Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are in the Order Diptera which stand for two-wings. Diptera is the order of flies it contains over 90,000 species,which includes mosquitoes,gnats, and midges. As you can imagine we run into these insects daily and now that summer has finally began, its time to learn how you can prevent putting yourself into danger.

Generally most people are disgusted by flies and its no wonder considering how much bacteria every fly carries. However flies are the least of our concerns. Mosquitoes are the culprits in this Order.

Mosquitoes are possibly one of the most harmful insects to the human population. The main reason for this is the diseases they transmit to humans. Malaria and Yellow Fever.

Malaria is caused by a parasite mosquitoes transmit to humans after they are  bitten. It kills around 1 million people a year( mostly in Africa). It has been shown most places of poverty tend to have the highest death rates. This could be because they don’t have proper resources to treat patients nor do they have to equipment and supplies to protect them from such dangers. With low immune systems, the malaria virus can be deadly. However, not all species can transmit malaria. Only the female Anopheles mosquito carries the malaria parasite and transmits it to humans. This adds up to around 40 species actually being harmful. When a person becomes sick with malaria they often experience chills, fever, vomiting, and headaches. Body pains have been a common symptom as well. If an infected person seeks immediate medical attention then they should be fine within a couple of weeks. Although this sounds bad, malaria does not even compare the next disease.

Yellow Fever is a horrid disease also caused from mosquitoes. Yellow Fever is found in Africa and South America. Yellow fever often is carried  by a mosquito from one to person to the next.  With no medical attention it can lead to internal bleeding as well as liver and kidney failure. Luckily, if caught early the symptoms will be practically the same as malaria.  Yellow Fever becomes evident in a person in less than a week of being infected. However with malaria the person may carry the virus for years before ever experiencing symptoms.

Although there are medicines and vaccinations to prevent these two diseases, it is never guaranteed to work, and there are no specific medications to be used in either case for treatment. You simply have to wait it out in a hospital. In the states  malaria is always a present danger, as Yellow Fever is a disease you are only at risk to contract if you travel  to other countries.

Only female mosquitoes will bite. They use the blood to feed their offspring. A female can lay up to 200 eggs, which have the ability to grow as quickly as 3 days. They lay their eggs in non-moving water, such as a bird bath.  Larvae will feed on algae and other organic materials within the water. Both males and females feed on nectar and sugar to gain energy, Males live up to a week and females live up to a month after full development. They are found in most water environments, including marshes with a higher salinity. The warmer and more humid the temperature is, the better chance survival of all mosquitoes. Although mosquitoes pass malaria and yellow fever to any person they bite, they DO NOT pass any other bacteria or viruses such as AIDS. See..the parasite from malaria is in the mosquitoes system. When it bites a person, the parasite travels through the saliva of the insect and enters the humans blood stream. However, other remnants such as AIDS aren’t passed back through the mouth in saliva. It doesn’t even have a chance to leave the mosquito due to a very complex anatomy. At any rate, the good news is there are many preventative measures you can take to ensure your safety.

  • When traveling to other countries, do your research!! Getting the proper vaccinations can help you immensely. Although they are never a 100% guarantee, they do give you an extremely better chance of not contracting an insect-borne disease or parasite.
  • Wear the proper repellents. Any repellent is better than none.
  • If you have any pots, bowls ,or anything else collecting standing water, it’s a magnet to mosquitoes. Go around your yard and dump these all out.
  • Invest in bat houses. Bats are the main predator of mosquitoes, if you provide housing for them, they will more likely stick around and feed on the insects.
  • Lastly use the repellent candles.

 

With knowledge we can take any danger and lessen it. If you educate yourself, then you can enjoy the outdoors where ever you go.  Although these insects are a pest to us, they do feed our natural wildlife such as bats and small frogs among other animals. We must learn to coexist and simply be aware of the dangers as well as benefits.

 

Ciara Utech

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