The word mosquito is Spanish for “little fly”. There are over 3000 mosquito species in the world, and 176 known species within in the United States. Depending on the species, mosquitoes can fly anywhere from a few hundred yards to more than 20 miles.
Mosquitoes are found throughout all territories of the world, except for Antarctica.
Although they dislike cold weather, mosquitoes can live in almost any environment. They need moisture in order to thrive, so they favor areas with wet ground and standing water such as swamps, marshes, forests, tall grasses and weeds. Mosquitoes can also breed in containers that hold water, such as birdbaths, rain gutters or wading pools.
Most mosquitoes become active when the average temperature is above 70 degrees. Mosquitoes that breed in floodwater habitats usually become a problem about 7-10 days after a heavy rain.
Small and unassuming, mosquitoes often fly unnoticed until they land and find human skin to bite. Using their straw-like mouthpart, called a proboscis, female mosquitoes will pierce skin to suck blood. They can be vectors or carriers for disease in humans and animals, and they can cause loss of weight and reduced milk production in livestock.
Only female mosquitoes bite. They need the protein in blood to produce eggs. Male mosquitoes don’t bite and only feed on plant nectar.
Mosquito antennae contain receptors that can sense carbon dioxide in human breath from more than 100 feet away. They can also pick up the odor of chemicals released in human sweat.