Mosquitoes perform several essential functions in the ecosystem. Several animals feed on mosquito larvae, including fish, frogs, dragonfly nymphs, and birds. In general, male mosquitoes do not bite humans. However, some mosquitoes pollinate insects, and female mosquitoes need blood to reproduce. Here, Any Pest examines mosquitoes’ role in our ecosystem by investigating what we know about mosquitoes.
Whats Their Purpose?
Mosquitoes are considered biological control agents, meaning they help keep insect populations under control. Mosquitoes also pollinate flowers and serve as a food source for larger animals such as birds. Mosquito larvae are food for fish, frogs, dragonfly nymphs, and birds that feed on water insects. Adult mosquitoes are eaten by bats, birds, spiders, dragonflies, and other insect-eating organisms. They also eat the nectar of flowers and fruits such as mangoes. Mosquito larvae have a symbiotic relationship with some small crustaceans, such as copepods. During the larval stage of the mosquito, the copepods live within the larva until it emerges from the pupal stage into adulthood when the copepods leave to find another host.
Male and Female Differences
The adult female mosquito feeds on nectar, however, she also needs blood to reproduce. They are equipped with specialized mouthparts that enable them to penetrate the skin, inject an anticoagulant, and then suck out the blood of their victims. Only female mosquitoes bite humans, and a mosquito can ingest up to three times its own weight in blood. Although male mosquitoes can feed on plants, female mosquitoes must feed on blood in order to lay their eggs. There are no bites from the males, as they do not require blood to reproduce and rely entirely on the nectar of plants to provide them with nutrition.
The Mosquito Lifecycle
Mosquitoes’ life cycle consists of four stages-eggs, larvae, pupa, and adult. The female lays eggs in areas with water or a moist place for the eggs to develop. The eggs usually hatch within 24 hours if the conditions are right. The larva stage is when the mosquito’s life cycle begins; from there, the mosquito will develop into an adult.
Mosquitoes are most active at nighttime, and they only live up to two weeks. However, they can live longer if they have good food and water supply. Mosquitoes are essential pollinators because they spread pollen from plant to plant; however, mosquitos also play another role in nature: predator and prey.
Thousands of Species
Approximately 3,500 mosquito species can be found in the world. Of these, 175 species have been discovered in the United States. Mosquitoes do not bite all humans, and only a couple hundred of them feed on human blood.
Mosquitoes Lay Eggs
Mosquitoes live in water or water-filled soil to lay eggs. Eggs hatch into larvae that feed on algae and microorganisms in a watery environment. After a few days, larvae develop into pupae, which molt into adult mosquitoes. Adult mosquitoes live for another week or less.
Mosquitoes have a purpose in the ecosystem, but it’s not very pleasant. They are responsible for transmitting several harmful diseases to humans, such as Malaria, West Nile Virus, encephalitis, yellow fever, dengue fever, filariasis, and Zika. They also can spread diseases to animals, such as dogs (heartworm) and horses.
Allergies to Mosquito Bites
When a mosquito bites an individual, it injects saliva into the skin, which causes redness, swelling, and itching at the site of the bite. The saliva contains proteins that help the mosquito suck up blood from its host. Some individuals are allergic to mosquito saliva, which causes these symptoms to be worse than expected or to develop hives around the bite area. Mosquitoes are a nuisance to everyone, but they can be especially dangerous to young children. The females spread disease as they feed – on one person after another.
Early Mosquito Control
Mosquito control has been going on for centuries. Ancient Greeks used smoke to keep mosquitoes away from their homes in the summertime. During World War II, millions of homes were sprayed with DDT to kill mosquitoes that spread malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever to soldiers fighting overseas. Mosquito control is still important today because many species of mosquitoes carry dangerous diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of people each year worldwide.
Call Us Today
Yes, mosquitos play a crucial role in the ecosystem, but that role is both as predator and prey. The fact is mosquitos can be deadly at the worst, and at best – an extreme nuisance. Any Pest mosquito control services can help with your pest control needs. As a homeowner or business owner, reducing or eliminating the presence of mosquitos will prevent some well-known mosquito-borne diseases. Any Pest has been successfully working on mosquito control since 1989. You can do your part by eliminating sources of standing water, keeping shrubs trimmed and lawns mowed and removing yard debris. Contact Any Pest today to schedule mosquito control services today!