Mosquitoes in the summer.
After the first warm days of spring you will most likely encounter your first mosquito. The trip to the countryside with the family can end in frustration and constant scratching. Mosquitoes are evening and night active insects. The sound of flying mosquitoes is annoying especially when sitting on the terrace in the evening or at night and you want to sleep. In our towns mosquitoes find shelter in our houses and sheds. Living in such close proximity to humans also makes us their prey. The bite of a mosquito can be extremely itchy and leave large welts on the skin. The itching feeling is caused by an injected protein that stops the blood from clotting and is deposited by the mosquito whilst sucking our blood. The itching sensation will usually subside within one or two days, but during that time will rob you of your sleep and nerves.
When you are on vacation and in the confined space such as a caravan, a tent or even in your hotel room, it is often hard to relax because of the fear of being bitten by a mosquito. Mosquitos flying through the room at night and passing by your ear can rob you of your sleep in the fear of getting bitten.
When travelling to tropical areas mosquitoes can also be cause for serious diseases such as malaria. The outbreak of malaria can be prevented by medication and it is therefore essential to take the prophylaxis when travelling to tropical countries. The best way to avoid being bitten by a mosquito is by keeping the mosquitoes away and not let them come near you. Therefore it is recommendable to get an effective protection against mosquitoes. Especially allergic people, children and elderly should take care not to be bitten by a mosquito. With every mosquito bite parasites, viruses and bacteria are injected into our blood. Normally our immune system will eliminate the intruders, but if the immune system is weakened or not fully developed, then it is possible that the bitten person becomes ill.
Mosquitoes during the colder season.
If there is a mild winter with constant temperatures over 6°C, then it is also quite likely that we will encounter mosquitoes. If the temperature drops below 6°C the mosquito will retreat and hibernate. Mosquitoes need stagnant water for breeding. Our towns provide many warm and wet locations which are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Therefore it is not unusual to find mosquitoes in towns during the winter season.
Home remedies against mosquitoes.
There are many home remedies for soothing the itching sensation of the mosquito bite. Cooling the area with ice and then covering it with vinegar is one of these and said to help. Some people believe that a fresh mosquito bite should be covered with an onion, with lemon juice or with the oil of a tea tree. But in the end, the itching will start sooner or later.
The most common cause for the infection of a mosquito bite results from the constant scratching. The only way to avoid this is by not scratching the bite. If a mosquito bite has become infected it should be treated with an antibacterial cream.
Medicine against itching mosquito bites.
There are a great number of creams and gels available from the pharmacies. Many contain the hormone histamine which reduces the itch. If the mosquito bite has become infected because of intensive scratching it should be treated to avoid bacteria and viruses from getting into the wound.
Why do some people get bitten more than others?
Some believe that people with ”sweet blood” are more likely to get bitten by a mosquito, but this has no scientific basis. The mosquito is not attracted by the taste of blood but by other smells created by the body, the body temperature and the skin moisture. Since every person has its own body odor, some people attract more mosquitoes than others. Scientific studies show that the main substances attracting a mosquito are cholesterol and carbon dioxide. The proportion of these two substances will either attract or repel them. The dampness and warmth of the skin are other factors of attraction. Therefore frequent showers and repellent creams are a good protection against mosquito bites.
What can I do against mosquitoes?
The best protection against mosquitoes is to close all windows and doors, sleep under mosquito nets and the use mosquito repellent creams. But this is something that does not fit into our everyday life. As an alternative we can “dissuade” the mosquito from coming into our homes by using repellents offered by Gardigo. Gardigo’s mosquito and fly repellent products effectively keep mosquitoes away from your home, your bedroom, caravan, tent or hotel room. There are various methods of doing this: the Gardigo Insect Free uses scents that drive away mosquitoes and other insects but cannot be smelled by humans nor are they harmful. The Gardigo devices using UV light attract flying insects and kill them when they come too near to the high voltage mesh. The Fly and Mosquito Repellent as well as Vario 3-in-1 products emit an ultrasonic sound, not perceivable to humans, but highly stressful for flies and mosquitoes. As a result they avoid the areas where they are confronted with the noise.
The appearance of the mosquito.
The mosquito is a two winged flying insect with a very delicate structure. The size of the mosquito can vary due to species and age between 1-15mm. The weight of a mosquito is approximately 2 mg. The female mosquito is usually larger than the male. The female can be distinguished from the male by shorter maxillary palps situated directly to the left and right of the proboscis which is used to penetrate the skin of the victims. The legs are extremely long and delicate and allow the mosquito to land on nearly every surface. This ability and the weight are the key factors why we very seldom notice that we have become its victim.
The mosquito is a semi-parasite. After the female mosquito has mated it needs proteins in order to successfully mature the eggs. Therefore the blood of other animals is essential for breeding and the survival of the species. The mosquito sucks the blood from its victims by using its proboscis. The proboscis has two channels and is inserted into the skin. The mosquito uses one channel to inject its saliva in order to prevent the blood from clotting, the other channel is used as a suction mechanism drawing the blood from its victims veins. The male mosquito on the other hand is not equipped to draw blood from other animals and does not need to do so as the blood is only essential for the development of the eggs. Mosquitoes generally feed on liquids such as nectar or tree sap.
Life cycle of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes love moist warm climates. The eggs hatch into larvae larvae which need stagnant water for their development. You should therefore make sure that all stagnant water, such as in water barrels, is either kept totally dark or fully dried up. Check your garden for pots and cans, drains and puddles which do not dry up within one day. Stagnant water is the breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Mating takes place in swarms. Especially at dusk you will often see swarms of mosquitoes dancing in midair. The swarm participants are exclusively males. With their dance they try to attract female mosquitoes to fly through the swarm for mating. The male mosquito can recognize the female mosquito by the frequency of the wing beat. A few days after mating the female mosquito will lay its eggs near or into stagnant water, sometimes attaching the eggs under the leaves of the plants. After the larvae have hatched they will move to the surface with their back-end sticking out of the water to breathe. The larvae feed on algae, bacteria and other microbes in the water. Within a week they metamorphose into pupae by shedding their skin, allowing further growth. The pupae do not feed and are only a stadium of transformation. After a few days or longer, depending on the temperature, the back end of the pupae splits and the adult mosquito emerges.
Most cases only the female mosquito will hibernate in warm damp places and the male will die in autumn.