Thursday, June 22, 2006

It's Mosquito Season!!! A Public Service Announcement from Your Lady Jan

It's Mosquito Season!!!!!

Each summer we have unique events happen in nature -- and because we live in densely populated areas and no longer have balanced habitat, some of these "events" turn into problems. Mosquitoes often become a problem...and once again, they are up to their old tricks...

It's only the females that bite:

Pregnant female mosquitoes need a meal of blood to get protein they need to lay their eggs. The female mates only once, storing sperm in her body to be dispensed as it is needed for the rest of her life. If you look closely at a female mosquito, you will see only one thin needle-like proboscis. However, there are four different tools inside this sheath. Two of them act like electric carving knives, with serrated edges that slice up and down to drill a hole in the donor’s skin. One acts like a hose, injecting saliva which thins the blood, prevents it from clotting, and makes it easier to suck. The fourth tool acts as a straw or syringe, drawing the blood from the capillary into the mosquito’s body. In 90 seconds of sucking, she can take in more than her weight in blood, supplying enough protein to enable her to lay several hundred eggs. After she’s done laying her eggs, she immediately begins to look for another blood meal so she can lay more. If she escapes predators and other disasters, she can lay eggs some 20 times before dying. Fortunately, only about one out of every 200 female mosquitoes lives long enough to reproduce.

The most Dangerous Animal in Africa:

When Teddy Roosevelt returned from an expedition to the Amazon, he was asked what the most dangerous animal he had encountered was. He replied without hesitation, "An insect!" and indeed it was so. Roosevelt contracted malaria in Brazil and was so weakened that he never fully recovered and died not long afterward. Until the 1900s, half of all human deaths could be traced to mosquitoes because of the two devastating diseases they carry: malaria and yellow fever.

West Nile virus

  • West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquito bites. It cannot be transmitted
    from person to person.
  • Avoid outdoor activity from dusk to dawn.
  • Dress appropriately during peak mosquito hours (wear long sleeves).
  • Use mosquito repellents containing DEET.
  • Drain pools of water and remove objects that can hold stagnant water (old tires).

Avoid Mosquito Bites to Avoid Infection:

SOURCE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, and can infect people, horses, many types of birds, and some other animals.

Most people who become infected with West Nile virus will have either no symptoms or only mild ones. On rare occasions, infection can result in a severe and sometimes fatal illness known as West Nile encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain). The risk of severe disease is higher for persons 50 years of age and older.

What Can The Property Owner Do To Reduce Mosquitoes?

  • Get rid of old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles, or any water holding containers.
  • Fill in or drain any low places (puddles, ruts) in yard.
  • Keep drains, ditches, and culverts clean of weeds and trash so water will drain properly.
  • Cover trash containers to keep out rainwater.
  • Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets.
  • Empty plastic wading pool at least once a week and store it indoors when not is use.
  • Make sure your backyard pool is properly cared for while on vacation.
  • Fill in water-holding tree rot holes and hollow stumps with sand or concrete.
  • Change the water in birdbaths and plant pots, or dip trays at lease once each week.
  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery well trimmed around the house so adult mosquitoes will not hide there.

More Facts about West Nile

Some interesting facts about Mosquitoes:

  • Mosquito repellents don't repel. They hide you. The spray blocks the mosquito's sensors so they don't know you're there.
  • Mosquitoes have 47 teeth, but only use their proboscis to bite.
  • Only female mosquitoes bite.
  • Mosquitoes prefer women over men to bite, probably because only female mosquitoes go for blood. And they also find the smell of estrogen and sweat to be especially appealing.
  • Mosquitoes are attracted to the color blue twice as much as to any other color.2002/ Of the million-plus species of insects on earth, 3,000 of them are mosquitoes. More than 165 of those live in the United States.
  • If you eat bananas, your skin will exude an odor that mosquitoes find attractive.
  • Wearing dark colors only makes you more of a target, because mosquitoes can see your silhouette against the lighter back ground.
  • Mosquitoes can smell your perspiration, and the carbon dioxide when you breath. (No wonder I've had mosquitoes fly up my nose! )


Granny said...

We've been lucky so far with the little pests but the flies are making up for it.

Maybe the flies eat the mosquitos? Now if only I could find something besides my cats to eat the flies.


megz_mum said...

Shame the warmer weather brings these little darlings!

ipodmomma said...

Jocelyn is REALLY allergic to bites... she gets huge red welts, and itches like crazy! fortunately there aren't too many here, but when we go home, ooh....

not nice!

no ants in our house, thankfully... :)))

Janice said...

Hi Ann,

Well, we had the files--now we have the mosquitoes!

How do that poem go? There was a woman who ate a fly.....

Hi Meg_mum,

Yep, and the warmer the weather the faster they pupate. . .er breed.

Hi Ipodmomma,

O-oo, that's bad, poor thing. Me and mine just have the regular reactions and that's bad enough.

That's good, the nasty ants would just take over--it's an invations!

Lady Jan~

Sarah Elaine said...

Never knew that bit about bananas... Interesting!

Janice said...

Hi Sarah,

Oh, yeah and it's true too. A few years ago we went camping with another family, and they brought bannas for a healthy snack. Any long story short they got mosquito bit a lot, and we didn't because we knew about the bannas thing.

Lady Jan~

Christine said...

Mosquito bites are the worst! If you are looking for a way to repell them, you may want to try the mosquito patch, an all natural alternative to the usual messy oils and sprays. Its only ingredient is Vitamin B. I spend every weekend at the beach, and I believe the patch works because I've been bite-free! Best of all I can even swim with the patch! You can purchase/find more info at Hope this helps!

Janice said...

Hi Christine,

It's always good to met someone new.

They are!

H-mm, I've never heard of the mosquito patch--thank you I'll have to check it out.

Lady Jan~