Not all mosquitoes are bad mosquitoes, however, you'll want to protect yourself from them all the same. Worldwide, there are over 2,500 species. The United States has over 150 species of mosquito. And, you'll find 60 of the in North Carolina. However, of those only 10 to 15 mosquito species are bad, according to North Carolina State University.
Only the female mosquitoes bite. The males only feed on sources of sugar and nectar. The females mosquitoes use the blood as an energy source and as lipids and proteins to develop their eggs. One of the bad bugs you'll need mosquito protection for is the Asian tiger mosquito. This species – the Aedes albopictus – is thought to have been introduced in the United States from Japan in the 1980s. The Asian tiger mosquito lays its eggs in woodlands and in standing water. This species' eggs will survive winter weather.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide, thus they are attracted to anything that breathes air. When a mosquito bites you, it's mouth parts cause your body to release adenosine triphosphate – ATP. This chemical stimulates the mosquito to eat. Their mouth parts then inject the bug's saliva into your blood. That saliva has a biochemical mix that causes the platelets in your blood to stop sticking, thus the blood at the bite site will not clot.
The mosquito's bite also damages nerve cells in the skin, and then the platelets release antihistamine. Both actions cause you to feel the pain of the bite. The swelling that comes from a bite is due to the damage to the tissue around the bite, and from the pooling of blood that will not coagulate.
Additionally, if the mosquito happens to be carrying a disease such as West Nile Virus, malaria or dengue, it will transfer that disease to you if you are bitten.
Since it's hard to tell which mosquitoes are good and which are bad, keep mosquitoes away from your home and yourself. Remove all sources of standing water, including bird baths. Make sure any empty flower pots do not have even a little bit of water in the bottom.
If you do have rain barrels and bird baths, use mosquito dunks in the water sources. These release a bacterial toxicant that will kill mosquito larvae, but it doesn't harm most other insects, including honeybees. It is also safe for pets and children.
When you go outside, be sure to use mosquito repellant. Several repellants work, including DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, Picaridin and IR3535. Don't use too much, but use enough to keep the mosquitoes away from you. Apply it lightly, and then if it's not enough, apply another coat.
Also, wear light-colored long-sleeve clothing, especially if you are in the early evening and after dusk, as those are the times when mosquitoes are most active. The best way to keep them away is to take away their favorite feeding and breeding grounds and to ensure that they don't have water to drink.
Bug zappers, ultrasonic devices and incense tend to attract mosquitoes, so if you are using them, keep them away from where you are enjoying a nice summer evening. Citronella and mosquito coils only work in a controlled environment where there is no wind to blow the active ingredients away.
If you do get bit, place an icepack on the bite to help reduce swelling. An oral antihistamine will also help with swelling. Be sure you take the appropriate dose. And, topical cortisone cream helps with healing and itching.
Contact Clint Miller Exterminating to spray your yard and your home for mosquitoes, termites, cockroaches, ants and any other bugs that decide to invade your indoor and outdoor living spaces.