Mosquitoes

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Mosquitoes are insects that have been around for over 30 million years. And it seems that, during those millions of years, mosquitoes have been honing their skills so that they are now experts at finding people to bite. A mosquito has a battery of sensors designed to track their prey, including:

  • Chemical sensors – mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid up to 100 feet (36 meters) away. Mammals and birds gives off these gases as part of their normal breathing. Certain chemicals in sweat also seem to attract mosquitoes (people who don’t sweat much don’t get nearly as many mosquito bites).
  • Visual sensors – if you are wearing clothing that contrasts with the background, and especially if you move while wearing that clothing, mosquitoes can see you and zero in on you. It’s a good bet that anything moving is “alive”, and therefore full of blood, so this is a good strategy.
  • Heat sensors – Mosquitoes can detect heat, so they can find warm-blooded mammals and birds very easily once they get close enough.

Strangely its only the female mosquitoes which bite us. They are attracted by several things, including heat, light, perspiration, body odor, lactic acid and carbon dioxide.

The diseases caused by these are Malaria, Yellow fever, Encephalities,Dengue. The list is quite limited to local occurances, as they carry many more virus and bacteria.

Here are some tips to avoid this menance.

Use mosquito nets while asleep, Cover your body with cloths as much as possible when you are outside, throw out all the water in containers – these are the breeding grounds. Try to avoid the repelents if you suffer from any allergy related bronchitis, rhinities as they will aggrivate your illness. A lesser pesticide to use would be the Odomas cream but do not use it on children as they get absorbed directly from skin.

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4 Responses to Mosquitoes

  1. praneshachar says:

    mohan
    very informative write up and also good tips do’s and don’ts on mosquito
    menace

  2. NostalgicMysorean says:

    mohan,
    What do you think of the insecticide treated nets,tha are being propogated?

  3. some body says:

    mohan:

    “The diseases caused by these are Malaria, Yellow fever, Encephalities,Dengue. The list is quite limited to local occurances, as they carry many more virus and bacteria.”

    i know yours is an abridged list, but … but … how did you miss chikengunya? its name is first and foremost in the minds of all nris currently :-).

    to those nris who think they are immune to moskees here in the usa … come to everglades in midsummer … torsi kodtene! 🙂

    i wonder if mosquitoes bite cockroaches and crocodiles, or do they have a mutual non-agression treaty?

    – s.b.

  4. M O H A N says:

    Praneshachar,
    Thanks. Hope it helps us in beating this problem.

    NostalgicMysorean,
    WHO is advising using nets treated with pesticides for better effects. Not too sure if these flys are getting resistance to those pesticides too. In that case we need to keep changing the pesticides.

    The problem with pesticides is, its not directly absorbable and affects our ground water and ecology. So i woudnt like to kill everything in the environment around but just protect myself alone.

    Good point.

    Somebody,
    Sorry- As chikanguniya has gone out of karnataka to resurface elsewhere its gone of my radar. Good observation.

    Just yesterday a local news channel showed us how even cows and buffelloes are protected with nets in Gulbarga. The clipping was called “curtailing gulbarga rowdies”

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