Category Archives: Mosquito Facts

How Far Do Mosquitoes Fly?

How Far Can Mosquitoes Fly?

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.

aedes aegypti

Aedes aegypti
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.

Aedes albopictusAedes albopictus
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:

  • 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.

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!

Keep learning more about mosquito facts by following Mosquito Magnet® on Facebook. You can also sign up for our E-Newsletter to save 10% on your first purchase.

When Will We Have a Zika Vaccine?

When will we have a Zika vaccine?

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.

Zika virus close-up. When will there be a vaccine? Learn more from Mosquito Magnet.
Close-up of the Zika Virus.

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
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.

DNA Vaccine
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.

mRNA Vaccine
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:

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Control mosquitoes inside and outside your home

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.

Stay up-to-date on Zika news and facts about mosquitoes and mosquito control by visiting Mosquito Magnet® on Facebook or by signing up for the Mosquito Magnet® Newsletter.

Miami Beach Mosquitoes Test Positive for Zika

Zika Mosquitoes Have been found hiding in Bromeliad plants.

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.

Zika Mosquitoes Have been found hiding in Bromeliad plants.
Popular bromeliad plants found to harbor Aedes aegyptus mosquitoes – keeping them safe from spraying efforts.

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.

Intensive trapping and studying of the area’s mosquitoes will continue. Check back with the Mosquito Magnet Blog for Zika updates as they arise or keep in-touch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch

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!

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch

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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

There’s several home remedies to alleviate that nagging itch. Most are natural cures — you don’t even need over-the-counter creams or sprays. Try these quick remedies:

  • 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!

CDC Issues Travel Warning during Miami Zika outbreak

zika virus, mosquito borne diseases, guillain-barre syndrome, Zika-related death, Mosquito Magnet

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.

Find other updates here.

How Big Can Mosquitoes Get? [Infographic]

How big can mosquitoes get, biggest mosquito, mosquito size, gallinipper mosquito, aedes aegypti, yellow fever mosquito, aedes albopictus, Asian tiger mosquito, southern house mosquito, northern house mosquito, biting midges, sand flies, punkies, no-see-ums, malaria mosquito, anopheles mosquito

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.

How big can mosquitoes get, biggest mosquito, mosquito size, gallinipper mosquito, aedes aegypti, yellow fever mosquito, aedes albopictus, Asian tiger mosquito, southern house mosquito, northern house mosquito, biting midges, sand flies, punkies, no-see-ums, malaria mosquito, anopheles 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.

Gallinipper/Psorophora Ciliata

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.


How to Relieve Mosquito Bite Itch Naturally

How to Stop Mosquito Bit Itch Naturally

With more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes in the world, it’s no wonder that these pests are almost impossible to escape. Their itchy bites leave people searching for relief, and luckily there’s plenty of natural mosquito bite remedies.

How to Stop Mosquito Bit Itch Naturally
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These pastes can be made with everyday items you most likely have in your home:

  • Baking soda paste can be made from mixing a small amount of water into baking soda. Apply the paste and wait several minutes before washing it off.
  • Meat tenderizer paste can be allowed to dry before removing.
  • Aspirin paste will reduce swelling and itching and relieve any pain from the bite.
  • Apple cider vinegar paste will dry out the bite and alleviate itching. Allow the paste to dry before washing it off.
  • Epsom salt paste will soothe itching. You can dissolve the Epsom salt, and then refrigerate the mixture before applying to make it more soothing.


These liquid remedies can be applied with cotton balls to reduce itching and swelling:

  • Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean the bite.
  • Lavender oil can be applied directly to the bite. Depending on the potency, you may want to dilute your oil.
  • A drop of witch hazel will reduce irritation and inflammation.
  • Liquid soap can be applied and left to dry or left on until the itching subsides.
  • Listerine contains menthol that will cool and soothe bites.


These household items are perfect for rubbing on fresh bites to control inflammation and itching:

  • Lemons and limes contain citric acid, which has itch relieving properties. Rub a slice of fruit on your bites to reduce itching.
  • Breaking an aloe leaf and rubbing it on the bite will soothe it. If you don’t have an aloe plant, you can find bottled aloe almost anywhere.
  • Crushed basil leaves are natural itch relievers because they contain thymol and camphor. Basil leaves also double as mosquito repellant.
  • Plantain herb can reduce bite itch in about a minute. Simply rub the leaves over the bite and wait for relief.
  • The inside of a banana peel may help draw fluid out of a mosquito bite.
  • Potato slices can be placed on a bite and left on for several minutes. When the itching subsides, remove the slice and clean the bite with water.

What About Prevention?

It’s great if you can treat mosquito bites, but why not try to prevent bites before they happen? With products like the Mosquito Magnet trap and mosquito attractant, you can outsmart these pesky insects and reduce the population of them near your home. You can also rely on natural pest control from other insects in your area. Dragonflies, ants and spiders all eat mosquitoes if given the chance.

Stopping itchy bites is good, but preventing them is better. Using natural solutions and Mosquito Magnet products will help you enjoy a summer that’s free from the pain and irritation of mosquito bites.

How Mosquitoes Bite

Mosquito Mouthparts,mosquito saliva, mosquito mouth, how mosquitoes work, mosquito bites, keeping mosquitoes away, feed mosquitoes, proboscis, flying syringe

Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal in the world, killing more than 1 million people per year. These stealthy creatures bite us and fly off, and we don’t even know they’ve attacked until the itch begins. Sometimes they leave behind a deadly parasite or virus. We’ve all been bitten by mosquitoes, some more than others, but do we really understand what is happening when this pest is biting us? Mosquitoes are far more complex than most people give them credit for.  Often called a flying syringe, the mosquito uses its proboscis to drink blood from an unassuming animal, which seems like a simple idea, but did you know that the proboscis is actually an intricate system of different pieces?

How Mosquitoes Bite, Mosquito Mouthparts
Illustration of head appendages from the Southern house mosquito.” Copyright © 2015 Choo, Buss, Tan and Leal. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).  Front Physiol. 2015; 6: 306. Published online 2015 Oct 29. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2015.00306

Mosquito Mouthparts Explained

Proboscis: (Fig. 2) The exterior feeding structure of the mosquito is known as the proboscis. In mosquitoes this feature is made of several different parts.

Stylet: Stylet is the term for the mouthparts which actually pierce and enter the skin; maxillae, mandibles, labrum, hypopharynx.

Fascicle: The term for a collection of stylets. In this case, it is comprised of: a pair of maxillae, a pair of mandibles, the labrum and hypopharynx.

Labium: (Fig 1. grey) The labium is the outer sheath of the proboscis. This sheath folds back as the fascicle enters the flesh of the victim.

Labella: The tip of the labium contains two sensory probes, called labella, which aid the mosquito in its search for a good place to bite. This part, in conjunction with the labium, could also be described as the lips of the mosquito, which remain outside of the skin of its prey, while the fascicle is inserted beneath the skin.

Maxillae: (Fig. 1 Mx/red) Maxillae are serrated structures used to saw through the skin – you don’t feel the sawing action because they’re so sharp and so small. A mosquito’s mouth is an elongated version of a typical insect mouth. In ants, for instance, this part would be what is used to chew through leaves.

Mandibles: (Fig. 1 M/dark green) While the maxillae go to work sawing through the skin, the mandibles hold the tissues apart. Imagine eating a steak: one hand (mandible) is holding the fork, while the other hand (maxillae) is using a knife to slice through the meat.

Labrum: (Fig. 1 blue)The labrum acts as a probe, searching for a blood vessel beneath the skin. Receptors in the labrum can detect blood, as if following a scent, leading it directly to the closest blood vessel. Once it finds and pierces a vessel, the gutter-shaped labrum sucks in the blood with the help of the hypopharynx. In this video you can see the labrum probing and, ultimately, finding a blood vessel.

Hypopharynx: (Fig. 1 light green) Working in tandem with the labrum, the hypopharynx lays on the labrum to create a straw-like structure. The hypopharynx begins pumping saliva into the victim as soon as the fascicle pierces the skin to stave off our immune response, lubricate the proboscis, keep blood from coagulating and dilate our blood vessels.  This piece could be thought of as the tongue of the mosquito.

How do Mosquitoes Find you?

Female mosquitoes are looking for a blood meal in order to properly form her eggs. In order to detect a proper blood meal, females are equipped with special structures called cpA neurons, these nerve cells have a receptor that detects carbon dioxide and skin odorants such as perspiration and lactic acid. Additionally, the mosquito is attracted to heat and infrared light. It is the combination of all of these factors that leads the mosquito to a successful bite.

Mosquito biting, mosquito bite, how mosquitoes bite

The Bite

A typical mosquito bite begins with the female mosquito landing and probing with the labella to find a perfect spot. When she has found the right place to bite, she sinks her fascicle into the skin while the hypopharynx pumps out saliva. The labrum begins probing for a blood vessel. Once a blood vessel is found, the hypopharynx lays on the labrum creating a tube which pulls in blood and fills the mosquito’s abdomen. The blood is filtered within the mosquito, separating the water from the red blood cells – the water is then expelled from the rear end so that she can get the maximum amount of nutrition from the blood. This step allows a mosquito to ingest about five to ten times more nutrients than it would have with unfiltered blood. If you’re ready to watch the mosquito in-action, here’s a great video from PBS that explains how these mouthparts all work together.

Fun Fact: Inside of the stomach of the mosquito there is a nerve that indicates when the stomach is filled. If that nerve were to shut down, the mosquito would not stop drinking and burst from the pressure.

Myth Busted: No, you cannot make a mosquito explode by flexing a muscle.  The theory is that you can trap the proboscis in your arm or leg by flexing a muscle, which stops the mosquito from leaving, forcing it to keep drinking until it explodes. This is absolutely not true (PDF).

Why it Itches

If you have never been bitten by a mosquito before, your immune system will not have developed antibodies devoted to fighting the foreign chemicals in mosquito saliva, so you won’t have an itch. However, once this has occurred, your immune system responds to the bite with histamines meant to attack and destroy the foreign chemicals left behind by the mosquito. The histamines make cells in the blood vessels spread apart, causing fluids to leak out into the skin, and these extra fluids cause a bump. The bump triggers other receptors and leads to itching. If bitten enough times, like those who feed mosquitoes in a lab, the immune system response becomes so strong that you may stop developing itchy bumps altogether.

Disease Transmission

Not only does the potent mosquito saliva keep us from detecting the mosquito’s presence by stopping our immune response, this is also how the unwitting creature spreads diseases. Since its saliva thins the blood, it makes it easier for a virion (complete viral particle) in the saliva to hop into our blood stream and infect our body. Malaria can get all the way to the liver within 20 minutes of being injected into our systems.

Keeping Mosquitoes Away

Now that you know more about how the mouthparts of a mosquito work, you’re likely thinking about how to keep them far, far away from you. Experts recommend using repellents, covering all skin, eliminating standing water around the house and setting traps to decrease populations of mosquitoes in your immediate area.

Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps use the mosquito’s own biology against it. The trap emits carbon dioxide, combined with a lure that mimics body odors to attract the mosquitoes. Once they come close, they are sucked up by the patented CounterFlow™ technology into the trap where they dehydrate and die within 24 hours. Fewer mosquitoes mean fewer chances for a mosquito to sink its 6 needle-like mouthparts into your skin.

For more mosquito updates and information be sure to follow Mosquito Magnet® on Facebook. Never miss an article or a discount on Mosquito Magnet® products by signing up for our e-Newsletter.

West Nile Worries

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Zika virus is on the tip of everyone’s tongue for this year’s mosquito season, but out in the west Texas town of El Paso the first case of West Nile has already been reported. In fact, specifically in Texas, this well-known virus is expected to present itself in greater numbers under current climate conditions, conditions that are very similar to 2012, the year of the last large outbreak of West Nile virus.

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile Virus is spread primarily by bites from the Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito; mosquitoes begin to carry the virus after they have fed on infected birds. The virus can also be passed through contact with infected animals and their blood or other tissues. West Nile affects birds, humans, horses and other mammals. This virus is a member of the Flaviviridae family.

This deadly virus can also lead to meningitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain. According to WHO, 80% of people who are infected may experience no symptoms at all, but approximately 20% of people who are infected will develop West Nile Fever; headache, fever, tiredness, nausea, skin rash, vomiting, and swollen lymph glands. 1 in 150 may develop a more severe form of – this mostly affects individuals over age 50 and those who already have an immune disorder.

While there is no vaccine for West Nile Virus for humans, there is a vaccine for horses.  Preventatives should be used to keep mosquitoes away from household pets.

West Nile’s Toll

In 2015, West Nile virus was still prevalent in the States – there were 2,060 cases reported, totaling in 119 deaths.

Back in 2012, the West Nile Virus outbreak saw 5,674 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 286 deaths in the 48 contiguous states. In Texas alone, 2000 people were stricken with the virus, which killed 89.

“The conditions here are very similar to 2012, when we had a big outbreak of West Nile virus,” James Kennedy told The Scoop Blog. Kennedy, a mosquito expert and professor of biology at the University of North Texas warned, “I don’t want to spread panic, but I suspect we may see more West Nile virus this year than we’ve seen in the past few years.”

West Nile virus, mosquito season, mosquito bites, preventing mosquito bites

Preparing for Mosquito Season

From 2004-2012 scientists tracked weather patterns as they related with outbreaks of West Nile. The study revealed that on the East Coast, if the previous autumn and spring was drier than normal – it would correlate with an above–average number of West Nile outbreaks. The opposite was true for West Coast areas. With this information at-hand, steps can be taken to decrease the risk of being bitten by both the Zika- and West Nile-transmitting pests.

Remove standing water – Eliminate items that collect water such as buckets, tires or old bottles and cans. A bottle cap can provide an area large enough for mosquitoes to breed.

Keep swimming pools clean – Chlorinate or treat outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs. Never allow water to puddle-up on pool covers.

Install window screens – Check and repair holes in window screens and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

Wear proper attire – Don long sleeves, long slacks and lighter-colored clothing when going outdoors.

Make use of mosquito repellents – Wear a mosquito repellent when going outdoors during peak mosquito times. Dawn and dusk are prime time for the West Nile-spreading Culex mosquitoes, while the Aedes mosquitoes, which spread Zika, are day-biters. You can also implement the use of citronella candles or oil lanterns for your outdoor festivities.

Set a trap – Drastically reduce the number of biting mosquitos in your yard by using a trap. Female mosquitoes – the ones who bite – are looking for a blood meal and are attracted to mammals by their temperature, output of carbon dioxide, and body chemistry. By using a trap that mimics such things, you can help control the population in your yard or outdoor venue.

Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps lure-in biting mosquitoes by way of heat, carbon dioxide and an attractant that mimics body chemistry. The hungry mosquito is then pulled into the trap via the patented Counterflow technology where they will dehydrate and die within 24 hours. Fewer mosquitoes will mean fewer chances of being bitten by one of these disease-riddled nuisances.

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Mosquito Season: It’s Longer Than You Think

When Is Mosquito Season?

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to mosquitoes – until you get a red, itchy welt on your skin that is a sure sign of a mosquito bite. While mosquito season is usually associated with the hotter summer months, it actually begins much earlier and extends well into autumn.

Protect Your Home And Business With Our Mosquito Magnet® Traps

Quick-fix mosquito solutions that only last a few weeks won’t get the job done. Any mosquito control program you choose needs to be implemented on a long-term basis in order to provide effective, lasting protection throughout the mosquito season.

Why Should You Be Concerned About Mosquito Season?

There’s no doubt that mosquitoes are an annoyance. There’s nothing like a swarm of pesky mosquitoes to ruin a fun evening on the deck or patio with your family, or to send your barbecue guests running for cover. But some of the 176 known mosquito species in the United States can also pose a health hazard to people and animals.

Examples of potentially serious mosquito-borne diseases include eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus, which in severe cases can result in brain damage and even death. In 2014, the first cases of an affliction known as chikungunya — which can cause fever, rash, severe joint pain and other health issues — were reported in the U.S.

Mosquito Bite

When Does Mosquito Season Start?

Depending on the species, some mosquitoes hibernate during the winter and re-emerge when the weather begins to get warmer, while others hatch from previously laid eggs in the spring. The temperature plays a key factor in determining the actual start of the mosquito season.

Generally, mosquito activity will begin when the temperature reaches the 50° F level. Mosquitoes thrive on hot weather. Thus, as the temperature begins to rise, the mosquito volume increases accordingly. The mosquito season reaches its peak during the hot summer months.

When Does Mosquito Season End?

When is mosquito season over? Again, the temperature plays an important factor. As the weather begins to cool, you’ll likely notice a decrease in the level of mosquito activity on your property. Non-hibernating mosquitoes will begin to die off as the temperature approaches the 50° F mark, while the hibernating species will start to seek winter refuge in hollow logs, abandoned animal burrows and other convenient hiding spots.

The first frost is usually a reliable sign of the end of mosquito season. However, it’s possible that some hibernating mosquitoes will emerge during unexpected warm spells during winter, only to return to their hiding places when the temperature drops.

Mosquito Season Varies by Region

Since mosquito activity is so closely linked to temperature, the actual mosquito season can vary greatly from one region to another — and even from one year to the next. As you might expect, the warmer the climate, the earlier the mosquito season starts and the longer it’s likely to last. While residents in some areas of the U.S. may not see the first mosquito until May or June, others will have to start dealing with the flying pests as early as February. In the extreme South and Hawaii, mosquito season has been known to last throughout the year!

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As far as other warmer regions in the U.S., the mosquito season in Arizona typically begins in early March. The mosquito season in Florida will vary depending on which part of the state you’re located in. The cooler northern portion normally doesn’t begin to experience mosquito activity until early March, while South Florida may see mosquitoes in early February. The tropical South Florida climate is especially conducive to the mosquito lifestyle, since mosquitoes are attracted to moisture and humidity for breeding and laying eggs.

In contrast, the mosquito season in Alaska is notoriously brief. While the mosquito season in southern Alaska generally starts in early May, it might begin as late as mid-June in the northern regions of the state and end by late July. In the Northeast, the gradual warming trend that has occurred in recent years has also produced a longer mosquito season. Use our mosquito population map to get an idea of the expected beginning of mosquito season on a regional basis.

Prepare Before Mosquito Season Arrives

Many property owners wait until they see a swarm of mosquitoes – or until they have been bitten – to begin the mosquito control process. However, by this time, infestation has probably already occurred. The actual preparation for mosquito season should begin much earlier, before the mosquitoes have had the chance to promulgate.

Remember, as the weather warms, the mosquito breeding cycle time shortens, which ultimately results in an increase in the number of mosquitoes on your property. This means you’ll want to get started while the weather is chilly – before the temperature consistently reaches that magical 50° F plateau.

Start by Mosquito-Proofing Your Property

It’s never too early to begin the process of creating a mosquito-proof property. Take steps to make your yard less inviting to mosquitoes, and make sure they don’t have easy access to the inside of your home:

Objects that collect water  Remove any objects that collect water — Take an inventory of your yard and remove anything that could hold standing water, since these objects can serve as primary mosquito breeding grounds. Mosquitoes require only a small amount of water for depositing their eggs, so don’t overlook any potential water collection vessel. Flower pots, birdfeeders, old tires, wheelbarrows, and buckets are just a few examples of favorite mosquito habitats.

Clean gutters  Clean clogged gutters — Gutters tend to become clogged with leaves and other debris during the course of a long winter. Flooded roof gutters and clogged drainage systems create standing water that attracts mosquitoes in droves. It will be worth your time to get the ladder out on the first relatively warm day (after all the snow and ice has melted) and give your gutters a good cleaning.

Fill In  Fill in low-lying areas — Ditches and other low-lying areas also collect standing water after a rainfall. After the snow melts, survey your property for these potential trouble spots and fill them in wherever possible.

Fill hollow logs  Fill in hollow logs — By filling in or removing any hollow logs on your property, you’ll eliminate another standing water source while also removing a potential habitat for hibernating mosquitoes in the winters to come.

Repair windows  Repair damaged or ineffective window screens — Repair your window screens before you install them for the warmer weather. Tiny mosquitoes can find their way into your home through the smallest tear in your screens. Consider replacing worn screens or ones with openings that are too large to keep mosquitoes out. A 16-18 mesh is the recommended size for pest control purposes. If you have a screened-in deck, porch or patio, check the screen condition on this as well.

Repair Leaks  Repair cracks and leaks — Cracks in your home’s foundation and exterior walls can provide easy entry for mosquitoes, so be sure to seal any that you find. Also repair any leaks that could create pools of water.

Install Bug Lights  Install bug lights — Installing yellow outdoor bug lights won’t necessarily keep mosquitoes away, but it will make your property somewhat less attractive during the nighttime hours.


In-Season Mosquito Control Tips

While mosquito-proofing your home will go a long way toward preventing an infestation, it’s difficult to keep these relentless pests away for the entire season. You’re particularly susceptible if you live in a warmer region where the mosquito season is long and the bugs are plentiful.  You’ll probably need to implement some or all of the following:

In-Season Mosquito Control Steps

Cover potential water-collecting objects when not in use — There may be some objects that you want or need to keep outdoors during the warmer months, such as boats and wading pools. Keep these items covered when you’re not using them, or overturn them to prevent mosquito access.
Be vigilant after rainstorms — Summer rains can be refreshing and will keep your lawn and plants healthy. But rain also creates puddles and pools that are sure to attract mosquitoes. Patrol your property after every rainfall and sweep up/dry and wet areas where possible.
Keep your swimming pool clean — Mosquitoes will generally stay away from well-maintained swimming pools. However, if you don’t use your pool for an extended period of time or fail to keep it clean, they’ll likely be drawn to the dirty, stagnant water. If you cover your pool, the cover will collect rainwater. If your pool remains unused and covered for extended time frames, dump off any accumulated water.
Mosquito repellents — There are a number of commercially available mosquito repellent products you can use in an effort to deter mosquitoes. Citronella candles can sometimes work well in smaller, confined areas. Other options include sprays, coils and bug zappers. These products can provide varying levels of success, so it may require a bit of trial and error to find the ones that work best on your property.
Personal mosquito protection — If you live in a region that is prone to mosquito infestation, you’ll want to protect yourself while you’re outdoors. Cover as much of your body as possible with light-colored clothing, and apply a DEET-based mosquito protectant on exposed skin. Try to avoid going outdoors during the early morning hours or at dusk, which are the peak mosquito times.

Use Traps to Control Mosquitoes Throughout the Season

All of these methods can be extremely beneficial in helping you control mosquitoes and keeping them away from your property. Unfortunately, none of these options will do anything to reduce the mosquito population. Mosquitoes are prolific breeders, especially during the peak mosquito season. The best way to get rid of mosquitoes is to disrupt their breeding cycle.

That’s where an effective mosquito trap can be your biggest ally in your ongoing fight against these swarming, bloodsucking pests. A Mosquito Magnet® trap will help you create a mosquito-free property from the beginning of the season until the end.

Mosquito Trap for All Seasons

Mosquito Magnet® Traps Use the Power of Attraction

Unlike other mosquito control methods, Mosquito Magnet® does not temporarily repel mosquitoes. Instead, it relies on the power of attraction to lure and kill mosquitoes. Continuous use of a Mosquito Magnet® trap throughout the mosquito season will disrupt their breeding cycle. Because fewer mosquitoes are breeding, you’ll see a dramatic reduction in the mosquito population on your property.

The Mosquito Magnet® Attraction Process

Have you ever wondered what makes humans so attractive to mosquitoes? Mosquitoes are naturally drawn to the warmth, moisture and carbon dioxide that is found in human breath. When you exhale, you’re unwittingly inviting mosquitoes to stop by for a snack.

A Mosquito Magnet® trap emits a precise and steady stream of carbon dioxide, heat, and moisture that mimics human breath. When the mosquitoes are lured to the trap, the patented Counterflow™ Technology works like a vacuum cleaner and sucks them inside. The mosquitoes then become entangled in a specially designed net, where they die of dehydration within 24 hours. Instead of repelling mosquitoes, you’re systematically capturing and killing them all season long.

Start Using Your Trap at the Beginning of the Mosquito Season

It’s important to begin your mosquito control efforts as early as possible, before the breeding cycle goes into full swing. You should start using your Mosquito Magnet® trap as soon as the temperature begins to rise above the 50° F level. This ensures you’ll be able to trap those newly emerging mosquitoes before they have a chance to meet up with their friends.

Since the trap is designed for effective 24/7 operation, you’ll be able to keep trapping them as the mosquito system progresses. Here are a few examples of suggested trap starting times for a cross-section of U.S. states:

•  Mosquito season in Maine: early May

•  Mosquito season in Alaska: early May

•  Mosquito season in California: early April in the north and early March in the south

•  Mosquito season in Pennsylvania: late April

•  Mosquito season in Florida: early March in the north and early February in the south

•  Mosquito season in Arizona: early March

Maximize Trap Performance With a Secondary Attractant

Regardless of when the mosquito season starts in your area, you can increase your catch rate by as much as 10 times by using a secondary attractant. We offer EPA-registered attractants that are tailored to the types of mosquitoes that are most prevalent in specific regions:

•  Octenol — Ideally suited for luring the Asian tiger mosquito found in coastal areas and the northern U.S. and Canada

•  R-Octenol — An enhanced formulation of Octenol that lures most mosquito species found in coastal regions and the northern U.S.

•  Lurex3™: Powerful attractant for luring the Asian tiger and other day-biting mosquitoes found in the southern U.S. and Hawaii

Mosquito Attractant Map

Be Ready for Mosquito Season – Whenever It Starts

When does mosquito season start? Whether the mosquitoes in your neck of the woods begin to make their presence known in February, June or anytime in between, a Mosquito Magnet® trap can provide the season-long protection you need to keep these uninvited guests away.

When is mosquito season over? The beginning of the end for mosquitoes occurs when you start running your Mosquito Magnet® trap! Check out the complete lineup of Mosquito Magnet® traps and choose the one that best meets your mosquito control requirements.