The Mosquito has been called the deadliest killer on the planet and mosquito-borne diseases are responsible for the deaths of more than one million people each year. With a single bite, the mosquito can cause great havoc, spreading devastating illnesses like West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, Malaria, Chikungunya or even Heartworm in pets. In the United States, we tend to be less aware of the deadly role that mosquitoes play in the ecosystem, and how important mosquito prevention is.
Although the term mosquito is usually sufficient for any layperson, mosquito researchers have actually discovered over 3000 distinct mosquito species worldwide. Because of this amazing genetic diversity, mosquitoes have adapted to live in conditions ranging from topical to arctic and are found on every continent except Antarctica.
The two most important and abundant mosquito species in Illinois are Aedes Vexans and Culex Pipiens.
Aedes Vexans is a floodwater mosquito that can quickly explode in population after heavy rainfall. This species lays single eggs on damp soil waiting for flooding; eggs can be viable for up to 5-7 years. Although known for painful and persistent blood feeding, this species transmits only dog heartworm but not any human diseases.
Culex Pipens is Illinois most significant vector mosquito, capable of transmitting West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and other dangerous diseases. They are tolerant of a wide range of aquatic habitats including semi-permanent pools, catch basins, and artificial containers.
Culex mosquitoes thrive best in the hot, dryer conditions typically found in July, August, and September. They overwinter as adults who seek shelter in buildings, sewers, sheds, and other protected areas.
So, just how does a mosquito go from egg to arm to welt?
Mosquitoes: More than just a nuisance
More than just simple pests, mosquitoes are blood-sucking transmitters of serious diseases. When many people think of dangerous creatures, bears or sharks often come to mind. However, despite its size, the mosquito is, by far, the world’s deadliest creature. Every year, 300-500 million people will contract malaria and approximately 2.5 million people will die as a result.
Here in the United States, we are generally less aware of the dangers of mosquitoes. We take great measures to control their population. Over 1,000 Americans will become seriously ill or die from a mosquito-borne illness, each year. Many more will experience a minor to moderate mosquito-borne reaction. With less capable immune systems, children and the elderly are the most susceptible to many mosquito-borne diseases.
Mosquitoes as vectors
Mosquitoes are organisms that are capable of carrying and spreading diseases (vectors). These are some common diseases transmitted by the mosquito to humans and animals.
– Dengue fever (rare in the U.S.; 100 million cases worldwide)
– Eastern equine encephalitis (eastern U.S., but rare; 33% mortality)
– Heartworm (threat to dogs throughout continental U.S.)
– Japanese encephalitis (rare outbreaks in U.S. territories in the Pacific)
– La Crosse encephalitis (about 100 U.S. cases annually)
– Malaria (in the U.S., acquired mainly in FL; 1 million deaths annually worldwide)
– Rift Valley fever (endemic to Africa)
– St. Louis encephalitis (4,651 U.S. cases from 1964-2005; 5%-30% mortality rate)
– West Nile virus (663 cases and 30 deaths in the U.S. in 2009)
– Yellow fever (last U.S. epidemic was in New Orleans in 1905)
Because of mosquito control efforts over the last 60 years, the U.S. is fortunate to have lowered the risks of mosquito-borne infection. The Mosquito Squad of Chicago is proud to be part of this nationwide effort to eliminate mosquito-borne illness. However, despite our success, every 30 seconds someone dies from malaria.
We are proud to be Partners with Malaria No More, a visionary non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of Malaria. Find out how every spray we do to protect you and your family also protects vulnerable families in Africa on our Malaria No More page.
MOSQUITO LIFECYCLEEgg – Mosquitoes have adapted a range of egg laying techniques to accommodate a variety of aquatic habitats. One characteristic common to all mosquitoes is that they require standing water throughout the entire breeding cycle until they reach the adult stage. Eggs take 1-4 days to hatch into larvae, also called wigglers. Larvae – The larval stage consists of four separate instars in which the mosquito progresses in development. During this stage the larvae actively feed on organic matter in the water and take in oxygen from a breathing tube. They “hang” from the water’s surface and can dive down into the water to avoid predators. Larvae take about 5-14 days to develop into pupae, depending mostly upon water temperature. Papae – Papae, also called tumblers, is the final stage of aquatic growth. The mosquito stops feeding and begins its final maturation – however, they are still very active and can dive in their characteristic tumbling motion. After 1-4 days the pupae emerges onto the water’s surface as an adult mosquitoes, rests briefly to harden, and flies away. Adult – After hatching, many species will immediately mate. Male mosquitoes have a short life span, generally living only 1-3 weeks and feed off of plant sugars. Female mosquitoes seek a blood meal so that they can produce eggs. Female mosquitoes generally produce 1-4 batches of eggs during their lifespan. Some mosquito species, such as Culex Pipiens, overwinter as adults and can live for 6+ months.
OUTREACH & AWARENESS
Over 850,000 people die of malaria in Africa every year, most of them children, but together we can stop it. Malaria No More has an aggressive plan to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015, but we need your help to do it.
Your gift will help fund programs such as delivering life-saving mosquito nets to at-risk families in Africa and providing education and support for malaria prevention.
Please help us make the end of malaria deaths our generation’s greatest humanitarian achievement.
Please visit the Malaria No More website to make a donation.
Our EPA registered barrier spray products are specifically designed to effectively control mosquitoes and ticks while posing minimum risk to people and pets. They have undergone extensive testing and have been proven effective at over 80 Mosquito Squad locations nationwide.
All of our traditional barrier spray products are synthetic reproductions of natural pyrethrum, which is derived from the chrysanthemum flower. They have been modified to resist degradation by sunlight and rainfall for about 3 weeks and then breakdown naturally into harmless byproducts.
In addition to mosquito and tick control, these products are also commonly used in flea treatments for dogs, head lice medications, and scabies treatments. They are also the most commonly used residential insecticides in the world.
Our proprietary, time-released blend ensures that you are getting only the legendary protection that only Mosquito Squad can offer. Each application is backed by our free retreatment guarantee meaning that you can rest assured with being protected by the best – Mosquito Squad of South Dayton.