5 Things You Didn’t Know About Mosquitoes
BEDFORD, Mass, June 16, 2021 — Summer brings the return of backyard barbecues, outdoor parties with friends, and thousands of unwanted guests: mosquitoes.
“Many North Americans may feel like the onset of summer doesn’t truly begin until we are swarmed by hordes of mosquitoes,” said John Hainze, Vice President, Science and Research at Thermacell Repellents, Inc., the leading manufacturer of area mosquito repellents. “While mosquitoes are often perceived as a nuisance, they’ve been evolving for more than 79 million years, so there’s more to these fascinating insects than most people realize.”
Here are Hainze’s top five facts you may not know about mosquitoes.
- Mosquitoes are everywhere. There are more than 100 trillion mosquitoes on the planet at any given time. Mosquitoes are found worldwide — from the tropics to the Arctic. They can live at elevations over 12,000 feet above sea level and as low as 3,000 feet below sea level in mines.
- Not all mosquitoes bite people. There are approximately 3,500 species or kinds of mosquitoes around the world, with about 175 species found in North America. Many of these mosquitoes do not feed on humans but will feed on other mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
- Mosquitoes love your carbon dioxide. Mosquitoes are armed with specialized receptors that can detect the carbon dioxide from our exhalations as far as 160 feet away. Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide levels as low as 50 parts per million.
- Mosquitoes love your dirty feet even more. Once mosquitoes are close enough to start sensing body odors, they use that information to figure out where to bite. Mosquitoes’ receptors are sophisticated enough to pick up the subtle differences between the smells of our face, armpits, arms, and feet. They may target feet and ankles because we’re less likely to notice a mosquito biting there. Plus, there are a lot of stink-producing bacteria living between our toes, so human feet are easy for mosquitoes to find.
- Mosquitoes are not impressed by your bug zapper. The bugger zapper uses UV light to attract insects to an electric grid that electrocutes them. Although these devices may attract a few mosquitoes, they usually kill more beneficial insects like beetles, moths, and parasitic wasps that control other insect pests. The mosquitoes they do catch will also be quickly replaced by others coming into your backyard or campsite. Research at the UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach has shown that bug zappers kill thousands of beneficial insects, not mosquitoes. For example, out of some 10,000 insects destroyed by one bug zapper during a one-night test period, only eight were mosquitoes.
According to Hainze, once you understand mosquito behavior and their feeding strategies, you can develop strategies to make yourself less attractive to nature’s buzzy annoyance.
Hainze recommends starting with an area repellent from Thermacell to keep mosquitoes away from where you are. Thermacell technology uses heat to diffuse highly effective repellents into the air creating a zone of mosquito protection. This zone creates an invisible and scent-free barrier to mosquitoes and can provide up to a 20-foot zone of protection per repeller to you.
About Thermacell® Repellents, Inc.
Thermacell Repellents, Inc., headquartered in Bedford, MA, designs, manufactures, and markets area mosquito repellent and insect control solutions. Thermacell can be found at most outdoor, sporting goods, home improvement, and mass merchant retailers. Thermacell products are also available internationally in more than 30 countries. For more information on Thermacell and its complete line of repellent products, consumer reviews, and store locations, visit www.thermacell.com.
 “Targeting a Dual Detector of Skin and CO2 to Modify Mosquito Host Seeking” – https://www.cell.com/fulltext/S0092-8674(13)01426-8