How many mosquitoes are too many
Adaptable and numerous
Mosquitoes were able to adapt to changing living conditions again and again in the course of evolution. Some qualities and skills were very helpful.
Mosquitoes love it warm and humid. They find excellent living conditions in the tropics, but they also get along well in temperate climates. There are around 3700 species worldwide, at least 50 of them also here.
A secret of their success lies in the resilience of their eggs. With us, these can last for months to years and are often resistant to cold and drought.
If the temperatures rise after winter and there is still a water reservoir available, everything goes very quickly. Within a few weeks, the eggs develop into larvae, which pupate after a few days.
The so-called adult mosquitoes then hatch from the pupae. Each female can lay around 200 eggs three to four times in her life. This rapid, extremely strong reproduction allows mosquitoes to withstand critical living conditions again and again.
Successful thanks to her super senses
The adult stages actually only suck nectar and vegetable juices, so they are to a certain extent vegetarians. Only when the mating has taken place do the females go in search of victims.
In order for their eggs to develop, they need iron and protein from a blood meal. Whether birds, mammals or humans: mosquitoes are world class when it comes to locating their victims.
Like many insects, they can smell and hear extremely well and also register heat. The sense organs are located on the head on the long antennae. The antennas have so-called receptors everywhere, which can detect the smallest odor molecules. They show the mosquitoes the way to their victim as well as their body heat.
Mosquitoes need good hearing above all to find their sexual partners. Because males and females hum in different pitches!
What mosquitoes like
When mosquitoes seek victims, they react primarily to scents - to human breath and body odor. The most important signal is the exhaled carbon dioxide. The mosquitoes notice this at a distance of 50 meters.
And they also smell our body odor, the sweat, the fragrances on our skin. Ammonia, lactic acids, fatty acids or phenols.
Every human being has a personal odor note due to genetic factors, which is made up of up to 40 substances in different forms and concentrations. Therefore, not everyone is equally attractive to mosquitoes.
Diet and lifestyle can also influence this personal scented cocktail. Mosquitoes don't like sweet blood, as is often assumed. More likely on children and women because they have thinner skin than men. And they are more likely to notice darker than light colors of clothes.
When they are within 20 to 30 centimeters, they also perceive physical stimuli well, for example skin temperature. You are looking for suitable landing sites to get warm, fresh blood.
The climax of the mosquito attack - the bite
Mosquitoes also live dangerously: we can catch them during the bite. To prevent this, they like to look for places where we can hardly reach them. And of course places where blood vessels are close below the surface of the body.
When they stab, they inject a whole cocktail of substances through their proboscis. Something numbing so that we don't notice the sting, and also substances to prevent blood clotting. After all, mosquitoes want to suck fresh, thin blood.
Our immune system reacts quickly to these substances, which makes it uncomfortable. Mast cells release histamine, which docks onto nerve cells and thus triggers the itching. In addition, the blood vessels expand and fluid leaks out. This is how the swellings develop.
And when the white blood cells of the immune system come to break down the foreign substances, the surrounding tissue is in turn destroyed. The swelling and itching will initially increase. An extremely complex process.
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