Mosquitoes are amazing creatures, that’s a fact you and I won’t deny. Just how amazing these insects actually are, will be more than clear after reading this huge overview of interesting mosquito facts. Did you know that mosquitoes are found around the world, except in Iceland? These and many more cool facts of the mosquito life will be revealed to you in this list of amazing and mind-blowing facts.
I’d be amazed if you’d still feel like killing a single mosquito after reading all these facts, but if you insist on protecting yourself from insect bites, I do have a solution for you. Over the years, my anti-mosquito strategies have been refined and improved, resulting in this ultimate overview of anti-mosquito solutions. It’s where I tried to help you guys find the most cost-effective methods to remove those blood-suckers from your neighborhood. That will come in handy after learning the most amazing things you’ll ever learn about these creatures…
1. Mosquitoes surf on winds over entire continents: You thought insects could not travel far? Huge African winds allow some species to carry their diseases 40 to 290 meters into the sky, potentially traveling over many thousands of miles. These large winds provide amazing mobility for the spread of diseases like Malaria, which causes issues for attempts to contain the problem.
2. Their primary food is nectar, not blood: The diet of the most beloved species on the planet does not actually consist of blood, but of nectar. Who would have thought that these blood-thirsty monsters attack flowers for their daily sugars? I surely didn’t, but it’s absolutely true. The reason they collect human blood, is mostly because they require it for making eggs. And no, they don’t have teeth either. Speaking of their ‘teeth’, those aren’t actually teeth, but hooks…
3. They bite with six needles, two of which have hooks: This might sound a bit disturbing, but please bear with me while I try to explain it to you. Those blood-sucking pests don’t actually have teeth to bite you with. Instead, they are equipped with six tiny razor-sharp needles. The two outer needles have some creepy-looking hooks on them, used to keep the skin open while looking for blood vessels. Sounds as gross as it is.
4. A mosquito can’t get drunk if it bites bite a drunk person: While people with a beer or two in their stomach are likely to have some alcohol in their blood, it’s impossible for them to get a mosquito drunk from biting an intoxicated person. This is because the extracted blood is stored in a special pouch, not in the bloodstream of the insect itself.
5. Mosquito traps can capture up to 26,000 bugs in one hour: In a crazy rush hour during a warm and moist summer evening, insect traps such as these will collect an insane amount of individual bugs. The record is currently around 26,000 individuals in one hour, done by a trap in Florida. The reason? Well, hurricane Irma just hit the region, causing a boom of newborns. And it’s a swamp, of course.
6. They’re pretty fast fliers for their size: If you could run as fast as these critters can fly (1.5mph), you’d better not encounter a speed check from the police. Because if we could be that fast, we’d run 200mph, that comes down to about 320 kilometers per hour, if you like that type of speed calculation. Either way, it’s insanely fast. So fast, that if we’d do that, we would probably pop our eyeballs out. They also think about 100 times faster than us…
7. The biting isn’t done with teeth: Some people think that there’s a bunch of teeth attached to the mouth of the insect. Forty-seven, to be precise, because that’s what it looks like when you put it under a magnifying glass. However, the truth is that these 47 sharp edges around the mouth area are in fact biting hooks for gathering blood. It’s like a little saw on a needle, hooks to attach to your skin while sucking blood. The thought alone sends shivers down my spine.
8. They ‘see’ you by using heat alone: Their amazing eyes have all sorts of cool things we cannot experience, such as the ability to have thermal-sensory vision. It doesn’t stop there: Carbon dioxide, but also the odor are major factors in detecting the most delicious of human blood snacks. So there’s no way of running, make sure to fight back instead!
9. Their eyes actually look like honeycombs: While we are on the topic of eyeballs, look at this for a moment. If you put the many lenses of these insects under a microscope, an amazing pattern emerges: It’s almost as if bees have taken over the eye-structure of the mosquito! Every individual lens looks like a honeycomb hexagon. All of them linked together makes it pretty much resembling a honeycomb, so cool!
10. Repelling works better if you wear dark clothes: It’s very true that the color choice of your clothing matters for making you a bite target. You’ll be more likely to be a bite victim when you tend to wear light or colored clothing. This goes back to the idea that heat spots are more easily visible when you wear lighter clothes, thus making you more attractive for a blood-meal. So make sure to wear something more stealthy in the summertime, if you want your blood to not be stolen at night.
11. Winter time is when mosquitoes go away: Temperatures dropping below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celcius) are too cold for our flying friends. It’s when their bodies start to shut down slowly, moving them into what is known as ‘diapause‘. It’s very similar to hibernation (something you might know from bears), but not quite the same. Diapause is when they bury themselves into warm holes and delay themselves in development. No adults get born in this period, they stay in the same life cycle.
12. Their most efficient natural predators are bats: Summer is like an awesome buffet for bats, a single bat is able to eat a whopping 1,200 mosquitoes per hour! That comes down to about 6,000 to 8,000 insects a night, pretty impressive for just one cute little bat. So don’t be scared next time you meet one of them flying around in the evening, they are actually amazing little helpers we should be very thankful for.
13. Listerine mouthwash has good repellent properties: The essential oils inside this particular brand of mouth wash will be able to keep insects away pretty effectively. It contains peppermint, thyme, wintergreen and eucalyptus oils which have been proved to work as repellents. Mouthwash can be applied the skin, but is very drying and not a good thing for the skin in the longer term. Just so you know, it’s possible, but bad for your skin health.
14. Bananas are irresistible to the average mosquito: Banana oil contains fatty acids, which are essentially food for them. All mosquitoes need a source of sugar in order to survive. Flowery or fruity scents are therefore attractants. By the way, biting females do not crave blood based on our sugar levels (or whether we eat bananas or not): These scents are a different attractant. So eat sugar as much as you’d like.
15. The word “mosquito” is Spanish for “little fly”: You could already tell that it has a Spanish ring to it by just pronouncing the word. But did you know that it literally translates into “little fly” as well? I bet you didn’t before reading this. It kind of makes sense, because they fly and buzz around and are too tiny to even notice whenever you try to catch them.
16. Greek people call them “good for nothing”: The nation of Greece has an amazing history, apparently also in relation to everyone’s favorite insect. They call mosquitoes “Anopheles”, which literally translates into “good for nothing”. Makes a lot off sense when you’re annoyed by them but kind of rude as well. Because they actually do have some benefits for both humans ánd ecosystems.
17. Those anti-biting phone apps don’t actually work: As I explained in this article, an iPhone or Android app on your phone with some white or brown noise on it will not keep anyone away, except for maybe that cute girl or boy you’re trying to lure into your bed. Biting won’t be stopped though, because it might as well be one of the most ineffective ways to get rid of them. And I can know it because I did the tests.
18. Your blood type matters if you want to avoid being bitten: Guess what, this is the one thing you can’t influence that will likely make you irresistible as a bite target. If you’ve got O-type blood (and to a lesser extent B-type blood varieties), you’re much more likely to get bitten than someone who has A-type blood. That’s just a preference biting females tend to have, not much we can change about it. Learn more about that right here.
19. Mosquito sleep is not like ours: We need about 8 hours of rest a night, but a mosquito will be up buzzing in our ears every damn time we try to sleep. Don’t they ever rest? Yes, during daytime they will do something called “quiescence“, which is a special type of rest that will twitch their legs, wing muscles or proboscis. Forcing one to stay awake means it must catch up on sleep later on, or die. Woah!
20. Mosquitoes can be cannibals: Some specific species will eat each other during the larvae stages of life. They eat their little brothers and sisters in order to stay alive and grow up to be a flying adult. Adulthood means the biting mechanism is developed, which is a different type of consumption from the larvae cannabism. So don’t be afraid of those more than regular non-cannibalistic species.
21. When dinosaurs roamed the planet, they were already around: For many millions of years, the mosquito has been bugging countless species in the most horrific ways. It’s pretty amazing the think that a dinosaur has been bitten by the same things that bite us. That’s when you know you’re successful as a species, when you outlive the most powerful animal on the planet, multiple times.
22. Dancing clouds of males do a mating ritual: Ever see a massive cloud of flies outside? These are big clouds of mosquito males trying to find a partner to fertilize. So the next time you see them dancing around for hours, you know what it’s all about. They aren’t aimlessly flying up and down for no apparent reason, it’s one big flirt orgy. Whatever floats your boat, ladies.
23. Bites aren’t just bites, but you also get peed on: This is probably one of the most messed up things I found out while creating this article for you. After the blood sucking is done, the females will excrete saliva and pee onto the wound. Just to make you more miserable! Kidding, it’s actually because they want to keep the wound open in case they want to suck more blood if they get swatted away.
24. Scientists have created a macho-male that can’t fertilize females: In an effort to stop these pests from spreading, scientists have genetically modified males in order to stop eggs from being produced later on. This is primarily meant to stop nasty diseases like Dengue fever, which are a serious and deadly threat in many parts of the world. The fun part is that the non-fertile males are the most macho of the bunch, effectively making the fertile ones look like wussies.
25. They can drink three times their own weight in blood: This might seem like something impressive, but it would take about 1.2 million bites to drain all of the blood from your body. So you will probably not even notice when they steal some of it. It’s more impressive when you think about how much a human would need to drink in order to meet this amount. That’s a lot of water, wow.
26. Most are pretty slow, with a speed of 1 to 1.5 miles an hour: You could actually easily outrun them, or just walking would be enough. The problem is that most females will strike when you’re sitting or resting at night. That together with their super stealthy appearance will make it very difficult for most people to avoid a bite by simply being faster than them. That’s a bummer, but it’s the truth.
27. There are about 3,500 known species, only 10% want our blood: While there are a crazy number of species around, only a small percentage of them require human (or animal) blood for their offspring. So the next time you’re going to encounter some of these little flies, the likelihood of them being completely harmless is much greater. This goes hand in hand with the next mosquito fact, by the way.
28. Only females will bite us, while males are harmless: Let’s cut the dangers in half again, because males don’t even have the biological possibility to bite other species for their offspring. This role is reserved for the females, who find human blood irresistible in their adult lives. So if you want to fight them, leave the males alone and try murdering the females. They’ll come to you, while the males won’t. Easy to spot the difference that way.
29. Don’t drink beer if you want to repel a mosquito: One thing these little pests find irresistible is the smell of humans combined with the smell of beer. This isn’t because those are an easier target as they won’t be paying attention, but drunk people will generally have a higher body temperature and will be sweating more. That’s why an evening of drinking tends to result in a lot of itchy bumps on your skin!
30. Malaria infects 250 million people a year, but most deaths are caused by something else: While the number of infections is insane each year with about 250 million people getting the disease, this isn’t the biggest of worries in the malaria epidemic. Another major issue is the use of fake malaria drugs, which cause a large portion of malaria-related death each year.
31. President George Washington was a Malaria victim: He was one of the most unfortunate presidents in US-history when it comes to diseases. It’s actually a miracle he survived most! Both he and his wife Martha Washington caught malaria in their teens. Goes to show that malaria isn’t just a disease that’s dangerous for poor people in warm countries. Even the most famous US president had it! Well, it was one of his nine unfortunate diseases, actually.
32. Yellow fever, another bite-related disease, roamed free in America in 1905: This was one of the last major waves of mosquito-borne diseases that plagued the United States of America. To be more specific, this plague was most harmful to the New Orleans region. This was one of the last major US waves of yellow fever to this date.
33. Most of the lifecycle happens in shallow water puddles: The adult biting lives of these pests is the only part that usually bothers people. However, most of their lives, larvae and pupa are living inside small water puddles in the most normal of places. Always make sure to get rid of standing water around the house for that reason.
34. The perfume Victoria Secret’s Bombshell is an effective repellent: One way to both smell good and repel insect bites effectively, is to wear a fragrance called Victoria’s Secret Bombshell. It’s one of the very few perfumes that are scientifically proven to be a good repellent. A good tip for the ladies reading this, perhaps?
35. Another strange repellent in Listerine mouthwash: While this one will not work as well as the perfume mentioned before, Listerine mouthwash (one of the more popular types of mouth wash out there) will actually help in the fight against insect bites. Apply some to the skin to avoid bites from occurring. If you do this you should not fear dry skin, because that’s one of the negative side-effects of this particular solution. So don’t actually use it on your skin if you don’t like dry skin.
36. Being pregnant will make you more of a target for bites: As I’ve explained before in this attraction guide, if you’re a pregnant woman you are more likely to be bitten by one of our lovely biting ninja’s. This is again due to the fact that body heat is one of the major things that will attract those pests to someone. So if it can choose between family members, the pregnant wife is most likely to be a target for bites, sorry ladies!
37. West Virginia is the state with the fewesr species: Country roads, take me home, to the place, with the fewest species of mosquitoes! West Virginia is the state where you will find the smallest variety of these pesky insects across all of the US. So if you’re feeling like a road trip, you know where to go. Texas is the worst place with 85 individual species, compared to 26 for West Virginia.
38. Iceland is the only nation in the world without mosquitoes: And that’s gotta do as much with the remoteness of the island as it does with the cold temperatures. But why does Greenland have two species then, isn’t that colder and remoter? Yes, but the Icelandic winters are more variable, making it harder for a mosquito to hide below a thick layer of snow and ice. This protective layer is present in Antarctica and Greenland, but Iceland is too unpredictable. I’ve already determined my next travel destination.
39. Females can lay up to 300 eggs every time: Seems like an awful lot, but the mass production is mostly thanks to our blood which is full of building blocks for new eggs. That’s exactly why the females like biting us so much. Clusters of eggs (called rafts) will be placed in small puddles of water. Females do this about three times in their adult lifespan, before their inevitable death.
40. Crane flies are often mistaken for mosquitoes: This is where they get their nickname “mosquito hawks”. They are famous for their enormous size (at least, for an insect), but especially their crazy long legs. They are pretty dumb however, you will usually find these so-called mosquito hawks bumping into your window in the summer time. And no, they don’t actually eat them.
41. Males recognize females by the sound of their wings: With an insane speed of 500 flaps per second, the females are faster and more agile fliers than their male counterparts. This immense speeds will drive the males wild, causing them to want to mate these faster flying pretty ladies. Its the higher frequency that causes changes in the air ánd soundwaves that can be picked up by the many males that tend to cluster together in a ‘dance’.
42. DEET is one of the longest use repellents in modern times: With DEET being one of the all-time most popular substances that are proven to be a good repellent, it’s the government that tends to promote DEET as a trustworthy way to avoid insect bites. It’s the active ingredient in most repellent products on the market today and will also work great on ticks. DEET is considered safe but should not be consumed orally, but applied to the skin.
43. Yoga pants won’t stop a bite: Mosquitoes have the ability to be through clothing, such as jeans, leggings or yoga pants. This is because they can wiggle their way through the fabric with their biting needle, i.e. their proboscis. So always make sure to have an extra layer of protection when you’re going out at night, or suffer the consequences.
44. Their biggest predators are fish and dragonflies: Especially Gamusa, also known as the mosquitofish, will consume them by the truckload. Not necessarily the adults, but the larvae and the pupa that are in the earlier stages of life. As you might know, these will live under water, where fish are their obvious natural predators. Dragonfly larvae see mosquito larvae as their primary source of food, so that’s where most get killed off in the early stages of life as well.
45. Zappers are a useless method of killing insects: Less than 1 percent of the population that lives near us will get killed using one of those electronic zappers. So don’t even bother buying one and go for something more effective instead, such as a magnet trap. For me, the FlowTron BK-15D has been one of the best-performing weapons of mass destruction against these pests.
46. Long-term drought kills populations: With climate change increasing, summers can get increasingly drier in some regions of the world. Considering the fact that water puddles are required for the larvae to survive, a massive long-term drought will naturally be devastating to the local population. This has the potential to wipe out entire species in the next decades.
47. Some mosquito species are cannibalistic: In the early stages of life, some species are known to eat their brothers and sisters in order to survive. So it is, in fact, true that these insects have the ability to become cannibals in their childhood. However, they won’t target each other to steal blood as adults, so they won’t go around biting each other in the classical sense. Only some childhood murder allowed.
48. Mosquitoes are cold-blooded creatures: There is no internal heating system inside these insects like in humans which tend to use a lot of energy to stay at roughly the same body temperature. Instead, a mosquito will adapt to the surroundings and shut down when it gets too cold. This makes them more efficient overall.
49. They prefer temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit: Below this won’t mean they will immediately shut their bodies down, but a mosquito will behave different (much slower) below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Below 50 degrees, hibernation starts to kick in and you will no longer find any roaming around. This will usually happen in the winter time and it is the moment they will start to become inactive.
50. Most invasive species travel on cargo ships: The infamous Asian tiger mosquito has invaded a lot of places around the world due to global trade. They travel inside products that contain some amount of water and will thrive in most types of climates around the globe. So the global economy is indeed responsible for the spread of a lot of insect-related diseases.
51. The well-known Aedes aegypti can spread multiple diseases: The latest craze was Zika virus, but Aedes aegypti is capable of spreading a lot more diseases with their bites. These include yellow fever, dengue virus, chikungunya virus, and several other less dangerous ones. So if you ever see one, better scramble to kill it quickly.
52. Mosquitoes are terrible at flying: That’s why they tend to stay inside a small area of about three miles at all times. They will also never fly higher than 50 feet. However, they tend to prefer to stay in several hundreds of yards from where the eggs have been hatched and will go no higher than 25 feet, generally.
Busting Mosquito Myths With Interesting Facts
That’s all of them, kudos if you read them one by one until the end! If you’re feeling like learning more about these amazing insects, feel free to look around a bit on the website itself. This blog is dedicated to providing you with the latest information around repelling, killing and getting rid of mosquitoes. There’s really no single method that’s not been covered, so feel free to learn a thing or two by diving into the archives.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. I think I’ve tested and reviewed my fair share of anti-mosquito products now, all of which have been placed on one big overview page right here. It’s where I keep the best of the best in terms of repellents and bite remedies, go check it out if you haven’t already! The content is updated regularly so you’ll always be able to find the best solutions to your biting and buzzing problems. And as always, happy hunting!