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- Remove standing water; check tarpaulin creases, pool covers, kids’ toys, dog dishes, bird baths and gutters.
- Install a filter into still ponds and water features to keep water moving.
- Decorate with mosquito-repelling plants such as marigolds or citronella.
- Install fans during outdoor parties; it will keep mosquitoes at a distance since they can’t fly against the wind.
- Wear protective clothing and EPA-registered repellents.
- Lure mosquitoes away from you with mosquito traps.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
- Control mosquitoes inside and outside your home
How Far Do Mosquitoes Fly?
The Zika-spreading Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes only fly a few hundred feet from their breeding area. Most mosquitoes, however, have the ability to fly 1-3 miles. Some of the larger mosquitoes in the Midwestern United States can be found 7 miles or more from their breeding sites. If the Aedes aegypti and albopictus are unable to fly very far – then why do they have such a huge range?
The Problem with Aedes aegypti & Aedes aedes albopictus
The reason that the Aedes mosquitoes are such a problem is that they’re great travelers. They will get in suitcases, airplanes and boats – their entire lifecycle can happen in a puddle of water in a small vessel. Their major survival trick is that their eggs can be completely dried out and still hatch several months later if covered with water. Additionally, their larvae are able to enter a hibernation-like state, or a state of torpor. Both species are relatively recent immigrants to the US, especiallyalbopictus, and are great at adapting to new climates.
The yellow fever mosquito arrived on the Southeastern shores of the US via slave ships from Africa. It is quite fond of the climate conditions in the Southern US. This mosquito is a dawn and dusk biter and is black with white harp-shaped scales. Aedes aegypti is quite fond of nipping the ankles of its human victims.
The Asian Tiger mosquito arrived in the States via shipments of old rubber tires from Japan to Texas in 1985 and in shipments of ornamental bamboo to California in the early 2000s. You can see where the mosquito got its name; its body is black and white striped. Aedes albopictus is an extremely aggressive daytime biter – often biting one victim several times.
What Can Be Done to Control Mosquitoes?
You can control mosquitoes in your own property to protect your pets and family from being bitten. Since both Aedes aegypti and albopictus need water to breed – living near a pond or slow-flowing stream might attract more mosquitoes to your property. But, you can still fight back; follow these steps to keep your home safe from mosquitoes:
Gravid, or egg-baring, female mosquitoes are attracted to CO2, sweat, and heat – signs of a blood meal. Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps lure in mosquitoes that are looking to bite by using carbon dioxide and an attractant that mimics our body chemistry. Mosquitoes are then sucked into the trap where they dehydrate and die within 24 hours.
Trapping the female mosquitoes interrupts the breeding cycle. Fewer mosquitoes breeding near your property, means fewer chances for mosquitoes to take a bite out of you!
When Will We Have a Zika Vaccine?
Over 30 Zika Virus vaccines are in development across the world, when just a year ago none at all were on the radar. The recent surge and spread in cases throughout the world has spurred a need for a vaccination against a potential epidemic. Even though we’ve known about the mosquito-borne Zika Virus since 1947, the need for a vaccine has only just escalated. The unfortunate reality of creating a vaccine is that it takes years to develop. Many companies are just now entering human trials and don’t expect to have a Zika vaccine ready until 2018.
What Is Zika and Why Are We So Concerned?
It doesn’t sound so threatening at first glance. Patients infected with Zika Virus typically experience mild flu-like symptoms, fever, red eyes, rash and headache for about a week – and 80% of infected individuals never experience any symptoms at all. But, unlike a typical flu, Zika has been connected with terrible maladies such as microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Microcephaly is a condition in which a baby’s head is much smaller than normal due to an under-developed brain, or damage to a brain during pregnancy. Other problems that may develop with microcephaly are developmental learning disorders, seizures and physical ailments such as hearing loss, balance issues and vision problems.
Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) begins with a weakness of the arms and legs, but may also affect breathing. This syndrome causes one’s own immune system to attack nerve cells – in some cases this will lead to paralysis. Very few people die from GBS, however some people may have permanent damage. GBS may appear in adults after several types of infection including, Gastroenteritis, respiratory tract infections and Zika Virus.
Zika, along with being a mosquito-borne virus, has been found to be transmitted sexually, and through bodily fluids such as saliva and urine. The CDC is urging that pregnant women, their partners and couples who intend to become pregnant avoid areas where outbreaks have occurred. The threat has been substantial enough that Pope Francis suggested the use of contraceptives in areas with large Zika outbreaks.
Developing a Zika Vaccine
Two clinical human trials for Zika vaccines have been approved for DNA vaccines. Other vaccines making their way through the animal testing phase are an m-RNA vaccine and a vaccine made with an inactive form of the virus.
The DNA vaccines use a small piece of DNA, without any of the infectious material of the virus. This type of vaccine is meant to create a cell-mediated immunity to the virus. The benefit for this type of vaccination is that it could be used to treat immunocompromised individuals who would be unable to receive traditional vaccine types.
The m-RNA, or messenger RNA, vaccine delivers genetic codes to the cell, thereby creating an immune response. The benefit of this method is that the Zika Virus does not need to be grown for this process, only the sequence is needed. This makes for a quicker turnaround time for production of a vaccine.
Attenuated and Inactive Virus Vaccine
These vaccines often use a deceased or attenuated form of a virus, which is introduced into the body to build an immune response. Attenuated viruses are viruses that have been weakened.
Protection against Zika until a Vaccine is Available
The CDC, in lieu of a vaccine, recommends preventing Zika by avoiding mosquito bites with these basic steps:
Mosquitoes that spread the Zika Virus breed in water, so be sure to clear all standing water anywhere it may accumulate around your property. Female mosquitoes need your blood to help them nourish their eggs; interrupt their breeding cycle and decrease their population by using a CO2 mosquito trap.
Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps mimic our body chemistry to lure in mosquitoes with a mix of carbon dioxide, heat, moisture and attractants. Once close enough, the mosquitoes are sucked into the trap where they dehydrate and die within 24 hours.
Your Mosquito Magnet® mosquito trap is built to last many seasons, keeping mosquitoes at bay while you enjoy your yard! That’s why proper seasonal maintenance and storage is so important. Just like a car needs routine maintenance to keep you on the road, your mosquito trap needs love and care to keep catching mosquitoes for years to come.
Mosquito Trap Maintenance
Following the 21-day maintenance schedule is the best way to ensure efficiency and a good catch. To keep on-track, you can download our maintenance schedule and fill-in the dates on which you do each task. Alternatively, mark out 21 day cycles on your calendar.
Attractants: The catch rate will be reduced if the attractant is not changed every 21 days (for Lurex and Octenol customers). While the cartridge may look the same, the lure has been released over the course of the cycle and will no longer give off the scent that attracts mosquitoes.
Quick-Clear Valve: Your Mosquito Magnet® has a Quick-Clear Valve which should be used to clean the nozzle after every propane tank refill. Quick-Clear Cartridges help to clean out the line to keep propane flowing freely to your trap.
Nets: Nets should be changed – especially if torn or damaged in any way. Even during lower mosquito-activity months, nets are still going to collect dust and pollen, prohibiting airflow.
Propane: Regularly refill your propane tank – it is recommended that you do not use a tank-swapping service, but rather have your tank refilled by an authorized propane dealer.
Cleaning: Check inside the vents, making sure that no bugs or other debris have clogged these areas. Keeping the vent clean will ensure maximum airflow. Also be sure to wipe down the exterior surfaces of the trap with a damp cloth.
When mosquito season comes to an end and it’s time to pack away your Mosquito Magnet®, follow these steps to be sure that your trap is ready-to-go next season:
- Power down the Mosquito Magnet® and turn off and disconnect the regulator from the propane tank.
- Seal the regulator in its own plastic bag to prevent dirt and debris from clogging it during storage.
- Disconnect the battery from your mosquito trap and store in a separate plastic bag. NOTE: Only Executive and Commander models have rechargeable batteries. If you have the Independence trap, remove the four C-cell batteries and dispose.
- Use the Quick-Clear Valve and cartridges to clear out the propane line before storage.
- Cover your mosquito trap to keep insects from hibernating inside and clogging the funnel or fans. This will also prevent dust and moisture from accumulating in the trap.
- Store your mosquito trap in a garage or shed to protect it from the elements. Be sure to remove and dispose of any attractants left over in your trap.
Follow the above best practices to keep your Mosquito Magnet® in ship-shape for years to come! Don’t forget to sign up for our e-Newsletter to receive exclusive deals and sales!
Acute pesticide poisoning is the cause of death for millions of bees in Dorchester County, South Carolina, after officials took to the skies with sprays of naled to reduce mosquito populations in a Zika-prevention effort. Following in Miami City’s footsteps, Dorchester officials wanted to kill the adult mosquitoes that previous ground-efforts could not reach.
While not uncommon for use in ground-spraying, the misting of naled from the skies had not previously been used in Dorchester. Beekeepers from around the area claim that had they received a proper warning hives would have been covered and food and water supplies for the bees would have been protected during the spraying hours. On a single farm in Summerville 46 hives full of bees were destroyed – leaving 2.5 million bees dead. Dorchester County claims there was ample warning given – citing a press release, newspaper article, and Facebook post. But many did not receive this warning.
What is Naled?
Naled is an organophosphate insecticide whose chemical name is dimethyl 1,2-dibromo-2,2-dichloroethylphosphate. A neurotoxin, naled kills adult mosquitoes by inhibiting enzymes important to nervous system function – without these enzymes the mosquito will become paralyzed and then die. While it exhibits lower toxicity to mammals and birds, as with any pesticide, it does not discriminate between species of insects and has the potential to kill many beneficial insects. This limits the insect population diversity, and has the potential to cause other significant ecological side effects.
Can Naled Harm Other Creatures?
Since naled is toxic to the central nervous system, creatures such as butterflies, birds, fish, humans and other mammals are at risk. When Canada geese and mallard ducks were exposed to naled, they tended to hatch fewer young than unexposed subjects. Naled is highly toxic to several species of trout and catfish, and other aquatic life may also be at risk. Humans may exhibit side effects such as nausea, dizziness, confusion, convulsions, respiratory paralysis or death; long-term exposure could also cause cancer. Exposure to naled could even be a danger to fetuses, causing developmental and behavioral side effects – some of the very effects we seek to avoid by battling the Zika Virus.
Additionally, aside from affecting crawling, swimming, walking and flying organisms, tomato pollen germination is greatly reduced when exposed to naled, and it is known to cause brown lesions in celery and bronzing in strawberries. So why do we still use naled for mosquito control? Governments must weigh the overall risk of insecticidal side effects against the outbreak of a mosquito-borne disease. While still used in the U.S., the E.U. has banned the use of naled for its connection with harm to bees and other wildlife.
Precautions to Take During Naled Spraying
On the naled fact sheet, the EPA warns people to remain indoors with closed windows, and to avoid contact with it if you are outdoors while spraying occurs. Furthermore, vegetables should be washed, grills covered, and pets, pet supplies and toys brought indoors. Those who keep bees are encouraged to cover hives and provide clean food and water. However, spraying is only required to be announced “a day or two” before the spray is scheduled to occur.
Pesticide-free Mosquito Control
Reducing places where mosquitoes can breed is one of the best measures of mosquito control that can be practiced – virtually for free! Be sure to empty all water containers, clean up trash and debris, fill in holes and inspect any tarps where water may collect. However, if you live near a water source, controlling mosquitoes by removing containers can be more of a chore. Trapping mosquitoes might be most beneficial – trapping the female mosquitoes will interrupt the breeding cycle, meaning that fewer mosquitoes will hatch near your property.
Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps attract female mosquitoes with an output of CO2 and lures that mimic human body chemistry. Once close enough, they are sucked inside the trap and into a net where they will dehydrate and die within 24 hours. Find out more about Mosquito Magnet® by signing up for our E-Newsletter and visiting Mosquito Magnet® on Facebook.
Disappointing, but not unexpected, news for the War on Zika: 3 mosquitoes test positive for Zika Virus in the Miami Beach area. This is the first time that domestic mosquitoes have been found carrying the virus. This announcement comes on the heels of an already-instated travel warning from the CDC for pregnant women to avoid travelling to the area. Since the find of the 3 Zika-infected mosquitoes, 95 mosquitoes from 16 other traps have tested negative.
Officials claim that a popular tropical plant, bromeliads, may be to blame in harboring Aedes aegyptus mosquitoes. All residents of the city of Miami Beach have been asked to remove bromeliads, trash, and any small accumulations of water. With Hurricane Hermine having dropped torrential downpours on the area already, mosquito control is becoming a more difficult task.
According to the CDC, aerial spraying has helped to control the Aedes mosquitoes, but their sanctuary in plants and concealment in containers; such as trash cans, recycling bins, potted plants and outdoor decorations, is causing hitches in control efforts. Code Compliance Offers in the city of Miami Beach will be probing the city for risk-factors. If they determine that a private residence is in violation of the safety or welfare of the public, i.e., harboring or breeding mosquitoes, the officer may make immediate corrections on the property – at the expense of the owner.
Take preventative measures on your property to avoid breeding mosquitoes and to decrease your chances of spreading mosquito-borne diseases by removing any and all standing water, trash and debris and cleaning out gutters and drain spouts. Be sure to wear protective clothing such as long-sleeve shirts and pants, and wear mosquito repellents containing DEET or Picaridin.
In the furor of the Zika outbreak, citizens are also reminded that West Nile Virus is still a danger, a very common one, to the general public, and precautions must be taken to prevent the spread of this disease as well.
Your big backyard barbeque is underway – a total success, everything planned to the ‘t.’ But then terror strikes in the form of those winged devils known as mosquitoes. Guests start slapping, scratching, and running for cover – and you’re embarrassed. Luckily, we’ve got some suggestions to help you entertain your guests – not the bugs!
Reduce the Mosquito Population in your Backyard
The best option for controlling mosquitoes is setting up a mosquito trap about two weeks prior to your event. Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps mimic our body chemistry to lure in mosquitoes. Once close enough, the mosquitoes are sucked into the trap. You can drastically reduce the number of biting mosquitoes on your property by properly using a trap. Fewer mosquitoes mean fewer bites – and a more peaceful summer barbeque for you and your friends!
Choosing the Perfect Time for your Event
Hosting your barbecue during the early afternoon is ideal, since mosquitoes tend to hunt at dusk and dawn, they won’t be bothersome during the hotter hours of a summer afternoon. However, other bugs are still out and about during these hours so take precautions to fend off these intruders as well.
For starters, you certainly don’t want to begin your barbecue event with yellow jackets and flies in and around your food, so you should keep your serving table indoors or under the cover of a screen tent. You should also be sure that spills and food crumbs are cleaned up right away and garbage receptacles are covered tightly. Any foods that are set out for serving should be covered or individually-wrapped, if possible.
Since it is definitely warm during this time of day, having some fans outdoors to keep the air moving will be much appreciated. It will also keep mosquitoes and other small flying insects away from your gathering areas! Many of these pests are not able to fly well against an air current, so fans make the perfect dual-purpose addition.
You should also wear light-colored clothing and long pants – this will help protect against both the burning rays of the sun and the mosquitoes!
Keep Bugs Away from the Grill
Position your grill in a sunny area of the yard. Since mosquitoes dislike the heat from direct sunlight, this will keep them from congregating by the grill chef.
Cooked food should be moved to the serving area, and utensils should be cleaned or placed indoors immediately after eating. Pests such as flies and yellow jackets are attracted to your leftovers, so keep them at bay with proper cleanup.
Another grilling tip – place a bundle of fresh rosemary directly onto the hot coals. This will create a lovely scent for you and your guests, infuse the flavor of the herb into your grilled food, and create an undesirable smell for mosquitoes.
Keep Mosquitoes Away with Outdoor Décor
You can use your décor to your advantage in your fight against the bugs! Choose bug repelling plants in your yard and garden, for example, marigolds and mums are hardy and last well into the fall, providing a barrier from mosquitoes and other insect pests.
Decorate with herbs and flowers, creating beautiful centerpieces and accents. Try using lavender and eucalyptus; these scents are pleasing to us, but interfere with a mosquito’s ability to “smell” us. Here is a list of scents mosquitoes are repulsed by – luckily they’re all pleasant to our olfactory senses.
Placing a fire pit where people will gather can keep mosquitoes and other bugs away from that area. You could also choose to burn eucalyptus branches in the fire for extra mosquito repelling effectiveness.
You may also consider starting up tiki torches, citronella candles, and incense a few hours before your guests will arrive.
Prepare in Advance for your Backyard Barbeque
Yard preparation is key in planning for a barbecue. Clean up any trash or debris that may have blown onto your property, and be thorough; even a bottle cap filled with water is large enough to become a mosquito breeding ground.
Since many mosquitoes prefer to hide in taller grass, be sure to mow your lawn the day before or morning of your party. Also be sure to collect the grass clippings, not only does this eliminate hiding areas for mosquitoes, but it will keep grass clumps from being tracked into the house on guests’ shoes.
Drains and gutters should be cleared to ensure that water isn’t pooled up inside of them. Also, change bird bath water regularly – stagnant water makes a perfect area for mosquitoes to breed, and is also unhealthy for your birds. You may also consider adding bird feeders to your property – many birds choose to eat both seeds and insects and could help control the pest population.
Do you have any tips for keeping the bugs away from your backyard barbecue? Let us know in the comments or share your story with us on your next visit to Facebook!
Mosquito bites are just as pesky as the bugs themselves! The second you feel relief from scratching the bite, all of the itching comes back. It can be distracting during the day and even interrupt your sleep schedule at night. It’s not fair that such a tiny bite can cause such a big nuisance, right?
There are many quick and natural remedies for a mosquito bite, but chances are good you’ve probably asked the question, “WHY does this itch so much??”
Learn what makes mosquito bites itch so much, and how to treat them!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
The Science Behind the Bite
Did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? She lands on your skin and then pierces it using her feeding stylets. This is her mouthpiece that she uses to probe the skin, and the stylets consist of maxillae and a pair of mandibles.
Once she has inserted her feeding stylets, she locates a blood vessel and then begins to siphon blood from that vessel.
As the mosquito sucks the blood out, your blood vessels become damaged from the vacuum force. They can collapse or rupture.
The mosquito sucks out your blood through a tube called the labium. While this is happening, another tube simultaneously pumps saliva into your body through another tube, called the hypopharynx.
Ever wonder why you can never seem to swat a mosquito while she’s on your skin? She prevents your blood from clotting. Her saliva is an anticoagulant, so she can suck out blood rapidly before you even realize she’s there.
Her saliva also contains enzymes and proteins that cause an allergic reaction. Your immune system takes care of allergic reactions. To do this, immunoglobulins are sent to the bite area. These antibodies release histamines by breaking down tissue and mast cells.
White blood cells and proteins are also sent to the bite area to fight the mosquito’s saliva. Together with the histamines, the white blood cells and proteins make your cells’ capillaries more permeable to filter the saliva out.
The only downside is that histamines are what make you itch!
With all of this fighting going on, the bite swells up, itches and turns red, all due to the body’s inflammatory response.
The reason the bite itches even more when you scratch it is because scratching further inflames the area. This causes your immune system to keep sending histamines, white blood cells and proteins to fight the irritated area.
Make It Stop!! Mosquito Bite Relief
- Lemons or limes. Citric acid is known to have properties that relieve itches!
- Apple cider vinegar. Take a cotton ball soaked in the vinegar and put it on the bite for several minutes.
- Aloe. Just rub some aloe vera gel on the bite for quick relief.
- A heated spoon. Run some hot water over a spoon and place the back of it on the bite. When the bite starts to tingle, take the spoon off. Repeat a few more times. The heat causes the histamine to break up, which stops the itching.
- Banana peel. Rub the inside of a banana peel on the bite!
- Ice. Simply apply ice to the skin for 20 minutes to make the mosquito bite go away.
When all else fails, use products like Mosquito Magnet to keep those pests off you for good!
Update for August 2, 2016
After 14 people in Florida were found infected with Zika virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel warning stating that pregnant women should not travel to the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, Florida.
Previously, officials confirmed that four people contracted the Zika virus from mosquitoes within the same 150-square meter area of Wynwood in Miami. After door-to-door surveys of 200 people in the area, in their homes or businesses, an additional 10 tested positive for Zika virus.
Because of this small outbreak of local Zika transmission, the CDC is warning pregnant women not to travel to this area, and if they have since June 15, they should seek testing from their health care provider.
The website of the CDC also warns couples who are thinking about getting pregnant to speak with a healthcare provider if they have travelled to the Miami area. Additionally, those who have been in the area should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to become pregnant. The CDC also advises all pregnant women in the United States to be tested for Zika exposure during each prenatal care visit.
Check in with Mosquito Magnet® for updates on the spread of Zika and everything you need to know to keep mosquitoes from invading your property.
Buying bug sprays, tiki torches, and citronella candles is what most of us do in preparation for mosquito season. But what do we do for our dogs and cats? Are they susceptible to mosquito bites and illnesses, too? Yes! Here at Mosquito Magnet®, we want to make sure you and your pets have a healthy happy summer, so let’s talk about protecting your pets from mosquitoes!
Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Animals?
Since dogs, cats, horses and many other pets also produce high levels of carbon dioxide when they exhale, they too are strong mosquito magnets, just like humans. A mosquito bite can be just as irritating to an animal as it is to a person, and some critters may experience a potentially serious allergic reaction. Animals are also susceptible to certain mosquito-borne diseases. That’s why mosquito control for pets is so important.
Mosquito-borne Disease in Dogs and Cats
The most common mosquito-transmitted affliction that affects dogs and cats is heartworm. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it picks up heartworm larvae – also called microfilaria. Then, when the mosquito bites a new animal, it deposits the microfilaria into the skin.
Once inside the animal’s body, the larvae will mature into adult heartworms over a period of 3-4 months. Adult heartworms can grow as large as 12 inches and can survive inside a dog or cat for several years. The damage they cause to the heart, blood vessels, and other vital organs can lead to serious illnesses or death.
The best method to protect your pets from serious illness is prevention.
What About Horses?
Horses are equally susceptible to mosquito-borne diseases. They could be at risk of contracting equine encephalitis, which comes in a variety of forms. Encephalitis is a medical term that means “inflammation of the brain.” This is a zoonotic disease (transmittable from animals to humans) which is spread by the mosquito after having bitten an infected animal, usually a bird.
The two most common forms of the affliction are Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE). They derive their names from the areas of the United States in which they are prevalent.
Both diseases can have serious health implications for horses, and they can even be fatal in some instances. Learn more about effective mosquito management for horse farms. Prevention is the best medicine, so ask your equine veterinarian about important vaccines to prevent EEE and WEE.
Tips for Preventing Mosquitoes in Your Yard
There is a lot you can do to make sure mosquitoes aren’t going to make your backyard their new home. You’d be surprised at the tiny areas in which mosquitoes are able to lay their eggs. Begin by removing all trash from your yard which could be holding water, and also check for areas of pooling in holes and dog dishes, etc. It takes just eight days for mosquitoes to grow from egg to adult – be vigilant with your inspections!
Since mosquitoes are attracted to light, be sure to turn off outside spotlights when not in use. Also check your screens – they could enter through holes in screens to get to light inside. Many wild animals and other insects eat mosquitoes, too; check out our top five list here!
Set Up a Mosquito Magnet® Trap
Mosquito traps are an easy way to dramatically reduce the mosquito population on your property without exposing your pets to potentially harmful chemicals. Mosquito traps, such as the Mosquito Magnet®, can be placed in your yard and will start working immediately to eliminate these pests.
Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps safely lure in the female mosquitoes that are looking for a blood meal by using carbon dioxide and an attractant that mimics the scent of human body chemistry. Mosquitoes are then sucked into the trap, where they dehydrate and die within 24 hours. Mosquito Magnet® traps are also an effective way to control other bloodsuckers, such as black flies, midges and no-see-ums that can be bothersome to your pets as well.
Do you have a different method for repelling mosquitoes or keeping mosquitoes away from your pets? Let us know in the comments or tell us about it on your next visit to Facebook. Never miss an article; sign up for the Mosquito Magnet Newsletter for discounts and special offers!
How Big Can Mosquitoes Get?
A size comparison of mosquitoes and midges.
Mosquitoes and midges are pests, tiny little pests, yet they’re the most deadly animal on the planet. Here at Mosquito Magnet®, we wanted to take a look at the size difference between some of the most common biting mosquitoes and midges. In our infographic below, you can find a comparison of size between the smallest of these blood suckers – the biting midge, to the largest of them all – the gallinipper mosquito.
Biting Midges/No-See-Ums/Punkies/Sand Flies
Biting midges range in body length from 1 – 4mm (0.04 – 0.16in) These tiny pests are often so small that they can fit through typical screens on windows and doors. In tropical regions, biting midges are known to transmit filarial worms to humans and bluetongue virus to livestock. However, even when these pests aren’t vectors (carriers) of disease, their bite can be extremely uncomfortable and some people may develop an allergic reaction. On the plus-side, No-See-Ums and Gull Midges are the only known pollinators of the cacao tree. There are 4,000 – 5,000 known species of biting midges located throughout the world in tropical, sub-tropical, sub-Saharan, temperate regions and even areas with cooler climates.
Southern House Mosquito/Culex quinquefasciatus
The Southern House Mosquito ranges in length from about 3.96-4.25mm (0.16 – 0.17in). These opportunistic nighttime feeders are known to transmit West Nile Virus, Western Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, Rift Valley Fever Virus and filarial nematode. The Southern house mosquito, aptly named, enters homes at dusk to feed and rest on walls and in clothing. Mature females of the species prefer human blood. Quinquefasciatus is Latin for five-banded, referring to the banded appearance of the mosquito. Culex quinquefasciatus is a sub-tropical species found in North and South America, Australia, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and New Zealand within latitudes 36° N and 36° S.
Malaria Mosquito/Anopheles Mosquito/Marsh Mosquito
Known universally as the Malaria Mosquito, the Anopheles is the primary vector for Malaria. It is typically about 5mm (0.20in) in length and, uniquely, points its stomach upward while sitting. Anopheles mosquitoes are also known transmitters of heartworm in dogs. Approximately 430 species of Anopheles mosquitoes exist, but only 30 – 40 of those species are vectors of malaria. Many of the vector species of this mosquito have become resistant to insecticides. Anopheles mosquitoes are found all throughout the world, with the exception of Antarctica.
Northern House Mosquito/Culex pipiens
Ranging in length from 3 – 7mm (0.12 – 0.27in), the Northern House Mosquito is known as the primary vector of St. Louis Encephalitis. This mosquito also transmits West Nile Virus, Western Equine Encephalitis, Heartworm in dogs and bird Malaria. Previously considered a “bird feeder,” this mosquito has gotten the taste for human and mammal blood. The female C. pipiens is known to overwinter in caves, cellars, basements and outbuildings. This mosquito is considered to be the most common mosquito in urban and suburban areas in North America.
Yellow Fever Mosquito/Aedes Aegypti
Known to be the main vector of Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever in North, Central and South America, the Aedes aegypti mosquito is typically about 4 – 7mm (0.16 – 0.27in) in length. It is also a vector of the Zika Virus. This particular mosquito strikes during early morning and late afternoon hours when the temperature is cooler, and it is rather fond of human blood. The Yellow Fever Mosquito’s eggs can survive for up to a year if conditions were not suitable for hatching and will hatch once flooded by deoxygenated water. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is found in most regions in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world.
Asian Tiger Mosquito/Aedes Albopictus
More aggressive than its competitor, the Asian Tiger mosquito has overtaken the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in certain areas. Growing to be 2 – 10mm (0.08 – 0.39in) in length, the Aedes albopictus is a vector of the Zika Virus, and a potential carrier of Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Encephalitis and Hearthworm. Asian Tiger Mosquitoes are aggressive, persistent daytime biters who prefer human blood over other mammals. Their name comes from their tell-tale black-and-white striped appearance. The Aedes albopictus mosquito is found in most regions in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world and can survive a wide range of climates.
The Gallinipper Mosquito can grow 20 times as large as the Asian Tiger mosquito – it ranges from 12.7 – 25.4mm (0.5 – 1in) – that’s an inch-long mosquito! It is second in length only to the Australian Elephant Mosquito/Toxorhynchites speciosus, which is about 1.5 inches in length, but does not feed on blood. Bites from the Gallinipper are reported to be much more painful and this mosquito can bite through clothing. Folklore says this mosquito got its name, Gallinipper, because it seems like it takes a gallon of your blood when it bites. Luckily, this mosquito is not known to carry any diseases or parasites. It does, however, feed both day and night. P. ciliata are found in North American from South Dakota through Texas and Quebec through Florida. They are also found in South America.
If you would like to learn more about many of the mosquitoes featured here, check out our Biting Insect Library. Stay in-the-know about all things mosquito by following Mosquito Magnet® on Facebook or sign up for our Newsletter.
A special thanks to Kutztown University’s Biology Department for assistance with this article.