The 1995 movie Mosquito is a hilarious and cheesy attempt at a horror movie. While it’s obviously fictional, it still says something about humanity’s fear of these terrible biting pests. People certainly don’t believe in giant mutant mosquitoes, but there are plenty of other myths about our buzzing, biting enemies. They may not be as extreme as mosquitoes feeding on alien blood and growing exponentially, but these common misconceptions are just as false!
We’re here to set the record straight. Here’s the truth behind five common myths about mosquitoes.
MYTH: After a long and cold winter, there are fewer mosquitoes in the summer.
TRUTH: Unfortunately, mosquitoes are a lot hardier than you might think. This means they can survive in below-zero temperatures. Since they are cold-blooded, they simply become inactive when the cold weather arrives, and they go into hibernation before the first frost. In addition, mosquito eggs are cold-hardy and can easily withstand a winter. They lie dormant until the weather warms up, at which point they hatch and go on their merry way. It seems counterintuitive, but higher amounts of snow during the winter can actually lay the groundwork for a heavier mosquito season, since the snowmelt results in puddles of water that are perfect for mosquito breeding when the spring arrives.
MYTH: All mosquitoes bite.
TRUTH: It seems like all mosquitoes bite because the ones you see buzzing around you are always out for your blood. But in reality, only female mosquitoes bite. They need the specific nutrients in blood to produce eggs. Male mosquitoes only eat plant matter, and not people, so you’ll rarely see a male mosquito bothering you.
MYTH: After biting you the mosquito dies.
TRUTH: Many assume that since some bees die after they sting, it must also be true of mosquitoes. However, mosquitoes bite, not sting. So, after a female mosquito bites you, she will go off to lay eggs and eventually come back for more. It is true that some species of bees die after they sting their victims.
MYTH: Mosquitoes prefer people with sweet blood.
TRUTH: Some people like to say that mosquitoes love them because they’re sweeter. Unfortunately, the taste of your blood has nothing to do with why a mosquito comes after you. The CO2 in your breath and the odors you release play a bigger role in attracting these pests. However, scientific studies have shown that people of certain blood types are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than others. People with Type O blood were about twice as likely to be bitten than those with Type A blood. Plus, about 85% of people secrete a chemical signal through their skin indicating their blood type, and mosquitoes are more attracted to people who secrete this chemical, regardless of what blood type they are.
MYTH: Consuming alcohol does not affect your attractiveness to mosquitoes.
TRUTH: Sorry, but think again! Enjoying a few beers or cocktails outside on a summer evening can in fact make you more appealing to thirsty mosquitoes. According to a 2002 French study, consuming 12 ounces of beer makes you more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes.
Now that you can separate fact from fiction when it comes to mosquitoes, you are better equipped to fight them off! Be sure to stay on top of regular mosquito prevention like removing standing water or wearing long sleeves and repellent, but if you need professional help, you can always call DC Mosquito Squad!
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