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Fact or Fiction? The Manu Misconceptions About Mosquitoes

Consumers are often overwhelmed with specifics and statistics relating to mosquitoes that are not accurate. With the spread of mosquito borne illnesses, consumers want to be armed with information so they can choose the right repellent option, whether it be a spray or a highly effective area repellent such as ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent that is up to 98% effective within the 15 ft x 15 ft protection zone. In an attempt to set the record straight, this information has been collected from research conducted by the Entomology Departments at Rutgers University and Florida University, as well as other reliable resources.

FACTS

  • Mosquitoes don't actually “bite.” They suck blood from their victims.
  • Only female mosquitoes draw blood. In order to obtain proteins and other nutrients necessary for egg development, females draw blood from their victims. Since male mosquitoes do not make eggs, they do not "bite."
  • A mosquito can locate a scent for a distance of 30 miles. Strong sensors help mosquitoes locate their human blood dinner from a distance of up to 30 miles (50 kilometers) away.
  • Mosquitoes rely on sugar as their main source of energy. Both male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, fruit juices, and other plant liquids. Sugar is burned as a fuel for flight and must be replenished daily. Blood is needed only for egg production and is consumed less frequently.*
  • A mosquito CAN transmit fatal diseases. Among these are Malaria, Dengue Fever, Ross River Fever, Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus and more. At least one million people die of Malaria worldwide each year.
  • Mosquitoes CANNOT transmit HIV. This virus cannot survive in the mosquito.
  • What makes a human attractive to mosquitoes is 85% genetic. In 2001, the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, conducted a study of mosquito bites in identical and non-identical twins showing that genetics determine how mosquitoes select their victims.

FICTION

  • Bats, owls, and other birds can control mosquito populations. Although they may include mosquitoes in their diet, they do not consume enough mosquitoes to make an appreciable difference in their populations.
  • Bug zappers are effective against mosquitoes. Bug zappers do not control mosquitoes and can reduce the populations of beneficial insects.
  • Spraying for adults is the best method of mosquito control. Spraying for adults is the least efficient method because the eggs are not destroyed. Eliminating mosquitoes before they become adults is preferable.
  • The citrosa plant will repel mosquitoes. Although citrosa oil (citronella) has been used widely as a mosquito repellent, the undisturbed plant itself does not release these oils and is thus not effective as a repellent.
  • Mosquitoes only bite when it is hot outside. Air temperature may be a factor in mosquitoes "biting," but sometimes mosquitoes prefer it cool! According to the San Francisco Zoological Society, the Aedes mosquito (one of the more than 3,000 mosquito species throughout the world) is attracted to humans only when the temperature is below 59°F (15°C).
  • Residential vegetation can produce mosquitoes. Mosquitoes may be resting in the vegetation, but standing water is required to "produce" mosquitoes.
  • Blood types are an important factor in varying attraction rates. According to the Mosquito Control Research Laboratory of the University of California at Davis, although this was once believed the theory has been discredited.

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