Mosquitoes are biting insects which feed on blood - of all mammals
- in order to reproduce. Only female mosquitoes 'bite', and within
hours of a full blood meal, the female can lay as many as 300
eggs. With multiple species hatching on different timetables all
season long, it's no wonder mosquitoes can be such a big problem
for those of us trying to enjoy the outdoors.
are able to survive on plant juices and nectar, the females require
blood to develop eggs (with a few rare exceptions).
not the mosquito's first choice for a blood meal. In fact, more
than half of all mosquito species prefer to get their blood meal
from birds, and large mammals and rodents are their second choice.
If humans are bitten, it is likely that the preferred hosts are
not immediately available.
mouth is made up of bristles and tubes. The bristles first poke
a tiny hole in the skin and then two tubes are inserted into the
hole. Saliva flows through one tube and the blood is sucked up
through the other. The saliva has an anticoagulant that allows
the blood to flow easily up through the tube. The proteins contained
in the saliva and left behind in the host are what causes the
skin to itch.
are they found?
Mosquitoes are widely distributed throughout North America. Depending
on where you live, they can be a problem all year round - even
in more northern regions, that can be a big problem from early
spring to late fall, depending on the weather.
are attracted to humans by CO2 (carbon dioxide), which they can
detect from up to 6 meters away. Then, in order to determine the
CO2 (carbon dioxide) isn't something like a car or smokestack,
the mosquito identifies secondary attractants like heat, lactic
acid or water vapor. These are all produced by humans as a result
of respiration and muscle activity, and are released into the
air from human breath and skin.
are sensitive to climate conditions such as heat and wind, so
they are most often active at dawn and dusk. The timing of development
of egg to adult is largely reliant on weather, other environmental
factors, and the species type. For certain species mosquito eggs
can survive in a dried state for as long as five years. Even after
all that time, eggs can still develop into mosquitoes when development
is triggered (by the right climate conditions).
Water is the
most important determining factor in mosquito reproduction and
population. As a rule, the wetter the spring in your area, the
more mosquitoes you'll end up with. Most mosquitoes like to lay
their eggs in wet earth or still or stagnant water. Around the
home, any container that can hold or collect as little as a teaspoon
of water is a potential breeding site. Used tires, holds in trees,
children's wading pools, cans, bird baths, plant saucers and bottle
caps are possible breeding sites. In hot summer months with sufficient
rainfall, eggs in these containers hatch quickly and can go from
egg to adult mosquito in less than 6 days.
are they a problem?
Not only are mosquitoes annoying (that little buzzing in your
ear that won't go away!), their bites can be very itchy, and some
people have a more serious allergic reaction to mosquito bites.
But mosquitoes can transmit more serious illnesses, too.
of mosquitoes prefer to get blood from a narrow range of hosts,
such as birds or wild animals, However, other species will feed
on birds, wild animals, and humans. It is this cross-over feeding
behavior that is responsible for the spread of certain diseases.
For example, Culex tarsalis (also known as the encephalitis mosquito),
will carry the
encephalitis virus after biting an infected bird (one strain of
encephalitis is found in certain bird species) and then pass this
virus along to every human it bites in its lifetime.
The primary mosquito-transmitted diseases are malaria, dengue
fever and yellow fever, and encephalitis.
yellow fever are essentially tropical diseases, and Canada does
not offer the kind of climate required for these diseases to thrive.
is a viral infection that causes fever, chills, and skeletal pain.
It is a serious problem in Southeast Asia, and, more recently
in Latin America. It has been found as far north as Texas.
several varieties of mosquito which are considered to be particularly
dangerous because of their role in transmitting disease. These
Mosquito, responsible for transmitting yellow fever. This mosquito
lives in Mexico, Brazil and in the southern United States. It
is not a concern for Canadians, however, because the yellow fever
mosquito cannot survive in temperate climates.
Mosquito, which is also responsible for transmitting yellow fever
as well as Dengue. While it has been found as far north as New
Jersey, it generally prefers a warmer climate.
Even though the mosquito's feeding apparatus looks like a syringe,
it actually operates very differently. In a mosquito, the food
canal (to suck up the blood) is completely separate from the salivary
canal (to send the anticoagulant from the mosquito to the host).
This means that the blood flow is one-way, from the host to the
that ingest HIV-infected blood digest that blood within 1 or 2
days, completely destroying any virus particles. Since the virus
does not survive to reproduce and invade the salivary glands,
the mechanism that most mosquito-born parasites use to get from
one host to the next is not possible with HIV.
Mosquitoes are pretty persistent bugs, but there are a lot of
things you can do to make yourself less attractive to the average
movement - studies have shown that movement can increase biting
activity by up to 50%.
- Wear white
- mosquitoes prefer darker shades that radiate heat.
- Don't use
strong fragrances - heavily scented toiletries like soap and
perfume, may attract mosquitoes.
- Don't sweat
it - sweat is a mosquito attractant and causes repellents to
lose their effectiveness sooner. In hot and humid conditions,
reapply repellent more often.
- Use the
right repellent - different products are used for different
outdoor activities and for different biting intensities.
- Stay inside
at dawn and dusk - these are the times when mosquitoes are most
- Clean up the yard
- mosquitoes will lay their eggs in virtually anything that will
accumulate water, from carelessly discarded toys to an old tin
can. Make sure your garden doesn't provide a mosquito breeding
ground. Mosquitoes also love to hide in long, unkempt grass
- Keep covered
- when camping, make sure tents and sleeping bags have no small
holes - mosquitoes have a knack for finding even the smallest
- Stay in the
sun - mosquitoes prefer shady, windless areas. You can slow them
down by staying in sunlight.
to find out how to bug proof your back yard.
Use the Doktor Doom Residual Insecticide spray.
Of all the things bound to spoil our time outdoors
and around the home, mosquitoes are the #1 culprits! Whether
barbecuing, gardening, camping or, the number one leisure activity
– walking, the places we like to do these activities are also
usually the preferred habitat for mosquitoes – including our yards.
You can find these pesky critters basically anywhere!
Mosquitoes are widely distributed throughout the U.S., including
the dry states. In the Southern states, they can be a year-round
concern, and even in the North, mosquitoes can wreak havoc from
early spring to late fall.
breed in swamps, ponds and debris that holds water, including
tree hollows, tin cans, old tires and wading pools. Only female
mosquitoes bite, and will find a host (usually birds, small mammals,
horses and people) to extract a blood meal to nourish her eggs.
Within hours of extracting a full blood meal, she flies off and
lays her eggs - as many as 300 at a time for some species - and
then again seeks hosts on which to feed. Eggs hatch into larvae
that live in water and come up to the surface to breathe. Larvae
develop into pupae in about 7-10 days. Pupae live and develop
in the water from one day to a few weeks. Then the adult mosquito emerges.
multiple species hatching timetables all season long it's
no wonder mosquitoes are such a major disruption to our lives
- without the right protection that is!
mosquito life cycle can last as little as 20 days or as long as
five years. The timing of development from egg to adult relies
on weather, other environmental factors and the species type.
For certain species, mosquito eggs can survive in a dried state
for as long as five years. Even after all that time, eggs can
still develop into mosquitoes when development is ultimately triggered
Mosquitoes Like to Bite Us
Believe it or not - humans are not the mosquito's
first choice for a blood meal! In fact, more than half of all
mosquito species prefer to get their blood meal from birds. Humans
come after larger mammals and rodents. If a mosquito chooses you
as its target, it is likely that other preferred hosts are not
dioxide (CO2) is a very important mosquito attractant given off
by humans. The mosquito detects CO2 by means of sensitive receptors
that can locate a human host from up to 20 feet away. The mosquito
then identifies secondary attractants to ensure that the source
of the carbon dioxide is a human and not something like a car
or smokestack. These secondary attractants such as heat, lactic
acid, and water vapor are a small sampling of literally hundreds
of potential attractants critical to this identification. These
are all produced by humans as a result of respiration and muscle
activity, and exit the body through breath and the skin. So, if
you breathe, you're a target!
Best Line of Defense…
Knowing and understanding mosquitoes' behavior
and where they live (which is usually where you do) will make
a big difference when it comes to avoiding getting bitten. To
learn where you can spot prime mosquito hangouts in your own yard,
be sure to check out how to
proof your yard
mosquito activity is at dawn and dusk.
a mosquito bites, saliva is injected into the victim to help
extract the blood. This is what causes the itching sensation
- and potential disease transmission.
- The annoying
mosquito whine is made by their wings, which beat up to 500
cycles a second, and allow them to fly up to 150 miles during
- In one
field study, the flight and biting activity of mosquitoes
increased by more than 500 percent on nights with a full moon.
from mosquitoes should not be left to chance.
can carry the West
are true survivalists. They've been spotted as high as 14,000
feet, and as low as 3,750 feet below sea level!
Like the mosquito, the black fly also has four life stages, egg,
larva, pupa, and adult. The first three stages develop only in
Most of us
think of black flies as one of the most annoying of the biting
insects. However, depending on the geographical location, black
flies may only be a problem for three or four weeks of every year
- and some species of black fly don't even bite!
are they found?
They are found in rapids and even just below waterfalls. In the
spring every spring and rivulet is a potential breeding place
for black flies. Depending on the species and environment, the
total length of time spent by a black fly in the water stages
may be as short as two weeks or as long as several months. The
adult emerges from the pupal skin, rises to the water surface
and takes flight almost immediately. The adult black flies are
small, stout-bodied, hump-backed flies with short, broad wings
and short legs.
are they a problem?
Some species that seldom bite can be very annoying because of
their habit of flying around the head and face. The life span
of the adult black fly ranges from a few days to several weeks.
For some species a second generation of black flies may develop
in the early fall. The female starts looking for her blood meal
approximately two weeks after emerging. Unlike the mosquito, the
black fly bites only during the day. With humans, in addition
to biting exposed areas, they also crawl through small openings
in clothing. Although the actual bite may not be painful, swelling
may occur later on and the area may remain sore and itchy for
several days or even longer.
Use Doktor Doom Residual Insecticide Spray or Doctor Doom House
and Garden Insecticide Spray.
Ticks are a biting insect similar to fleas. They are blood feeders,
and are attracted to all mammals, including people and pets. Typically
they will wait at ths top of a blade of grass or in low-lying
foliage. When an animal or human comes along, they leap on to
it for a meal. Usually, people and animals do not even notice
that they have been bitten.
are they found?
They are found throughout North America.
are they a problem?
Ticks are responsible for the spread of Lyme Disease, which is
the most serious insect arbovirus in the US. Since 1988, over
100,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported in North America.
Lyme disease is most often reported in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
United States, but has been reported throughout the US and in
many parts of Canada.
A bite by
an infected tick and can go totally unnoticed, and because the
symptoms of Lyme disease mimic those of other illnesses like the
common cold, the disease itself is often not accurately diagnosed
in its early stages. Left alone, Lyme disease can cause the manifestation
of many problems, including irregularities of heart rhythm, abnormalities
of the nervous system, and arthritis.
can be successfully treated with antibiotics at both the early
and later stages.
Doom Residual Insecticide Spray or Doctor Doom House and Garden
The best protection from ticks is to make sure they do not attach
themselves to you or your pet. If you are walking in an area that
is known for Lyme disease-carrying ticks, make sure your skin
is covered, especially below the knee and between your pant-leg
and shoes, where ticks commonly land.
Once you return
home, examine your skin and your pet's fur for ticks. If you spot
one, carefully remove it with tweezers, taking care to remove
the whole tick.
For more information on Deer Ticks (Lyme Disease) click on the
Division on Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases.
Prevent Tick Bites: Prevent Lyme Disease.
American Lyme Disease