Mosquitoes and You: A Nuisance Story

From My PMP

If you are a human, chances are you have come into contact with a mosquito.  Further, you have probably been bitten by a mosquito.  Unfortunately, humans and mosquitoes have a symbiotic relationship that goes back to our origins.  This post from My PMP explains briefly how and why mosquitoes rely on humans for the furtherance of their species, and explores the irritating symbiotic relationship that these two species share.

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Warning over rise in blood-thirsty mosquitoes

From The Hinkley Times

We have an early, wet spring, and that is always the perfect recipe for those blood-sucking harbingers of Summer:  The Mosquito.  This year, not only do we have to contend with the annual mosquito-borne viruses like West Nile, Chikungunya and Malaria, but a new virus has thrust itself onto the front pages of the newspaper:  The Zika Virus.  This post from Hinckley Times talks about what a wet spring (or in the case of this article a wet fall) can do for the mosquito populations.  Suffice it to say that anytime you have a combination of moisture and heat for about a week, you will have rampant mosquito population increases.

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Mosquito numbers are set to soar sending an army of blood-thirsty insects into Hinckley homes.

Wet weather will increase numbers of the winged beasts and as a result experts are warning people to cover up, use repellents and be on guard, as a perfect storm of weather the beginning of the breeding season with see millions of them swarm the nation.

It is thought the mosquitoes will not even be put off by a drop in temperature, as the pests have an in-built 'anti-freeze' to keep them going.

Howard Carter, bite expert and managing director of incognito, warned: "The current seasonally warm weather, interspersed with colder, rainy days is just what mosquitoes need to flourish in October.

"They will be looking for their final blood meal to take them through the harsh winter months.

"During the warm spots mosquitoes will be feeding from people indiscriminately, it is forecast we will have warm days up until October, interspersed with cold rainy day and this is the period when people need to be vigilant.

"The mosquitoes will be determined and this together with rain makes perfect conditions for breeding.

"From next week, people will be getting bitten more and more."

He said mosquitos will go into a "breeding frenzy" next month so will be on a feeding damage over the next few weeks.

"They are hungry now as we approach this time," he added.

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How does the mosquito sting

From The Unseen Pictures

Sometimes seeing things that take place on a microscopic level can be completely frightening to us.  Seeing viruses, bacteria, and insects up close will have a tendency to keep even the stoutest macho man awake at night.  This post from The Unseen Pictures shows an extreme close up depicting the anatomy of a blood-sucking mosquito sting or bite, and it is something that one simply cannot unsee.

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Everyone knows this evil insect – a mosquito-peeper or Culex pipiens. Females feed plant juices (for life) and blood (for egg development) is mainly human, and the male feeds only on plant juices. They are carriers of various human diseases such as Japanese encephalitis, meningitis, lymphatic filariasis, etc.

Why does a mosquito bite itch arises? One share of mosquito salivary gland releases a poisonous liquid, which goes along the tongue when the female pierces the skin and is injected into the wound. The purpose of this fluid is likely to prevent blood clotting. It is this and causes itching.

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Zika Virus 101: One More Mosquito-Borne Disease To Worry About

From GPB

Spring has sprung, and with it comes warmer, damp weather.  Unfortunately, another harbinger of spring is mosquito season.  It's not as if we are even over last summer's new epidemic, the Chikungunya virus.  West Nile Virus is still a major threat, and Chikungunya fears spread across the United States last summer.  2016 brings fears of a new kind, all due to another mosquito-borne illness.  The Zika virus, which may cause a frightening birth defect in unborn children, is now the major mosquito-borne disease on everyone's mind this year.  

Here is an excerpt from the post:

The mosquito-borne Zika virus has spread quickly in the past two years through the Pacific Islands and South America. Although there have been no reported deaths from the illness, a spate of recent outbreaks is cause for concern.

Earlier this fall, after Colombia reported its first cases of Zika virus infection, the World Health Organization recommended countries in North and South America step up efforts to identify and track the virus. Last week, cases were reported in the Yucatan in Mexico and in the Caribbean. And doctors in Brazil are trying to determine whether the virus may be linked to a spike in the number of babies with a congenital brain deformity called microcephaly.

Here's what we know about Zika.

What is it? Zika virus infection can cause Zika fever an illness often accompanied by rash, fever, joint pain and conjunctivitis. It is spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, including A. aegypti, the same mosquito species that carries the dengue and chikungunya viruses. Severe illness happens less often with Zika infections than with dengue infections, but "while Zika virus infections have been recognized for some time, large outbreaks have only been recognized within the last decade and we are still trying to understand the full spectrum of illness," says Susan Hills of the Center for Disease Control's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases.

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Backyard Mosquito Management

From Beyond Pesticides

Practices that do not poison you or the environment

Insecticides and Pesticides will help control mosquitoes to a certain degree, but these is a cost.  Pesticides and Insecticides can have detrimental effects on human health, as well as the ecosystem.  This post from Beyond Pesticides presents different ways to combat the disease-spreading mosquito without resorting to potentially harmful chemicals and insecticides.

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Private Pest Control Companies Exposing Kids To Toxic Chemicals, Critics Say

From Huffington Post

Mosquitoes are a fact of life, and increasingly so are pest control services.  This post from Huffington Post presents some critics that contend that the pesticides used in these services contain some potentially harmful carcinogens.  The pest companies disagree, however, so this is definitely a cost-benefit issue that is as of yet unresolved.  Read this post and gather the facts before you decide what method to utilize to protect your family.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Dread Skeeter poses on the cover of the coloring book, a backpack-mounted pesticide spray gun in his hand and muscles bulging under his T-shirt. A few pages in, outlines of young kids playing football accompanies a caption: "Backyards are better without biting bugs."

The coloring book -- with its superhero-like mascot -- are given to kids for free by Mosquito Squad, one of many private pest control companies that has recently seen a boom in business. A mild winter and spring around much of the country has brought out bugs in record numbers. Widespread fear of West Nile, Lyme and other diseases carried by those insects is driving people to seek professional services, according to Mosquito Squad's founder.

"I also think simply being able to go out and enjoy cookouts and pools without being irritated with bites all the time is a factor," said Boyd Honeycutt, who launched the company in 2005. "For folks with small children, there's also the concern about bites becoming infected from scratching with hands that might be dirty."

But the growing popularity of Dread Skeeter is increasingly worrisome to environmental experts and government officials who oppose the widespread use of pesticides -- particularly, they say, due to health risks for kids, from asthma attacks to long-term learning and reproductive problems.

"And they're advertising to children, who have no way of discerning the health effects or dangers of pesticide use. Giving young children these coloring books is not too different than advertising tobacco to them," said Nancy Alderman, president of the nonprofit Environment and Human Health, Inc. Alderman expressed even greater concern after seeing pictures of a costumed Dread Skeeter with kids in a parade and on a playground. "It's unbelievable."

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Where do Mosquitoes Go in the Cold?

From Mosquito Reviews

Some Species Hibernate, Others Leave Eggs Until Spring

When you think of Summer, with its long, humid days and balmy nights, it won't be long until you think about mosquitoes.  Most people associate mosquitoes with the hotter months, and that only makes sense.  The real question is, do you think the world's most deadly killing machines would actually just disappear for the colder months?  Mother Nature has developed an ingenious way for these vampire pests to survive the winter, as this post from Mosquito Reviews explains.

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Mosquitoes usually disappear when cold weather comes, but they don't go away for good. They have several strategies for surviving cold weather.

Many species of mosquitoes die off when the weather turns cold, leaving only eggs which lie on the ground like seeds, waiting for warmth and spring rains to hatch and produce a new generation. Except in the warmest part of their range, these adult mosquitoes actually do only live in the summer and disappear in winter.

Other species survive cold weather by hibernating. Mosquitoes that belong to the genera Anopheles, Culex and Culiseta hibernate, and so do some other less common types in the United States.

It's hard to believe that these fragile-looking creatures can survive freezing temperatures. J. Turner Brakeley, who owned a cranberry plantation in New Jersey, became fascinated around the turn of the 20th century with studying mosquitoes in the cold. He "tramped the bogs in sleet and rain storms in midwinter," according to entomologist John B. Smith, collecting specimens and making observations and sending them to entomologists who cataloged and published his findings.

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Home Remedy to Get Rid of Mosquitoes on My Grass

from SF Gate

When looking to rid one's yard of disease-spreading mosquitoes, it is usually easier to find a chemical solution that will take care of the problem.  What usually happens with these harsh chemicals is that they have potential side effects, which could even result in long-term health issues for one's family.  Natural remedies are available, and can work with varying degrees of success, according to this post from SF Gate.  The post also is quick to point out that there is no substitute for keeping mosquito populations in check before they breed by using common sense.

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