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11 Reasons Why Mosquitoes Are The Worst

Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying, they spread killer diseases, as well. They are often called one of the most dangerous animals on the planet.

That’s right: The most dangerous animals on the planet can be killed with a single swat — but if they’ve had time to bite, they may have already transmitted a fatal disease.

Illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes and their ilk kill more than a million people each year and infect more than a billion, causing debilitating pain, brain damage, blindness, and other serious effects.

Half of the world population is considered at-risk for diseases transmitted by blood-sucking bugs like ticks, sandflies, and mosquitoes. For World Health Day 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) wanted to highlight that very real risk with a snappy slogan: «small bite, big threat.»

Globally, the deadliest of the creatures that carry and cause these diseases is the mosquito. Here are 11 scientifically valid reasons why they are the worst.

1. Mosquitoes put 40% of the world at risk for dengue, which causes «the feeling of broken bones.»

Dengue fever hurts so much that it’s commonly referred to as break bone fever.

It’s the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne disease in the world, with 40% of the world currently at risk. Between 50 and 100 million people get dengue every year, and even though it’s not usually fatal, it still is a leading cause of death for children in certain Latin American and Asian countries.

The disease can also develop into severe dengue, a hemorrhagic condition that is much more dangerous, causing bleeding, organ impairment, and persistent vomiting.

There’s no medicine or vaccine for dengue. Treatment generally involves just trying to keep patients hydrated.

2. Mosquitoes spread yellow fever, which the WHO calls «the original viral haemorrhagic fever.»

Yellow fever infects around 200,000 people a year — and kills 30,000. It’s a viral hemorrhagic fever that has no treatment. After a period of severe illness, most patients recover, but about 15% enter a toxic phase, when they start to bleed internally and organs begin to fail. About half of patients who enter the toxic phase die.

Cases of yellow fever have been increasing since the 1980s due to declining human immunity, deforestation, climate change, increased air travel, and higher infection rates in cities due to a particular breed of mosquito called the Aedes aegypti.

However, there is an effective vaccine for the fever — one dose provides life-long immunity, and many countries won’t permit travelers to enter without proof of vaccination.

The painful and potentially debilitating virus chikungunya has been around for centuries, but just appeared in the Americas for the first time at the end of 2013.

The disease’s name comes from a word in a Tanzanian language that means «to become contorted,» referring to the severe joint pain that it causes, which lasts for weeks, and in some rare cases, even months and years.

«I’ve been in Africa and seen and heard children just screaming for days on end because of the pain,» American Mosquito Control Association technical advisor Joe Conlon told Business Insider last summer.

The first cases were reported on the island of Saint Martin, but since then, cases have occurred in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Barthelemy, the British Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic.

Humans have very little natural immunity to chikungunya, which has allowed mosquitoes to spread the virus quickly throughout populations. In 2005, an outbreak sped through the island of La Reunión, sickening 200,000 of 750,000 residents, despite the fact that the only mosquitoes there, the Asian Tiger Mosquitoes, should not have been able to transmit the virus. Experts realized that it had mutated, allowing Asian Tiger mosquitoes to spread the disease.

4. Mosquitoes scoff at national borders, turning isolated cases into outbreaks.

Any person infected with a mosquito-borne disease can carry it to a different country, where it can spread if they are bitten by a local mosquito upon arrival — which happens frequently.

In 2007, an older Italian man returned home from a trip to India, unknowingly having been bitten by a mosquito carrying chikungunya. Upon returning home, he visited a cousin — and within 3 months, more than 200 people had been infected with the disease.

5. Mosquitoes infect us with nasty bird diseases, like West Nile Virus.

Although West Nile Virus is carried by birds, humans can catch it too — usually from a mosquito that bit the bird first.

Most people don’t develop symptoms, but 20% of those infected develop a fever — accompanied by headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

About 1 in 150 people infected become seriously ill with West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis, both of which are potentially fatal conditions. Horses can also become ill due to West Nile Virus, but neither horses nor humans can spread the disease. And while there’s a vaccine against the illness for horses, there’s not one for humans.

6. Mosquitoes don’t play fair: They target some people more than others.

Some people really are mosquito magnets. Mosquitoes are drawn to the smell given off by the bacteria that live on everyone’s skin, and some people give off an odor that makes them especially attractive to the tiny beasts. And contrary to what a lot of people say, eating garlic and using natural repellent doesn’t do much, if anything, though DEET-containing bug repellents are indeed effective.

Rift Valley fever mostly affects animals, but mosquitoes can transmit it to humans, too, where it causes some pretty horrific symptoms.

Some people experience no symptoms, but among those who do, the effects seem like a flu at first. Some develop neck stiffness and sensitivity to light as well.

But the small subset of people (fewer than 2%) who get the ocular form of the disease may develop lesions in their eye that cause them to go blind, while others (also fewer than 2%) may develop a potentially fatal brain disease or hemorrhagic fever.

Since Rift Valley fever primarily affects animal populations, its effects can decimate farming industries and economies.

8. Mosquitoes cause permanent disability around the world.

Lymphatic filariasis, a mostly neglected tropical disease, is a leading cause of permanent disability for people around the world.

More than 120 million people are currently infected, and about one-third of them are disfigured and incapacitated by it.

Mosquitoes spread microscopic parasites between people, which then settle into the lymphatic system to multiply over a period of 6-8 years. They can damage the immune system and the kidneys, and later on in life may cause painful swelling in the arms, legs, and genitals.

9. Mosquitoes spread fatal diseases to children.

Japanese encephalitis is another disease that mosquitoes can spread to humans from infected animals, though humans cannot spread the disease themselves. It still kills about 10,000 people a year, mostly children under the age of 5. Although there is no treatment, there is an effective vaccine.

10. Mosquitoes spread malaria, which still causes hundreds of thousands of deaths every year.

Between 2000 and 2012, there’s been a dramatic reduction in malaria deaths — 42% globally. Even so, an estimated 627,000 people died from malaria in 2012 alone, and there were approximately 207 million cases of the disease.

Female Anopheles mosquitoes transmit Plasmodium parasites in their bites, which then cause high fever, chills, and a serious flu-like illness that can kill if it’s not treated. This disease is preventable, with items like bed nets, insect repellent, and long sleeves, and is treatable, yet it still kills that many people.

Mosquitoes don’t need much to survive. Any small water container — or anything that will catch rainwater — is enough to provide a breeding ground. Mosquitoes are also becoming resistant to commonly used insecticides, like pyrethroids, which are used to treat bed nets.

They also travel quickly. The Asian Tiger Mosquito, which is known to carry yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya, has spread to 36 states since first showing up in the United States in 1985.

Its vehicle of choice? Used tires. Tires commonly hold standing water, which makes them an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Worn out tires are sent from rich countries to poor countries, where they are often fitted with new treads, and then sent back to the countries they came from. And on both routes, they may carry six-legged stowaways. This is such a serious problem that entomologists are looking for ways to incorporate insecticides into tire rubber.

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Do Mosquito Hawks Eat Mosquitoes?

Ever seen one of those giant mosquito hawks flying around? They look pretty dangerous, don’t they? A mosquito hawk (they are also known as ‘mosquito eater’ or ‘crane fly’) could and would probably eat smaller mosquitoes in a heartbeat! I was really curious if this rumor was actually true: Do mosquito hawks really eat blood-sucking mosquitoes or not? So I set out to find the truth behind it all. This is what I learned.

There’s a reason why some people refer to these huge bugs as ‘mosquito eaters’, since they are indeed looking like ferocious predatory creatures. They are not. And they’re not cannibals either, because the mosquito hawk officially belongs to the insect family called Tipulidae, which are essentially different types of crane flies (which are a completely different group of species). But the question remains: Will they prey on the ‘skeeters’ we all know so well from those itchy bumps on our skin?

Do Large Mosquito Hawks Eat Small Mosquitoes?

The rumor that mosquito hawks will kill and eat smaller mosquitoes is false. However, these so-called ‘mosquito eaters’ can eat mosquito larvae when they are themselves in a larval stage. This does not make them cannibals, since mosquito hawks (i.e. crane flies) belong to a different insect species.

Just to be absolutely sure of this answer: Crane flies (the real name for those big dangerous looking insects) aren’t even biologically capable of biting or eating mosquitoes as adults. And they don’t bite either, they are completely harmless in every way imaginable. Except perhaps if they fly into your eye or mouth, that’s just outright disgusting. But it won’t harm you, that’s for sure.

While regular mosquitoes have blood-sucking mouthparts (called a proboscis), crane flies lack this part, as they do not need it to produce their offspring. Actually, most of their build is pretty interesting. Here’s an article I wrote about why they have such long legs, which is another commonly found question when it comes to these harmless critters.

Do Mosquito Hawks Really Kill Mosquitoes?

Some mosquito hawk larvae will kill mosquito larvae when they are in this stage of their own. So they won’t attack and kill adult mosquitoes, but they might eat them in a larval stage of their lives, if the opportunity arises. Mosquito hawks will, however, focus primarily on a plant-based diet.

Apart from their nutritional needs, mosquito hawks are also never in a territorial conflict with ‘regular’ mosquitoes. Neither will they bite or sting each other, that’s absolutely out of the question ánd biologically impossible.

Mosquitoes sting other species based on certain substances found in blood, so why would they even consider attacking a skeeter hawk? Those critters barely have any blood, or at least way too little for the needs of mosquitoes. Also, their biological makeup is much different from e.g. humans.

The myth that crane flies (the real name of this big-legged insect species) will attack and kill mosquitoes does not seem to hold up in practice. So if they don’t eat mosquitoes, what is it that they do eat? Don’t they need to feed on something commonly found in nature to survive? Let’s find out what their main diet is actually composed of. Gluten-free, veggie, organic and without chemicals, I suppose.

Crane Fly Diet: What Do ‘Skeeter Hawks’ Eat?

We now know that crane flies (also called ‘mosquito hawks’ or ‘skeeter hawks’) don’t actually eat mosquitoes. Instead, their main diet is vegetarian. In the larval stage, they’ll eat roots of forage crops, turf grasses and seedling field crops. Adult crane flies mainly eat nectar or other sugary liquids.

The reason their diets will change depending on their stage of life, mainly comes down to the fact that larvae will eat whatever is available to them. That’s why they will occasionally also eat mosquito larvae, when given the opportunity. However, their primarily vegetarian diet is chosen based on the fact that that’s usually the most nutritious food around.

When they develop wings as adults, it becomes a lot easier for them to gather more nutritious things like nectar. Non-flying larvae are not able to reach the flowers, but if you have wings, an entirely new universe opens up! It’s at that moment where the mosquito hawk will have to maintain a much larger body. Their size requires loads of sugar, especially because they enjoy flying so much! There’s a reason they keep fly-bumping into your window…

Do Mosquito Hawks Eat Mosquito Larvae?

Yes, some sub-species of crane flies (the official name for a mosquito hawk) will eat mosquito larvae. But they will only do this when they are in the larval stage themselves. Mosquito hawks will however primarily have a vegetarian diet, such as crops and grasses. This can be harmful to farm crops.

Their dietary choice makes it so important to eradicate them in rural areas where farmers are active. There are a lot of reports of crane flies destroying crops, which obviously has a great economic impact. The seasons in which the larvae are actively destroying crops (to grow up) changes rapidly due to climate change.

Where farmers attempt to fight the eggs, crane flies adapt and find new locations to lay their eggs. This is where they can also come into close contact with mosquito babies. Because the natural habitat of mosquito larvae is so widespread, they might use the eggs or larvae as an alternative food. However, it’s much more common for them to focus on a vegetarian diet.

Which Animals Eat Mosquitoes?

There are a lot of different types of animals that will eat mosquitoes as a food source. Here is a list of some notable examples of common mosquito predators:

  • Birds
  • Bats
  • Fish
  • Frogs / tadpoles
  • Lizards
  • Turtles
  • Dragonflies
  • Spiders

It doesn’t really come as a surprise that there are so many types of species adapted to feeding on these type of common insects. Being widespread across the globe, tiny, and protein-rich really does help with being a yummy snack for a wide range of animals. However, do be aware that the type of animals that will kill mosquitoes is much, much greater.

This is because of the fact that those little blood-suckers will come after every single warm-blooded animal out there: If you would be a giraffe or a hippo or even a horse, wouldn’t you want to try to kill those pesky skeeters as well? Some animals will therefore not eat them for their protein, but simply to protect their own skin and blood from those annoying bites (and the occasional virus).

How To Get Rid Of Crane Flies

There is a range of possible strategies you can apply to get rid of crane flies. These are very similar to getting rid of mosquitoes:

  • Use a swatter: The good old method ‘slap them with a newspaper’ will always work for individual nuisances. However, this only works for small quantities of mosquito hawks.
  • Install an insect trap: Do large quantities of insects occupy your backyard? Insect traps such as these will quickly get rid of the problem for you. These devices are designed for outdoor use, but you also have indoor traps like this Katchy device.
  • Get an insect fogger: Another good alternative is to get yourself an insect fogger that is suitable for the consumer market. There are several good ones available, I tested and reviewed them in this article.
  • Insect proof your home: Get yourself some magnetic window screens, but also get an insect screen for the backyard door while you’re at it. Make sure bugs can’t enter your home in any way.
  • Place a dish of soapy water: Don’t want to spend money and go the DIY route? Most insects are attracted to soapy water. Crane flies included. Just put in on the patio and wait for the magic to happen.

While there are many more ways to get rid of insects in your yard or on your patio, one of these is likely to help you out. I do recommend you to look around this blog a bit more, because almost every article I write revolves around new innovative ways to get rid of mosquitoes or other types of bugs.

The Mosquito Hawk Eating Habit Myth

So, there you have it. The myth about the mosquito eaters, that didn’t actually turn out to eat them. Or at least, not outside of the playground (i.e. their larval stages). I’m not entirely sure where this rumor originated, but it’s sure as heck is one of the more persistent ones.

Honestly, it all starts with knowing the difference between species. Mosquito hawks are crane flies, not mosquitoes. They are two separate creatures that will generally leave each other alone. Just remember this. The small ones bite, the big ones are just dumb and annoying.

Both can be taken out in one swoop, while you’re at it. All you need to succeed is some effective anti-insect tools such as these. Other than that, you’ll require a bit of the three P’s: Planning, patience and persistence. Once you start thinking like the insect, killing one becomes a piece of cake. Happy hunting!

endmosquitoes.com

What Eat Mosquitoes? Full List of Mosquito Predators

Mosquitoes are regarded as one of the world’s most stubborn, and annoying pests, but this might keep you thinking what eat mosquitoes? as a predator what could possibly eat it. Search no more, this article is fully comprehended to answer every question in your mind about what eat mosquitoes and the full list of mosquito predators is in detail.

What Eats Mosquitoes?

There are certain predators that are known for eating mosquitoes on a large scale they are pests, birds, reptiles that feed on mosquitoes. At first, you might think that there is nothing that can kill mosquitoes except the clap of your hand, but no! there are other predators that feed on mosquitoes in which mosquitoes are afraid of that. The bloodsuckers are now in fear and danger of their new primate. The most wonderful part of this research is that there is a bug as small as the mosquitoes that also feed on it, we shall look into some of these pests in full detail.

Full List of Mosquito Predators

Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera and have forelimbs adapted as wings, they are sometimes referred to as the flying mammals being the only mammals capable of true and sustained flight. Bats are more flexible than birds, flying with their very long spread-out digits covered with a thin membrane.

Bats are known for feeding on insects and yes mosquito is not an exception.

Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates belonging to the class Aves, have bodies covered with feathers, toothless beaked jaws, lay shelled eggs, have a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds are also greatly known for their social behaviors such as, communicating with visual signals, calls, and songs, and participating in other such behaviors as cooperative breeding and hunting, flocking, and mobbing (an activity in which birds (prey) gang up on predators together usually to protect their offsprings) of predators.

Birds feed on a variety of things such as:

  • Insects, worms, and grubs.
  • Seeds, grasses, and plant material.
  • Nectar and pollen.
  • Nuts, fruit, and berries.
  • Rodents, snakes, and other small animals

And among the variety of insects they feed on include the mosquitoes! Even though it has been established that birds feed on mosquitoes, it should be considered that not all birds feed on mosquitoes as birds are of various types and categories. Examples of birds that feed on mosquitoes are the purple martins, swallows, waterfowl and migratory songbirds, etc. they feed on both the adult and aquatic stages of mosquitoes.

A fish is an aquatic and limbless cold-blooded vertebrate animal with gills and fins living wholly or partially in the water. Some common fish predators that feed on mosquitoes are the Goldfish, Gambusia affinis, guppies, bass, bluegill and catfish prey, etc and are known to feed specifically on mosquito larvae. But among all these listed the most popular fish predator is the Gambusia affinis commonly known as the mosquito-fish and is probably the most effective predator of mosquito larvae and is used by many mosquito control agencies to augment their control efforts.

A turtle is a large marine reptile of the order Testudines with a bony or leathery shell properly used as a shield for protection. They are also known to come ashore annually on sandy beaches to lay eggs. There are two categories of turtles; the land turtles and the sea turtle. Sea turtles feed on worms, grubs, snails, beetles, caterpillars to grasses, fruit, berries, mushrooms and, flowers. Although there are various categories of turtles, the most popular turtle known for feeding on mosquitoes is the Red-eared slider turtle thought to be the most voracious turtle that feeds on mosquito larvae.

  • Frogs and Tadpoles

A frog is any member of a diverse and largely carnivorous group of short-bodied, tailless amphibians composing the order Anura with a short squat body, moist smooth skin, and very long hind legs for leaping. A tadpole is the larval stage of an amphibian known for breathing through its gills and lacking legs until the later stages of its development.

Although frogs feed on mosquitoes, they do not take them as a greater part of their diet. Tadpoles as well feed on mosquitoes but not all tadpoles. The 3 categories of tadpoles known to feed on mosquitoes are the spade-foot toad, green tree frog and, giant tree frog all belonging to North America.

Other insects are also known to feed on mosquitoes, so we can’t leave all the fun to the aquatic and flying mammals. These insects include:

Spiders are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs capable of injecting venom and are the largest order of arachnids in the world. Spiders feed on common indoor pests, such as Roaches, Earwigs, Mosquitoes, Flies and Clothes Moths. Yes, the mosquito is also part of the menu!

  • Dragonflies

A dragonfly is an insect belonging to the order Odonata. Adult dragonflies are characterized by large, multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong, transparent wings, sometimes with coloured patches, and an elongated body. One feature that favors dragonflies as mosquito predators is that in the dragonflies’ aquatic stage, most of its food consists of mosquito larvae so when the mosquito lays its eggs on water and it developes into the larvae stage, the water stage dragonfly feeds on them. This gives the dragonfly the name Mosquito hawk.

However, before we further our steps lets look at what mosquitoes eaters eat;

What Do Mosquitoes Eaters Eat?

What do mosquitoes eaters eat? it might sound strange or hard, to get the meaning of what mosquito eaters eat. Least we proceed, let’s take a blink on what mosquito eaters eat. There are bugs in this world, which looks like a mosquito but are not, the body shape looks the same long and thin legs, which might look like a more dangerous category of mosquito commonly found in the garden or at home. However, most mosquito eaters do not eat mosquitoes.

To a fact, mosquito eaters might not likely be a mosquito, I know what your thinking its true mosquitoes do eat mosquitoes. Mosquitoes eaters feed on larva in the Laval stage, but their main source of food is flower nectar. mosquito eaters are not fond of biting humans, but the sound produced from their wings is annoying to the ear. There are two of the world’s most fearsome mosquito eaters, the all known crane fly not that familiar and the very common crane fly, found in the garden and domestic surroundings. The crane fly is known to be wild but yet do not bite and the common crane fly is domestic in the sense that it is found in the house.

This fly is known for its multiplying speed, the weather is always warm when you hear their annoying buzz around your light bulb. They might just be called an animal, but their attack on a plant that the reason we refer them as a pest, they live and build a nest on the soil’s first layer feeding on crops and roots and knowing this the might not be allowed to stay around plants so that’s where you will need to act first cause with them around there is no point of the possibility that plants will survive.

For identification, the are far bigger than mosquitoes cause like humans the are omnivorous pest giving them the ability stronger than mosquitoes yet it is a miracle the cannot kill the bloodsuckers. In a case where you grow a beautiful garden living in the woods, you invite birds which is good but then wildlife joins like raccoons then you better have a point to control a large population of mosquito eaters, don’t try killing them by also harming the wildlife instead take a more moderate way of controlling this pest.

These pests are mostly found in rural areas near rivers not urban except in your home near a riverine zone the main reason the stay in the rural areas cause weak mosquitoes are found there easily and there is not a large number of local resident.

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