Mosquitoes are common outdoor pests in St. Louis, but how much do you really know about them? Here we’re sharing our top ten little known facts about mosquitoes.
- Only female mosquitoes bite. Male and female mosquitoes feed mainly on fruits and plant nectar. However, females also need the protein found in blood to help eggs develop. A female mosquito will rest for a few days after biting, then lay her eggs.
- Mosquitoes don’t have teeth. Female mosquitoes don’t actually bite. What you’re feeling is a long, pointed mouthpart called a proboscis. Mosquitoes use the serrated proboscis to pierce through the skin to locate capillary. They then draw blood from one of these tubes.
- The average lifespan of a mosquito is less than two months. Males have the shortest lives, usually less than 10 days. However, females can live about 6-8 weeks with ideal conditions.
- Mosquitoes have six legs. They also have scaled wings, two large compound eyes and two ocelli.
- Mosquitoes have been around since the Jurassic period, making them approximately 210 million years old.
- The reaction from a mosquito bite is caused by saliva. Most people have an allergic reaction to a mosquito’s saliva, which causes the bite area to swell and itch.
- Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes. Darker clothing retains more heat than light-colored clothes, and mosquitoes are drawn to heat.
- Fish and dragonflies are a mosquitoes top predator. Mosquitofish feed on mosquito larvae and dragonfly larvae eats mosquito larvae.
- Mosquito is Spanish for “little fly.” This term reportedly originated in the early 16th century.
- Mosquitoes hibernate. Mosquitoes prefer temperatures over 80 degrees, and are cold-blooded. At temperatures below 50 degrees, mosquitoes begin their hibernation for winter.