When you think of warmer weather, you imagine barbecues and beach trips. Unfortunately, these outdoor activities can be ruined by mosquito bites. Mosquitoes can put a damper on any summer fun, causing itchy red bumps and spreading diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus, and more within the U.S.
Most people are familiar with the maddening, itching sensation of a mosquito bite. But why do mosquito bites itch and why do they bite people in the first place? Let’s break it down.
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite?
Only female mosquitoes bite as they need protein to nourish their developing eggs. Biting mosquitoes use several different signals to locate a host, including carbon dioxide that we exhale, heat, and body odor. There are many factors that make some people appear more attractive to mosquitoes than others, including darker colored clothing, blood type, body size, being pregnant, sweat, and skin bacteria.
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
During the process of a mosquito biting you, it injects some of its own saliva which contains an anticoagulant and specific proteins. The anticoagulant prevents blood from clotting around the mosquito’s mouth. The proteins released by the mosquito trigger the body’s immune system, which releases histamine, a compound that increases cell count resulting in inflammation and swelling. The histamine also signals the nerves around the bite to cause it to itch.
Preventing Mosquito Bites
- Eliminate standing water around your property to lessen the population of mosquitoes
- Utilize screens on all windows and doors if they remain open
- Most species are active during dusk and dawn, so limit your time outside during these time periods
- Wear long pants and sleeves when possible and apply mosquito repellent containing an EPA-registered ingredient like DEET
If the mosquito problem is more than you can handle, then contacting your local pest control company might be the next step. as they will help set up the right prevention plan for your home.