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Mosquito Facts as to why mosquitoes love some people, a lot more than others


Mosquito Facts

Mosquito facts indicate mosquitoes are found in every region of the world except Antarctica. They breed in standing water in diverse aquatic habitats including freshwater (even if heavily polluted), saltwater marshes, brackish water, and even water found in discarded containers and old tires.

Mosquito facts show that both male and female mosquitoes feed on flower or fruit nectar, but only female mosquitoes bite; they require a blood meal every three to four days for the protein necessary to produce eggs. Mosquitoes can be divided into two types: daytime and night time biters. Mosquito facts have shown that mosquitoes that transmit malaria and Japanese encephalitis bite mostly at twilight or during the night. Mosquitoes that transmit dengue and yellow fever, on the other hand, are daytime biters.

Mosquitoes bite indoors as well as outdoors so you need to prevent mosquitoes from gaining entry into living and sleeping quarters and to eliminate those that might already be there. The same personal protection measures that you use against mosquitoes will also protect you against ticks and biting flies - insects that transmit Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, relapsing fever, typhus, leishmaniasis, onchoerciasis, trypanosomiasis, and several other tropical and infectious diseases.

You will want to avoid mosquitoes and biting flies for another reason - insect bites, even without the risk of disease can make you miserable. Bites usually cause localized swelling and itching, and certain bites, such as from march flies, horse flies and black flies, are very painful. Bites can also become secondarily infected, usually from excessive scratching.

WHY do they always bite Me?

How many times have you or a friend thought that you are the only one at an evening barbecue being bitten by mosquitoes? Many theories abound, maybe you taste better, you are more visible because of your light-coloured clothing, or mosquitoes prefer young blood, etc.

Largely, the victim is not actually being bitten more than anyone else, but is allergic to the saliva from the mosquito. However, there is evidence to support the mosquito facts that some of us are more attractive to mosquitoes than others. When an adult female mosquito first emerges from her nursery, she usually spends two days maturing before she gets hungry. In some species, she does not get hungry until she has mated. Typically, a hungry female flies off until it finds an odour plume emanating from a host. The main odour followed by these mosquitoes is carbon dioxide, which is in every breath we exhale. Once the female mosquito is close to her prey, different cues take over. She now responds to heat, following the convection currents of warm air which rise from our bodies. Finally, once the mosquito has located a host that smells and looks right, there is the taste test, which is where insect repellent comes in. Other things that affect tastiness may be the age and sex of the victim, and there is some evidence that we all vary in palatability from one day to the next. Mossies are also partial to lactic acid, produced by our muscles when we exercise. Theoretically, a person who has just finished a jog should be a sitting duck for hungry mosquitoes: producing heaps of CO2 and sweat, lots of heat loss, and plenty of lactic acid. So if you feel that you are  the one who is always being bitten, try a decoy to take some of the heat off yourself by inviting a sweaty jogger to your next barbecue!

Dr Jamie Seymour, James Cook University, Cairns

Repellents for Bloodseeking Insects

Mosquito facts indicate that insect repellents provide a means of protecting against many dangerous and disease carrying insects. If properly used they will greatly reduce the risk of infection from disease and provide a high degree of personal comfort when exposed to large numbers of bloodseeking insects. Repellents affect bloodseeking insects by disrupting their hostseeking abilities. Mosquitoes, for instance, are attracted from up to 70 metres away by several factors including body odour, exhaled carbon dioxide and by radiated heat. The feeding urge is then triggered when the insects sensors come within range of the lactic acid on the skin. Repellents act to block the insect's sensors when it comes in close proximity to the skin. The odour or smell of a repellent plays no part in the repelling action. It is the vapour put up by repellents, which have a distinctive molecular shape, that block the insects receptors thereby inhibiting feeding.

Mosquito facts regarding which Repellent is the Most Effective?

N,N Diethyl Tolumaide (DEET) is internationally recognised as the most outstanding, all purpose repellent available. The New England Journal of Medicine refers to DEET as the 'Gold Standard' of repellents. Patented by the US Army in 1956 DEET is deemed the safest and most effective out of over 30,000 chemicals tested over an 18 year period and is the standard by which other repellents are compared. Used by an estimated 200 million people a year around the world DEET is used in both consumer and military grade repellents.

Why Repellents Work

Repellents work on spatial action. They place a vapour barrier between the skin and bloodseeking insects. For this barrier to be effective all exposed skin must be covered.

How to Apply Repellents

Regardless of the repellent's strength, to be effective all exposed skin must be covered. The percentage of DEET in the formula will determine the length of protection time.

How Long Do Repellents Last?

The protection time varies with the individual, the amount of sweating, humidity in the air, avidity of the insects, percent of DEET in the formula and other factors. Lab trials indicate protection time can be reduced up to 4 times if sweating is a factor.

What Repellents to Use

When Recent Technology advances in repellent formulations now offer water resistance and low odour yet contain high levels of DEET in the formulation. The desired length of protection time will determine the level of DEET to look for in a repellent. The higher the level, the longer the protection time.

Safety Information: Repellents & Children

Chemical repellents are not recommended for use on infants. For toddlers the guidelines indicate repellents should contain not more than 7.5% DEET. According to the US EPA (1998) 100% DEET repellents can be safely used on children.

From the Queensland Institute of Medical Research

The best mosquito repellent  that we have found containing Deet that really works against both mosquitos and flyies is the Australian Made Bushmans Insect Repellent!

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