Drawn to your face by the carbon dioxide you exhale, and the warmth it radiates, there isn’t a more annoying moment than that high pitched whine in your ear late at night. You swat at it blindly in hopes of successful contact, but you know you’ll have to get up, turn the light on, and hunt it down if you ever what to get back to sleep again.
Adult mosquitoes usually mate within a few days after emerging from the pupa stage. In most species, the males form large swarms, usually around dusk, and the females fly into the swarms to mate.
After obtaining a full blood meal, the female will rest for a few days while the blood is digested and eggs are developed. This process depends on the temperature, but usually takes two to three days in tropical conditions. Once the eggs are fully developed, the female lays them and resumes host-seeking.
The cycle repeats itself until the female dies. While females can live longer than a month in captivity, most do not live longer than one to two weeks in nature. Their lifespan depends on temperature, humidity, and their ability to successfully obtain a blood meal while avoiding predators. By being that “predator” you can theoretically remove 100 to 300 from the annoyance equation by killing one female.
Like all flies, mosquitoes go through four stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The first three stages typically last 5–14 days, depending on the species and the ambient temperature.
What drives us crazy though is the itching that comes after the bite. This itching is because of the saliva the bug creates to do the job.
Scientists have isolated 20 dominant proteins in this saliva, half of these they can’t ascribe a function to. But they know it holds great promise in the development of anti-clotting drugs, such as clotting inhibitors and capillary dilators that could be useful for cardiovascular disease.
Funny how this little flying annoyance still baffles the scientific world. We look at it and say, “Why did God create this little blood sucker?” It might just save your life someday.