Mosquitoes have existed on Earth for more than 100 million years. In that time, they have evolved as pollinators and important food sources for bats, birds, fish, and numerous other creatures. They’ve also developed into one of the most unpopular pests on the planet. Aside from inflicting itchy bites, some mosquitoes can transmit dangerous diseases.
However, despite how well-known the mosquito is around the world, there are still countless myths circulating about this insect’s behavior and abilities. What’s fact, and what’s fiction? Let’s find out below!
True or False: All mosquitoes can spread disease.
False. Not all mosquitoes are capable of transmitting disease—in fact, not all mosquitoes bite humans or animals. Only female mosquitoes will bite other creatures to get a blood meal, which she needs to produce eggs.
Only certain types of mosquitoes can become vectors: creatures that spread germs to people and animals. This can happen when certain types of female mosquitoes consume blood from an infected person or animal.
True or False: Certain blood types attract more mosquitoes
True. This was discovered in a study conducted by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) that compared the Aedes albopictus mosquito’s preferences for blood types A, B, AB and O. Those with type O blood attracted more mosquitoes than the other groups.
However, there are many other factors at work when it comes to how many mosquitoes you attract. These insects are also drawn to higher body temperatures, the carbon dioxide you breathe out, substances in sweat like ammonia and lactic acid, and even red, black, or dark blue clothing.
True or False: Mosquitoes only lay eggs on standing water.
False. Every mosquito uses water when laying eggs, but only some species lay their eggs on standing water. Many species will lay their eggs around or right next to standing water, such as the Culex mosquito, an extremely common genus in the United States. Bottom line: to avoid mosquitoes, it’s still a good idea to get rid of stagnant water on your property and take care of any swampy areas with poor drainage.
True or False: Mosquitoes feed only on blood.
False. As mentioned above, female mosquitoes are the only type that actually partakes in blood meals (for the purpose of egg production), and that isn’t even their main diet.
As larvae, mosquitoes feed on algae and microorganisms that live in the wet or boggy areas around them. Once they reach the pupal stage, mosquitoes don’t need to eat. Adult mosquitoes get most of their nutrition from flower nectar. While obtaining nectar, they act as pollinators.
True or False: Drinking alcohol outdoors can make you a mosquito magnet.
True, as far as anyone can tell. Before cracking open a cold one with the boys, make sure to cover yourself in some strong mosquito repellent. In a 2002 study, the percentage of mosquito landings increased significantly on the test subjects after ingesting alcohol.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our series: