5 Things Christiansburg Residents Should Know About Mosquitoes
What do you know about mosquitoes? Most people know a few things: Mosquitoes bite, mosquitoes leave itchy welts on the skin and spread diseases. Many even know that only female mosquitoes bite and feed on blood to get the protein they need to fertilize their eggs. Without blood meals, mosquitoes would die off. That makes this a matter of life and death for a female mosquito and one she takes very seriously. It is important to know this because it gives a proper perspective of what is going on in the minds of female mosquitoes when you step out into your backyard. They are highly motivated to bite you. Here are five things every Christiansburg resident should know about female mosquitoes and mosquito control.
How Mosquitoes Spread Disease
According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization (WHO), the mosquito is the most dangerous animal in the world. It is directly linked to the deaths of nearly a million people worldwide every year. Mosquitoes spread deadly diseases. Understanding how they spread disease is important in measuring the threat. Consider these facts:
Mosquitoes aren't born with human pathogens; they acquire them from mammals.
When a mosquito bites a mammal infected with a disease, it can acquire it.
When acquired, a disease enters the mosquito's stomach, incubates, and transfers to the salivary gland. Diseases are not spread from mammal to mammal by the mouthparts of a mosquito, as with a dirty hypodermic needle.
When a mosquito bites, it injects saliva into the wound to administer an anticoagulant, which thins the blood and makes it easier for the mosquito to acquire a blood meal. It also administers disease-causing organisms if the mosquito is infected.
All mosquitoes are not capable of spreading pathogens. In Christiansburg, we have two genera of insects that are of most concern: Aedes and Culex mosquitoes.
What Mosquito-Borne Diseases are a Threat in Christiansburg
The world is a small place. It takes only a few hours to travel from the Amazon jungle to Roanoke-Blacksburg regional airport. That means any disease that mosquitoes can spread can be a threat in our area. An outbreak can occur at any time. Fortunately, there are many defenses in place to prevent a widespread outbreak, as we saw a few years ago when the Zika virus was in the news practically every day. But keep in mind that the threat is always present, and the best way to mitigate it is by taking action to prevent mosquito bites.
What Makes Mosquitoes Bite One Person More Than Another?
Mosquitoes consider many factors when searching for the life or death blood meal that will ensure the continuation of their species. First, they detect carbon dioxide from a distance. The more carbon dioxide there is, the greater the attraction. When the mosquito gets closer, it can smell chemicals from the skin of mammals. It prefers the smell of humans and prefers some people over others due to their genetics. While the female mosquito will select based on body temperature, sweat, dark colors, the lack of mosquito repellent, and other factors, the human chemical scent seems to be top of the list.
What Attracts Mosquitoes in Christiansburg Yards
All mosquitoes feed on plant sap, even female mosquitoes. If you have plants in your yard, you're going to have many mosquitoes if you haven't invested in seasonal mosquito control for your Christiansburg home.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites in Christiansburg and Everywhere Else
Mosquito bite prevention breaks down into two categories: personal prevention and mosquito reduction. The number-one way to prevent bites is not to go outside. But that isn't practical. The second is equally impractical. There are clothing items that have nets in them, and they can keep you from being bitten while you mow your lawn, but you're going to do a lot of sweating. Mosquito repellent can help some, but, you probably know, mosquitoes can still bite you even after you've doused yourself in repellent. Plus, repellent is just gross. The best way to prevent mosquito bites in your yard is with mosquito reduction services from a professional. Routine treatments repel and reduce mosquitoes in the areas they hide and reproduce.
If you live in the Greater Roanoke area, we would love the opportunity to speak with you about seasonal mosquito treatments. There is no way of knowing when an outbreak will occur. The best protection is never to let your guard down.