How Do Mosquitoes Find You?

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another, we spend a day or evening enjoying some quality time outdoors only to return home and realize, we’ve been bitten!

Even the most vigilant mosquito swatter has fallen victim to the blood-sucking pest that buzzes freely among us during the day and evening hours. And if you’ve ever wondered how a mosquito finds you, even in the dark, we have the answers.

It’s actually the female mosquito that’s after your blood; males avoid human contact at all costs. Females rely mainly on three senses to search for their blood meals—sight, smell, and thermal senses. Their sense of smell is quite good, due to olfactory receptors in their antennae that detect chemicals in sweat and breath. They also use other cues to find their hosts, such as moisture detection (aka hygric cues). To learn about how mosquitoes find you, what scents mosquitoes like, and what you can do to avoid the bite, keep reading.

Mosquito Vision

Mosquitoes have two compound eyes made up of hundreds of small lenses on each side of their head. The lenses, called ommatidia, enable the mosquito to see many directions simultaneously. As mosquitoes fly within 15 to 50 feet of a potential host, their ommatidia identify the host, although the image is not perfectly clear. They use their other senses to make up for visual shortcomings.

Related Topic: What Colors Attract Mosquitoes?

Mosquito Sense of Smell

Can mosquitoes smell you? Absolutely. Female mosquitoes use their olfactory senses to detect scents that are as far as 100 feet away. The mosquito’s sense of smell is the primary indicator that female mosquitoes use to find their next blood meal.

What scents do mosquitoes like? They have their favorites! Here are the smells that are most attractive to mosquitoes:

  • Blood. Studies show that mosquitoes prefer Type O blood and are not as attracted to Type A.
  • Perfumes and colognes that feature floral scents are highly appealing to the female mosquito.
  • Skin bacteria. Certain compounds present on human skin and in sweat create an odor that attracts mosquitoes.
  • Alcohol. Beer at the barbecue may be welcoming mosquitoes to the party! A study discovered that people who had recently consumed alcohol were more attracted to mosquitoes than people who had not.

Mosquito Carbon Dioxide Detection

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is another primary clue female mosquitoes use to find you. Your breath contains it, and they can smell it. How far can mosquitoes detect carbon dioxide? Each time you exhale, you send out a beacon to mosquitoes within a 100-foot radius.

Mosquitoes use hair-like sensors near their mouths to seek out the carbon dioxide source because they know that where there’s CO2, there’s a tasty blood meal. The more carbon dioxide output there is, the easier it is for a mosquito to identify the host. This means pregnant women and overweight people tend to be at greater risk for a bite. The same is true for someone who is exercising.

Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Heat?

Yes, they are. Mosquitoes detect body heat, and this factor plays an important role in whether a female mosquito decides to bite. Mosquitoes’ eyes gather thermal sensory information. When they sense body heat within four feet, they move closer to the host. This also means if you are warmer than the person standing next to you, mosquitoes are more likely to target you.

Related Topic: Why Do Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears?

One Way Mosquitoes Can’t Find You

Mosquitoes can’t find you if they aren’t in your yard! While you can’t hold your breath indefinitely or change your blood type, you can control whether mosquitoes crash your next outdoor gathering. One of the best ways to keep mosquitoes away is with a mosquito barrier spray from your local pest control pros at Mosquito Joe. We offer natural treatments that help keep mosquitoes and other pests away for up to 21 days. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, call 1-855-275-2563 or visit us online.


Do Turkeys Eat Ticks?

With Thanksgiving approaching, you may be thinking more about turkeys than you normally do. And all this thinking about turkeys may have you wondering, “do turkeys eat ticks?”. You can’t find anything about the topic on social media and none of your friends seems to know for sure. Well, don’t worry, we have the answer. 

The answer to this burning question is, YES! Turkeys do eat ticks! Their sharp eyesight and acute hearing make them talented tick gobblers. Both domesticated turkeys and all five subspecies of wild turkeys in the U.S. eat ticks and a cornucopia of other problematic insects. For that, we are truly thankful.  

Learn just what a turkey can do with their practiced pecks.  

How Many Ticks Do Turkeys Eat in One Day?  

A single, full-grown turkey can consume 200 or more ticks per day, under the right conditions. A female turkey can raise a clutch of 4 to 17 poults every year, which means after one year of reproduction, her turkey family (two generations, including her and her mate) could eat up to 3,800 ticks per day, altogether. That’s way more ticks than most other birds consume. All of this gobbling up of ticks helps keep the population from getting too out of control, which can help reduce the spread of tick-borne diseases. 

Can wild turkeys control the tick population?  

Wild turkeys can be beneficial because they eat ticks that are on the ground, in the grass, in low vegetation and even ones on their own bodies during self-grooming. Even though these birds are also tick hosts (i.e., ticks latch onto them), they tend to eliminate more ticks than they spread.  

Turkeys also eat other bugs, mollusks, and small creatures that can be irritating to humans and/or harmful to gardens. These include slugs, stink bugs, grasshoppers, snails, beetles, caterpillars, and small snakes. They also eat praying mantises, which are tick-eaters themselves—but turkeys are better at tick control than any bug ever could be (sorry, praying mantises). 

If you’re interested in attracting wild turkeys to your property, there are several ways to do it. For example, you can create areas for dust baths, scatter food (like cracked corn) on the ground, and create protected nesting sites. Just keep in mind that turkeys will undoubtedly gobble up all your birdseed in the process. They can even be aggressive during mating season.  

Related Topic: Control by Predators: What Animals Eat Ticks?  

Other Birds That Eat Ticks  

All this talking turkey may have you wondering if there are any other birds that eat ticks? Yes, many!  

Here are some other feathered friends known for having ticks on their menu:  

  • Chickens   
  • Guinea fowl 
  • Peafowl 
  • Ducks  
  • Quails 
  • Partridges 
  • Woodpeckers 
  • Egrets 
  • Oxpecker (endemic to Africa) 

These birds are known to seek out ticks as a favored food source. They could be considered true tick predators—especially the oxpecker!  

However, there are many other birds that eat ticks less frequently. Many will eat a tick if they come across one when foraging, so they are not considered true tick predators, like the turkey. Numerous ground-dwelling birds, including smaller songbirds, also fit this description.  

The Battle Against Tick-Borne Illnesses 

Although turkeys and other birds certainly do their part to control the tick population in many areas, they can’t be counted on to do it all. And with tick populations—as well as Lyme disease cases—increasing in many areas of the country due to climate change, it is important to take the job of tick control into your own hands.  

The pros at Mosquito Joe are experts when it comes to controlling pest populations like mosquitoes and ticks. We provide top-notch tick control services that help protect you, your family, and your pets from ticks and Lyme disease. To learn more about our natural barrier sprays or to schedule an appointment call, 1-855-275-2563, or visit us online today! 


What Is the Biggest Mosquito in the World?


Ahh, mosquitoes. If you’re not a fan of these pesky pests, we understand your frustration. From buzzing in our ears to leaving itchy bites on our skin, they sure know how to make their presence known.

But if you’re someone who is fascinated by them (like your local pros at Mosquito Joe®!), you might be interested to know that some 46 million years ago, mosquitoes weren’t much different in size than they are today. With well over 3,500 species of mosquitoes in the world, it raises the question: what is the biggest mosquito species out in the wild?

The Australian Elephant Mosquito (Toxorhynchites speciosus)

When you think of Australian wildlife, you probably picture some of the world’s most enormous creatures. From large crocodiles to spiders that look like they jumped out of a horror movie and some of the biggest winged rodents you would ever encounter, it’s no surprise Australia is also home to the world’s largest mosquito species, the Australian elephant mosquito.

Everything You Need to Know About Australian Elephant Mosquitoes

Australian elephant mosquitoes are one of the largest mosquito species in the world, with adults growing up to 1½ inches in length. Sure, on paper, that may seem relatively small, but considering the most common mosquitoes are between 0.15 and 0.4 inches long, with some less than 0.1 inches long, it’s easy to see why they rank as the world’s largest mosquitoes. Their elongated bodies and slender legs stand out from other mosquito species – especially when you add in their 4-inch wingspan.

In addition to their size, elephant mosquitoes are known for their striking appearance and often come in a variety of colors and patterns, featuring blue, white, or gold across their bodies. How fancy!

A Friendly Mosquito?

You can breathe a sigh of relief because there’s no need to worry about the biggest mosquito in the world biting you. Despite their intimidating presence, Australian elephant mosquitoes do not feed on human blood. Instead, they sweetly sustain themselves by feeding on plant sap or flower nectar.

While the Australian elephant mosquito is predominantly native to its namesake continent, it can also be found in southeastern parts of the U.S., like Kansas and Oklahoma. These mosquitoes thrive in damp habitats, including wetlands, swamps, or water-filled containers.

Elephant mosquitoes often choose areas such as tree holes, discarded tires, or old flower pots to lay their eggs. They fly in a counterclockwise pattern to deposit their eggs once they have found a safe place. Although adult elephant mosquitoes are herbivores, their larvae are cannibals, preying on each other as well as the larvae of other aquatic species or nearby bacteria and algae.

Since these larvae can eat thousands of other larvae daily, scientists have tried introducing elephant mosquitoes as control agents for other dangerous mosquito species that carry diseases. However, this conservation effort has been met with limited success.

Other Contenders in the Mosquito Size War

The Gallinipper Mosquito

Although elephant mosquitoes are the biggest mosquito in the world, the Gallinipper mosquito is often called the “monster” mosquito as it’s the largest biting mosquito in the U.S. You don’t want these guys snacking on you – their bite contains salvia with an anticoagulant that can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.

Their nickname is an appropriate moniker as the Gallinipper mosquito ranges from about ½ to 1 inches in size, with a wingspan of up to 9mm. On top of that, they can fly up to 20 miles per hour, which is as fast as a coyote!

Despite having the title of the largest blood-sucking mosquito found in the U.S., this species isn’t known for carrying mosquito-borne diseases. However, you will want to watch out for this pest if you live in eastern states, South Dakota, or Texas.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito

Another aggressive mosquito you should be wary of is the Asian tiger mosquito. They made their way to the U.S. from Asia in the 1980s and can be found in parts of California. Featuring distinct black-and-white patterns on their bodies, they can also grow roughly 0.08 and 0.39 inches long, with males averaging 20% smaller than females.

Known for being a particularly aggressive and feisty biter, they’re much more active during the day and prefer areas with lots of shade. They’re commonly found in much more Southeastern regions of the United States, from Texas to New Jersey.

Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes, Big or Small

Protecting yourself from mosquitoes is essential, whether it’s the world’s biggest mosquito or your everyday house pest. Besides their annoying bite, they can also carry harmful diseases like the West Nile virus.

Rather than dealing with these issues on your own, enlist the help of Mosquito Joe. Known for offering the best mosquito control in the business, you can also count on us for a range of other pest control services. With our support, our local service professionals can help you fight your mosquito problem 24/7, thanks to our automatic mosquito misting system.

And because we stand by our word, you can count on our Neighborly Done Right Promise™, which means everything we do is completed to your total satisfaction. Even small mosquitoes can cause big problems for you. Don’t let them ruin your outdoor fun; call your local pest control pros at Mosquito Joe and request a free quote today!