So Mr Mosquito, for our readers could you describe a mosquito?
Well, mosquitoes are flying insects that can grow up to 1 to 2cms in length.
I think mosquitoes are amazing, but most humans consider mosquitoes to be a right royal pain in the proverbial, so much so that they sometimes call them a skeeter, a bloodsucker or a stinger, not very nice huh?
How many mosquitoes are there?
As a family we have over 3,000 different mosquito species of our family throughout the world.
Currently there are 176 of these mosquito species recognized in the United States.
How long do you live?
Depending on which particular mosquito species, and of course the local environment, our complete life cycle - the mosquito egg to larva to pupa, and finally to the adult mosquito stage - can take anywhere from 4 to 30 days.
The mosquito eggs are usually laid at night in batches of between 100 and 300.
Much like our smaller 'annoying relative' the no-see-um, mosquitoes like to lay their eggs on or near the surface of any available sheltered fresh or stagnant water.
Mosquitoes don't care whether it be a marsh, a ditch, a swimming pool or even in an old discarded tin can!
What do mosquitoes feed on?
OK, for this one you'd better make yourself comfortable, 'cause this is where things can get a little tricky.
Most people think in terms of carnivore, herbivore and even omnivore. Mosquitoes were born to be different.
During my early stage, that's the mosquito larva to you, I had to eat algae, all sorts of waste material and I have to admit even other mosquito larvae, so that kind of makes me a bit of everything.
Now that I'm an adult, as a male mosquito I tend to feed on sugar sources such as rotting fruit or plant nectar.
The female mosquito, on the other hand, has a tendency to bite you guys, you know - mammals/humans - but then only for the same reason that the no-see-ums do, to get the protein in your blood to grow her healthy mosquito eggs.
Whilst it may not seem it to you, humans are by far the second choice blood source.
Mosquitoes much prefer to feed from other mammals such as cattle and horses or smaller animals and birds if they're around!
Do mosquitoes transmit diseases in the U.S.A.?
Unlike the no-see-um, this answer is an emphatic yes.
Of the 3000 species, our prime carriers are the Culex mosquitoes which carry Encephalitis, Filariasis and West Nile virus with the Aedes mosquitoes (of which I am one) primarily known for carrying Yellow Fever, Dengue, Encephalitis and now Zika.
You will no doubt have heard of other mosquito-related cases of disease also identified in the U.S. such as Malaria, Chikungunya, Dog Heartworm, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, LaCrosse Encephalitis, and Western Equine Encephalitis.
From this list it is only malaria and yellow fever that you humans have managed to effectively control within the U.S. from the late 1940's; there have been occasional outbreaks of malaria since, from causes such as returning troops (bitten by mosquitoes overseas), but they have been rapidly dealt with.
The rest of the mosquito-related diseases on this list have been identified in varying numbers in many States of the U.S., some primarily in travel-related cases.
West Nile virus (WNV) 'arrived' in the U.S. in 1999, with occurrences now being relatively widespread; your CDC (the U.S. Government Center for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that there have been over 1.5 million WNV related infections in the last two years.
Sadly for you, many cases remaining unreported due to the similarity of the symptoms to other viruses.
Probably the virus of most concern today, and one that mosquitoes are the primary vector (transmitter) of, is the Zika virus.
It is known to have been first discovered in Uganda in 1947, but today cases have been found in 35 countries in the Americas, with over 1,657 reported travel-related cases of Zika in the U.S.
In U.S. Territories to date (1st August 2016), there have been 4,729 reported cases.
In the Caribbean, a total of 4,666 cases have been reported in Puerto Rico, 42 in American Samoa and 26 in the US Virgin Islands.
As of today (August 2016) there have been 50 diagnosed as having the Zika virus in New Jersey alone.
The CDC have released warnings for the Wynwood area of Miami-Dade County area Florida, indicating that the Florida Department of Health having identified the neighborhood as a source of mosquitoes currently spreading the Zika virus.
Fourteen cases have been positively identified but the true number of cases is likely "many times" that number. They recommend that pregnant women should not travel to this area.
It is usually transmitted after a bite from an infected Aedes agypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito.
It is also now believed that there are other methods of transmission such as through unprotected sex with an infected individual. The resulting illness is usually quite mild, with fever, rash, conjunctivitis and joint pain lasting a few days to several weeks or even months.
Furthermore, extreme complications that can lead to death are now linked with this virus: congenital defect of cranium and brain size in newborns (microcephaly) and Guillain-Barré syndrome (an autoimmune condition).
So, finally, what are the best ways to keep mosquitoes away from humans?
The choice is yours, depending on your particular preferences you can try each and see which one works best for you in your particular environment.
Of course you may wish to be kind to yourself and the planet so why not try this Awesome Natural Repellent from The Solid Bar Company.
It comes highly recommended and contains catnip, infused soybean oil, coconut oil, castor oil, essential oils of lemongrass, litsea, naiouli, geranium, neem, lavender, peppermint, cedarwood; that's 12 proven awesome natural bug repellents!
We hope this has been of help.
Best of luck from,
The Solid Bar Company Team
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