They want to suck your blood…

i-3b64381e8ec6d13a9b7d5f9e5a6cdc60-exp_insect100-thumb-200x156-66460.jpg

I hate this time of year when mosquitoes come out in droves to feast on unsuspecting victims. If only garlic and silver crosses worked…

The problem with mosquitoes is that they are known to transmit numerous diseases such as malaria, west nile virus, yellow fever, rift valley fever, dengue fever, LaCrosse virus, heartworm, and various forms of encephalitis.

Humans are certainly not the only victim of the wrath of mosquitoes. These mosquito born diseases also infect numerous animals.

We can thank the mosquito digestive tract for limiting the types of diseases the insect may transmit. This is because when a mosquito ingests an infectious agent, it must survive the digestive system in order for the mosquito to pass it along through their saliva. This means that mosquitoes cannot transmit diseases like HIV that are digested and therefore never enter the salivary glands. Some infectious agents actually avoid being digested by boring their way out of the mosquito’s stomach.

Interestingly, it is only the female mosquito that actually bites. This website offers some clues as to why mosquitoes seem to be attracted to certain people more than others.

Sources:

Rutgers Center for Vector Biology.

Comments

  1. #1 Karen
    June 21, 2011

    I don’t fall into any of the “odoriferous” categories, but every damn mosquito in the county knows when I step outside the house. My husband is relatively immune. Bah.

    MORE RESEARCH! Meanwhile, MORE DEET!

  2. #2 Moose
    June 23, 2011

    Interesting, I am ichy already

  3. #3 Barb
    June 28, 2011

    Are there certain times of the day when humans are more attractive to mosquitoes? Do post menopausal women attract mosquitoes more or less than other women?