Mosquitoes have a nasty habit of biting us when we are trying to enjoy the great outdoors. But it’s not just annoying, mosquitoes can actually be dangerous. Here are the Top 5 facts you should know about mosquitoes before you head out for your next hike and plan for a way to keep them at bay.
- There are more mosquitoes on this planet than humans. It’s probably not surprising that mosquitos outnumber humans. There are 100 trillion tiny buzzing vampires from 3,450 different species ready to suck your blood. To give you an idea of what exactly that number looks like, if 100 trillion mosquitoes were stacked together on a football field, the pile would reach more than three miles high.
- Your blood helps create MORE mosquitoes. Only female mosquitoes bite, because blood provides the protein that mosquito eggs need for development. Consider yourself a walking bottle of mosquito baby formula. Yuck.
- Mosquitoes think you smell nice. It’s true! And it’s not just your fancy perfume. Mosquitos are attracted to the scents emitted by humans including carbon dioxide, lactic acid and natural skin oils. Mosquitoes even change their flight pattern depending on what they smell, like a heat-seeking missile.
- Mosquitoes inject you with their saliva. Before sucking your blood, the female mosquito injects you with her saliva, which contains an anticoagulant, allowing your blood to flow freely into her. If you’re wondering how mosquitoes transmit diseases – this is how. The little red bump you get from a mosquito bite is actually your body’s reaction to a protein contained in mosquito saliva.
- Mosquitoes transmit deadly diseases. You could say that giving people diseases is a mosquito’s favorite hobby. Mosquitoes are solely to blame for the propagation of Malaria, which affects 300 million people every year. The only way to get Malaria is from a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes also transmit West Nile Virus, commonly seen in the US. The Center for Disease Control claims that since 1999 more than 30,000 people in the United States have become sick with the West Nile Virus from mosquito bites. Both Malaria and West Nile Virus can be fatal.