1. Mosquitoes have been around for more than 30 million years, and there are more than 2,700 species of mosquitoes existing in the world today. Of these, most mosquitoes belong to three species: Aedes, Anopholes and Culex.
2. Like all insects, mosquitoes hatch from eggs and go through several stages in their life cycle before becoming adults. The females lay their eggs in standing water and the eggs hatch into larvae or "wigglers," which live at the surface of the water and breathe through an air tube or siphon. They grow to about 1 - 2 cm long and shed their skin (molt) several times. The larvae live anywhere from 7 - 14 days depending on water temperature and species. After the fourth molt, mosquito larvae change into pupae, or "tumblers," which live in the water anywhere from 1 - 4 days again depending on the water temperature and species. The pupae float at the surface and breathe through two small tubes (trumpets). At the end of the pupal stage, the pupae encase themselves and transform into adult mosquitoes in 2 days. The adult uses air pressure to break open the pupal case, crawls to a protected area and rests while its external skeleton hardens and its wings dry. Once this is complete, it can fly away and live on the land.
3. Only female mosquitoes bite; she lands on your skin and sticks her long proboscis into you. Her saliva contains anticoagulants that prevent your blood from clotting. The blood she sucks (about 5 microliters per serving for an Aedes aegypti mosquito) provides proteins that the females need to lay eggs; they need a blood meal each time they lay.
4. Mosquitoes can carry many types of diseases that are caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses which the mosquitoes pass on when they bite. Malaria, potentially fatal, is transmitted by an Anopheles mosquito. The symptoms include fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches and others similar to flu symptoms. Yellow Fever, also potentially fatal, is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Its symptoms are similar to malaria, but also includes nausea, vomiting and jaundice. Encephalitis is transmitted the Aedes mosquitoes. The symptoms of include high fever, stiff neck, headache, confusion and sleepiness. Dengue Fever, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti, produces a range of illnesses, from viral flu to hemorrhagic fever. It is especially dangerous for children. It must be noted that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS cannot survive in a mosquito, and therefore cannot be transmitted from one person to another through mosquito bites.
5. Reducing the mosquito population is everyone's responsibility. Because mosquitoes will use any source of standing water to breed, we MUST eliminate sources of standing water in our yards. Empty watering cans, remove old tires and cover rain barrels. Some petroleum oils can be also added to water to form a thin surface layer that suffocates the mosquito eggs.