Get to Know the Female Mosquito: Facts and FAQs

We all know that for a majority of the species that inhabit our planet, there are distinct differences between males and females. Aside from the obvious differences, there are also some unique characteristics that distinguish males from females. Take the female mosquito for example. These feisty ladies are in a category all their own.  

  • Females can live up to five months or longer, but the average female mosquito lifespan is six weeks.
  • Only female mosquitoes bite.
  • Females create a higher-pitched sound than their male counterparts.
  • They can lay up to 300 eggs at a time!
  • Their saliva acts as a local anesthetic, so you don’t feel them biting.
  • When a female mosquito has a blood meal, her stomach expands and can hold up to three times her body weight in blood (yuck!). 
  • They beat their wings up to 500 times per second to attract a mate (you had me at hello). 

 Want answers to some common questions about female mosquitoes? Keep reading to learn how you can avoid becoming their next snack.  

What’s the Difference Between a Male and Female Mosquito? 

One of the most striking differences between male and female mosquitoes is size. Females are larger than males, but males appear bushier due to the fine hairs, called flagella, on their antennae. Males use their flagella to hear the female buzzing, which helps them find a mate. The female’s less bushy antennae contain odor receptors. This helps her detect a blood host, which she needs to reproduce.  

While both female and male mosquitoes have a proboscis, which is a pointed mouth part, only the female proboscis is strong enough to pierce the skin and suck blood. Females are aggressive and seek out animals and humans for blood. On the contrary, males actively avoid any human contact. A male mosquito’s primary interest is finding a mate. 

Depending on the species, the female mosquito will typically live longer than the male. The average lifespan of a female is six weeks, while male-only live about one to two weeks. 

Related Topic: What Do Male Mosquitoes Eat?  

Why Do Female Mosquitoes Bite?  

Female mosquitoes bite animals and humans to get a blood meal after mating with a male. The nutrients and protein from blood are the perfect prenatal supplement, enabling the mosquito to lay her eggs. Female mosquitoes can bite within two days of reaching their adult stage. Their flagella (antennae hairs) help them find the mammals they can feed on. They also have receptors for heat, sweat, and human breath (CO2), which help direct the insects to the next blood meal.  

The Female Mosquito Is Not a Parasite—Why? 

Are mosquitoes parasites? The female mosquito is not considered a parasite because it does not require or live on a host—it only feeds on the blood. A parasite is a creature that cannot live/breed without completely depending on another being. Therefore, mosquitos are not considered parasites just as other predatory insects and animals are not parasites. Unlike a parasite, the female mosquito drops in for a quick meal and doesn’t hang out very long—just enough time to get the necessary nutrients she requires. 

Related Topic: New Species of Mosquito Brings a New Threat  

Do Female Mosquitoes Buzz?  

Yes, female mosquitoes make a buzzing sound that happens when they rapidly beat or vibrate their wings to attract a mate. The resulting sound is that familiar high-pitched buzzing that helps you realize a mosquito is nearby, usually before you see it.  

Bye, Girl 

Although female mosquitoes are fascinating and have some cool abilities, you don’t have to get up close and personal to appreciate their unique characteristics. And you certainly don’t want them at any backyard gatherings. To keep mosquitoes and other pests away from your outdoor fun, call your local pest control pros at Mosquito Joe. We offer natural and other barrier sprays that help keeps mosquitoes and other pests at bay for up to 21 days. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call us at 1-855-275-2563 or visit us online. 

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Can Ticks Survive Cold Weather?

As temperatures plummet and snow flurries fly, some critters head south, and others burrow down to hibernate.

What about ticks? Where do they go? Do we still have to worry about ticks in cold weather? Can ticks survive cold weather, or does cold weather kill ticks? If cold weather kills the nasty biters, at what temperatures do ticks die?

Ticks are intriguing critters. Led by an insatiable curiosity about how ticks can survive cold weather, we dug deep into the issue. Let’s take a look at some fascinating findings about ticks in cold weather.

At What Temperature Do Ticks Die?

Ticks can survive cold weather, but not always. So, when does cold weather kill ticks? If the temperature falls below 10 degrees Fahrenheit and stays there for several days, about ⅕ of the tick population in the area will likely die off, even if buried deep in the soil layer. However, female ticks are particularly robust and are capable of surviving such cold temperatures until they can lay their eggs in spring.

Burrowing into the soil can help protect ticks in cold weather, but a premature thaw or warm period can fool them into thinking it’s time to come out of hiding. If the warm weather is followed by a sudden cold snap that freezes the ground quickly, the tick can’t burrow back underground for warmth. This is one of the scenarios in which a tick could die.

Related Topic: What Temperature Kills Mosquitoes?

How Do Ticks Adapt to Cold Weather?

Ticks in cold weather adapt in numerous ways. The activity of ticks in cold weather varies according to the tick species and life cycle stage. There are different levels of cold tolerance within tick species as well.

One way a tick can survive cold weather is by burrowing beneath leaves and soil. Deep snow also helps insulate dormant ticks from freezing temperatures. Other ticks may come out of hiding to feed on a host, even in extremely cold weather. And then there are those that stay on a warm-blooded animal the whole season.

Which Type of Ticks Are More Active in the Winter?

Blacklegged ticks, aka deer ticks, and their cousins, the western black-legged ticks, both can carry Lyme disease (and other pathogens) and are active in cold weather. Their tolerance for the cold varies.

Researchers have found that 50% of blacklegged ticks die at temps of minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, but some go much colder and still live to suck another blood meal. These weather-defying ticks can survive temperatures as low as 7.06 degrees Fahrenheit by pulling water molecules out of their bodies before they turn to ice.

The winter tick is active (not surprisingly) throughout the year because it spends its entire life on a warm-blooded host—a very unusual trait (even for a tick).

Other common ticks, like dog ticks and lone star ticks, seek shelter in leaf litter during the winter and go dormant (in diapause) during the colder winter months. If they’re lucky, a thick layer of snow can provide additional insulation, further protecting their bodies from the cold. These ticks can survive cold weather and emerge again in spring.

Ticks act differently according to where they are in the life cycle as well. Tick nymphs enter a form of stasis to ride out the winter chill, so they tend to nest without feeding. However, many adult ticks will muster the energy to find another host to feed on. They attach themselves to a host and benefit from its body warmth and blood.

What If You Have Warm Winters?

Sadly, as we have seen, ferocious winter weather cannot be counted on to kill ticks. If you live in a warmer climate where temperatures rarely dip below freezing, you have to be on guard throughout the year. In these areas, ticks are active in and around your home during every season. But you don’t have to battle these blood bandits alone. The pest control pros at Mosquito Joe® can provide year-round protection for you, your family, and your pets.

You now know the cold, hard truth about the survival abilities of ticks. Yes, ticks can survive cold weather—but you have a powerful ally against the nasty little bloodsuckers. Mosquito Joe provides effective tick control service and maintenance all year round. Our skilled team arrives promptly, in uniform, and driving a marked van filled with the tools of our trade.

As a proud member of the Neighborly community of home service brands, all our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and the Mosquito Joe guarantee, which ensures your complete satisfaction.

Request a free quote today, and dive deeper into our Mosquito Joe blog to stay informed on the best ways to combat pests and enjoy the outdoors again!

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Skeeter Syndrome: Mosquito Bite Allergy Symptoms & Solutions

What to Know About “Skeeter Syndrome”—The Mosquito Bite Allergy

Have you experienced an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite? For most people, a mosquito bite is itchy and uncomfortable. But some people suffer from Skeeter Syndrome, a condition that involves a severe inflammatory reaction to mosquito bites that can linger for several days.

Research indicates that 70 to 90 percent of people with a mosquito allergy have an immediate reaction to a bite, while 55 to 65 percent have a delayed allergic reaction that may lead to blistering lesions, hives, joint swelling, and fever. Though it’s rare, some people with Skeeter Syndrome can have potentially life-threatening symptoms. Learn the signs of a mosquito bite allergy, and explore the steps you can take to mitigate them.

Mosquito Bite Allergy Symptoms

The most common symptoms of a mosquito bite allergy include:

  • Painful bites that feel warm to the touch
  • Large areas of itching
  • Blisters and lesions
  • Bruises near the bite site
  • Inflammation of the lymph system
  • Hives, welts, or swelling near the bite

Can you develop an allergy to mosquito bites? It’s possible to develop Skeeter Syndrome suddenly, even if you have not previously experienced adverse reactions to bites. The reason for developing the allergy is unknown, but it has been linked to an autoimmune reaction to enzymes in the mosquito’s saliva.

How to Treat Severe Mosquito Allergy

Suffering a life-threatening reaction to a mosquito bite is rare. However, a more severe allergy may lead to anaphylaxis, a condition characterized by throat swelling, faintness, and wheezing. If you think you’re experiencing anaphylaxis, it’s important to seek emergency medical attention immediately.

For other severe mosquito allergy symptoms like hives, lesions, fever, and inflammation, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:

  • Ice applied to the affected area
  • Topical steroids
  • Prescription oral steroids like Prednisone
  • Oral antihistamines, including Zyrtec, Allegra, or Xyzal

Does allergy medicine work for mosquito bites? Sometimes. While over-the-counter medications may ease allergic reactions to mosquito bites, it’s important to get a treatment plan from a professional if you’re experiencing a severe mosquito allergy. Consulting your primary care physician, and likely getting a referral to an allergist, is your best course of action.

Related Topic: Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites

What Else Can You Do About Hypersensitivity to Mosquito Bites?

Like any allergy, the best way to minimize risk is to avoid exposure. One way to mitigate the risk of a mosquito bite reaction is to take a proactive approach. Wear protective, light-colored clothing when outside and spend most of your outdoor time in a backyard screened enclosure. However, if you would rather enjoy the outdoors without limitations, use mosquito repellants, remove potential mosquito breeding areas and habitats from your property, and contact your local pest control pros at Mosquito Joe.

Mosquito Joe offers pest control services that are designed to help you enjoy more time outdoors, including a natural barrier spray or a permanent misting system that can help reduce exposure to mosquitoes and other pests. To learn more, call us at 1.855.275.2563 or visit us online today!

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