7 Interesting Facts About Mosquitoes

Spring is moving on into summer and most of us couldn’t be more excited! Unfortunately, the arrival of sun and warm weather also means the arrival of those pesky little insects we all love to hate: mosquitoes. Whether we like it or not, they are usually a part of our lives during warmer months. But there is probably a lot we don’t know about these unwanted tagalongs. Brush up on your mosquito trivia with these interesting insect facts:

A cranefly belonging to the species of Tipula oleracea

This is a crane fly — not a mosquito.

1. Crane flies are not mosquitoes.

If you’ve ever seen a giant, long-legged, winged creature flitting about your porch light (or in your house!) and thought “wow, that mosquito is huge!” you are probably confusing mosquitoes with crane flies. However, these giant bugs do carry the moniker “mosquito hawks.” Despite this title, crane flies do not eat mosquitoes and do not bite humans. Nevertheless, they can be up to an inch and a half long and, therefore, pretty terrifying.

2. Only female mosquitoes bite.

Because female mosquitoes are the ones that lay eggs, they need to feast upon our blood when it’s time to reproduce. Males will munch on flower nectar instead and will only be a bother to humans when they buzz around our heads. When females aren’t reproducing, they stick to flower nectar, as well. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to tell the difference between a male and female mosquito, unless you’re looking through a magnifying glass.

3. Some species don’t bite humans at all.

There are certain species of mosquitoes that only feast on the blood of non-human animals. Interestingly, the Culiseta melanura species almost exclusively gnaws on birds and Uranotaenia sapphirina enjoy the blood of reptiles and amphibians.

4. They can sense CO2 from up to 75 feet away.

Giving off carbon dioxide is one of the ways we attract mosquitoes to us. It signals dinnertime is here! A female mosquito who detects CO2 in the air will buzz around in that area until she traces the wafting gas back to its original source.

5. Thoughts on which repellents actually work are mixed.

The CDC only lists four substances that are efficient at repelling mosquitos: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (or para-menthane-diol). There are other suggestions for natural repellent products, yet we might have to rely on more anecdotal evidence of their efficacy.

6. There are about 14,000 times more mosquitoes on the planet than people.

While there are about 7 billion or so people on the planet, there are an estimated 100 trillion mosquitoes buzzing around us. There are about 3,500 different species of mosquitoes on Earth, although only a few hundred or so dine on human blood (which probably doesn’t make us feel much better).

7. It would take 1.1 million mosquitoes to drink all the blood in a human body.

Not that you asked, but that’s a lot, huh? The Asian tiger mosquito, a common pest in North America, consumes about 5 microliters of blood at a time. Given that there are about 5.5 liters of blood in the human body, it would take over a million of these winged beasts to completely drain a person. Compared to that, one pesky bite doesn’t seem so bad.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

90 comments

Maureen G
Maureen Gabout a month ago

We have a lot of pot plants and we regularly go around tipping out the water from the dishes the pots sit in so as not to attract mosquitoes.

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Carl R
Carl R1 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Carl R
Carl R2 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Joanna M
Joanna M2 months ago

Interesting!

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Summerannie M
Summerannie M2 months ago

Mozzies are always attracted to bite people who eat or drink sugary things and alcohol too. If you dont drink it or eat it you are more than likely not be bitten. However, if you want to keep them away and repel them then use Eucalyptus Oil and smear yourself with it b/c Mozzies just cant stand Eucalyptus oil. I used to get bitten and I havent been bitten for decades and if I was going to do something outside ie a Bbq then Id slather myself with eucalyptus oil and that'd fix them.
Works 200% effective and even better if you dont eat or drink sugary things.
Thanks for sharing.

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Lori A
Lori A2 months ago

Mosquitoes are blamed for the birth defects caused by herbicides and pesticides.

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Amy C
Amy C2 months ago

what if they all get diseased

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Amy C
Amy C2 months ago

there are too many mosquitos

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Amy C
Amy C2 months ago

thanks

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Joemar K
Joemar K2 months ago

Thanks

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