The battle between humans and mosquitoes has gone on for hundreds of years, and continues today. As soon as you step outside, unprotected, they hover and buzz nearby, awaiting the first opportunity to land and bite without you noticing. When mosquitoes are around, your large size is no match for their oversized desire for a human blood meal. If you've ever wondered how they bite and why their bites make you itch, keep reading.
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite
Vampires are fictional human-like creatures with a big thirst for blood. In real life, mosquitoes are the vampires of the insect world. These flying insects have an insatiable need for blood, but only the females. Female mosquitoes risk annihilation from insecticide, flyswatters and bug zappers for the sole purpose of extracting enough blood to suit their needs. Unlike movie vampires, mosquitoes don't need your blood to live, they need it for egg laying. Human blood contains proteins that help the entire species survive.
Breaking Down the Bite
If you're lucky, you'll hear a mosquito buzz and swat it away before it lands. When you do end up getting bit, it's usually because you're distracted. These bugs are light as a feather, and their biting behavior is so efficient, you often don't realize you've been bitten until the blood-draining culprit has flown off to parts unknown.
When a mosquito lands on your skin, she quickly inserts a mouth piece called a proboscis into your skin. The proboscis is like a tiny straw and it contains several parts. While you're concentrating on something else, the female mosquito uses her proboscis to find a prime blood vessel. As she draws blood through the straw into her body, she also releases saliva containing an anti-coagulant, which keeps the blood flowing freely.
After the bite process is over, your immune system kicks into gear, detecting the presence of mosquito saliva. In reaction to this foreign substance, your body immediately produces histamine to counteract the invasive substance. It's the histamine that triggers the swelling of blood vessels, causing a red bump and irritation at the bite site. This is when you feel that familiar itching sensation and realize you've been bitten by a mosquito.
Bite Remedies: Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch
Whatever you do, resist the temptation to scratch a mosquito bite. Scratching may temporarily feel good, but your nails can easily break the skin, opening the door to infection. It's best to do whatever you can to soothe the itchiness as quickly as possible. Baking soda and water is a natural remedy that works. Simply mix baking soda with enough water to create a thick paste and apply it to the bite area. Roll-on antiperspirant deodorant works well for some people. Or, you can try an anti-itch cream or lotion.
The Dangers of Mosquito Bites
Every mosquito bite comes with a risk of potentially being infected with a disease that causes serious health issues. They are known carriers of viruses such as West Nile and Zika. Mosquitoes breed in large numbers, and while most of them don't carry any harmful virus, the few that do pose a significant threat to public health. Mosquito-borne illnesses can be life-threatening, which is why MosquitoNix offers a convenient portable On-The-Go Dispenser and other eco-friendly mosquito eradication treatments. To speak with one of our friendly mosquito-fighting experts contact us today to set up a free consultation.