fly”.
- Male mosquitoes only live for about 10 days while females can live up to 60 days.
- Male mosquitoes find the females by listening to the noise generated from their wings. Females can flap their wings up to 500 times per second.
- After the male mates with the female, she needs blood to develop the eggs.
- Typically both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar from flowers and plants.
- A female can draw 1.5 times her body weight in blood and then rests for a few days and can lay up to 300 eggs although 100 is typical. The cluster of eggs called “rafts” are laid on stagnant water and only need 1” of water.
- Females can lay up to 3 times before dying. The eggs sit in water for about 10 days and hatch into larvae called “wigglers”. The wigglers feed on organic matter in the water and oxygen in the air and then are encased in a cocoon known as papue. The pague sits for several days then emerges as an adult mosquito.
- Mosquitoes like warmer temperature, above 80 degrees. When it drops below 50, most lay eggs that sit dormant until spring and the female dies, or some specifies actually hibernate.
So, how do mosquitoes know where to find us?
Most mosquitoes can smell our breath! They have receptors that can detect Carbon Dioxide which we exhale as well as certain chemicals or smells in our sweet, skin lotion, and even perfume. Once they find where we are, they use heat sensors to find the warm areas of our skin caused by the best blood flow.
How To Avoid Mosquitoes
- Wear light clothing, dark fabrics retain heat which attracts them.
- Get rid of any standing water. Check out this PDF from AMCA for details.
- Use a fan…mosquitoes are not good flyers, they cannot fight a common house fan.
- Use a deterrent such as a spray or natural plants. The following are suggested:
- Lemon Balm
- Cat Nip
Find a spray that works for you! Go Natural!
Most commercial mosquito sprays contain DEET and other chemicals which are still being researched continually for their effects on our skin and health in general. There are some brands that are DEET-free and use lemon eucalyptus such as the Cutter’s Brand plus the internet is full of recipes for homemade and natural deterrents, here are a few from accidentallygreen.com.
- Place leaves and stems of catnip and rosemary into a cup of boiling water and let set for 1 hour. Use the liquid in a spray bottle.
- Mix 10 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil with 5 drops tea tree oil, 10 drops cedarwood oil, and5 drops geranium oil, and 1 oz jojoba oil. Rub it on your skin, but test a small area first.
- Crush parsley with apple cider vinegar and rub it on your skin.
- You can also try your own concoction with the following ingredients: castor oil, cedar oil, cinnamon oil, citronella oil, clove oil, geranium oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil and rosemary oil.
- And finally my favorite: Basil, water, and Vodka!
Bug Repellent Machines
Finally, you can try a commercial bug repellent machine. ThermaCELL makes a portable unit for individuals or a lantern that covers about 15’ diameter. It has a small butane fuel cell and burns/heats a treated pad and there is no noise, no smell, and no heat. I’ve used it a few times and it works great.
About the author:
Dave Solberg: Managing Editor, RV Repair Club
For the last 25 years, Dave has conducted RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles, authored an RV handbook reference guide and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.
RV Repair Club is your go-to online resource for enthusiasts who want quality RV maintenance, repair, and upgrade information – a community where passionate RVers can come together to gather knowledge and share their experiences.
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