Klemek: Mosquito facts offer little consolation
There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes worldwide.
About 176 of those species can be found in the United States. And of these 176, over 50 species call Minnesota home.
Take heart though, because not all "skeeters" bite, and those that do are females. Some consolation, hey?
Male mosquitoes survive on sugar-rich fluids obtained from plant nectar and other plant juices. But the female, though surviving on the same foods, seeks out blood-meals from mammals for the nourishment of her developing eggs following mating. Protein-packed blood provides her eggs with the needed sustenance to grow and mature.
Eggs are laid in the water, mostly in calm water, but some species lay eggs in flowing water. After the eggs hatch, it takes about two weeks for a mature, flying mosquito to emerge from their aquatic, swimming larval form. Living very short lives from just one day to about two months depending on the species, the female mosquito's one and only purpose is to mate and
seek out blood meals. And she does this in a very unique way.
Because of special receptors located on her mouthparts, female mosquitoes find intended victims quite easily. All of us know this to be the case as we step outside and are attacked soon afterward. Mosquitoes are able to detect us from the carbon dioxide we exhale as we breathe, from the lactic acid on our skin and from our body heat. Though we can't change what we exhale from our lungs, we can mask the lactic attractant on our skin by either covering ourselves with clothing or using repellents, which is either directly applied to the skin or on the actual garments we wear.
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