Monthly Archives: October 2010

How to distinguish mosquitoes from other flies.

Diptera MosquitoeMosquitoes or gnats (Culicidce) belong to the order of insects known as Diptera. As is well-known, a typical member of the class Insecta has four wings, but it is characteristic of members of the order Diptera that the hinder pair of wings are so reduced in size as to form only small knobs called ” balancers ” or halter es, so that Diptera are often spoken of as ” two- winged flies.” Other important characteristics of members of this order are that they possess piercing and sucking mouth parts, and that they undergo complete ” metamorphosis ” a term which is ex- plained by Glaus in the following manner :

The more complete the agreement between the just-born young and the adult sexual animal so much the greater will be the duration of the embryonic development and the more complicated the developmental processes of the embryo. The post-embryonic development will, in this case, be confined to simple processes of growth. When, however, the embryo is born in an immature condition and at a relatively low state of organization, the post-embryonic development will be more complicated, and the young animal, in addition to its increase in size, will present various processes oftransformation and change of form. In such cases the just-hatched young, as opposed to the adult animal, is called a Larva and develops gradually to the form of the adult sexual animal. The development of larvas, however, is by no means direct and uniform, but is compli- cated by the necessity for special contrivances to enable them to procure food and to protect themselves ; sometimes taking place in an entirely different medium, under different conditions of life. This kind of post-embryonic development is known as metamorphosis.”

The phenomena of metamorphosis are exceedingly well shown in the life history of frogs and in that of most insects. The different stages through which mosquitoes pass before they reach the adult state may, for example, be briefly described in the following way:

The adult mosquito lays its eggs on the surface of water. The eggs float on the water for some days (two to four), after which
time they hatch and permit of the escape of the larva.

The larva is a free swimming, worm-like animal, which eats greedily and grows rapidly, casting its skin several times in the process, till it reaches its full development. At this stage it suddenly changes its form ; casting its skin, the worm -like larva assumes a comma shape, and so becomes the pupa or nympha.

During the pupal period the insect ceases to eat ; profound anatomical changes take place within the pupal skin, whereby the masticatory mouthparts of the larva are converted into the suctorial apparatus of the adult insect or imago. After a certain number of days the pupa-case ruptures, and the adult insect is liberated, furnished with wings and legs adapted for a life in the air.

The Diptera have been divided into two great groups, termed Orthorrhapha and ^yclorrhapha, according to the manner in which
the pupa-case splits to permit of the escape of the perfect insect. In the Orthorrhapha, which includes the Culicidoe (mosquitoes), the ChironomidcB (midges), the Simulidce (sand-flies’, the Cecidomyidce (gall-midges), the Mycetophilidce (fungus-midges), the Tipulidce (daddy-long-legs), the TabanidcB (horse-flies), etc., the pupa-case splits longitudinally down the median dorsal line. In the Cyclor- rhapha, which includes the Syrphidce (hoverflies), the Oestridce (bot-and warble flies), the Muscidce (houfee flies, tsetse flies, blue and green bottle flies, flesh flies, etc.), the perfect insect escapes by the splitting off of a cap from the head end of the pupa.

The members of some of the above families are not infrequently mistaken for mosquitoes, especially the ChironomidcB or midges, the Cecidomyidce or gall-midges, the Tipulidce, the Simulidce, and the Psychodidce or owl-midges. Mosquitoes may, however, be easily distinguished from any other flies by the following characters :

- They possess a long sucking proboscis.*

- The veins on their wings are covered with scales.

- The arrangement of their wing-veins is characteristic and different from that of the members of any other family.

Resource – A Monograph of the Anopheles Mosquitoes of India By William Glen Liston, Sydney Price James

True Facts about Mosquitoes, They don’t transmit AIDS

Mosquitoes true factsThe list given below may surprise many, but all these facts are true, and it will probably help you better know your enemy.

- One mosquito female can lay more than 200 eggs at a time, able to survive for over 5 years.

- The only thing mosquitoes need to complete life cycle is water.

- Different species of mosquitoes bite different creatures: while some prefer humans, others bite birds, horses, and even frogs and turtles.

- Their flying speed is 1.5 mph, with wing beats ranging from 300 to 600 times a second.

- Male mosquitoes only feed on nectar. Those who take blood are females.

- These insects don’t live in grass, although adult insects often rest there by day.

- Mosquitoes bear the biggest responsibility for human death than any other creatures.

- They don’t transmit AIDS. – One mosquito takes around 5-millionths of a liter at a time.

- Mosquitoes can carry over pets’ heartworm, a parasite attacking their major arteries and heart.

- So far there’re over 2500 species known all over the globe, 150 of which occur in the US.

- Mosquitoes are able to fly long distances, with some species’ record being 20 miles.

- Although mosquitoes can’t see well, they can zoom in. Still, they won’t see you if you’re farther than 30 feet away.

- However, mosquito can smell well, feeling you exhaling carbon dioxide from 70 feet away.

- Mosquitoes have quite a long life – females live 3 to 100 days, while males only 10 to 20 days.

- Some individuals are more attractive to these insects than others. Although it’s unclear why, the theory is that it depends on the 300-odd chemicals produced by our skin.

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Smoke Mosquitoes Out, mosquito bites may be very dangerous!

Mosquito bite pictureMany know that mosquito bites may be very dangerous, as they can transmit serious diseases, particularly if you have pets and kids. In fact, you are able to lower the risk of getting infected with one of these mosquito-transmitted diseases if follow several simple rules.

1. Use insect repellent with DEET.
Each time you go outside apply DEET to your exposed skin. DEET is another name for N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide – active component used in all the most popular insect repellents that are applied to the exposed skin. Although it doesn’t kill mosquitoes, it still repels them. Products based on N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide are marketed all over the world in different concentrations and forms developed to protect people from bites of ticks and insects, as well as life-threatening diseases those can carry.

2. Don’t use fragrant body products.
Insects are very often attracted by various body odors, which makes them choose some particular people among others in a crowd. Avoiding lotions, soaps, and perfumes containing heavy fragrances will help you find yourself among those the mosquitoes are less interested in.

3. Choose appropriate clothing.
When going outdoors, it is recommended that you wear socks, long pants, and long-sleeves. Since insects may bite through thin clothes, applying repellent with DEET or permethrin on clothes will provide you additional protection. However, it’s important to remember that you mustn’t spray repellents with permethrin on exposed skin, as well as you can’t apply repellent with DEET on the skin under the clothing.

4. Liquidate insects breeding places.
Since mosquitoes are very poor fliers, most of those insects that you see around your house usually come from your own place or your neighbors’. You can control their population by eliminating the potential locations mosquitoes can breed from your home and change the water daily in all containers like birdbaths, as these insects are able to breed in a mere teaspoon of water.

5. Take extra care in peak mosquito times.
Time from dusk to dawn is peak insects biting hours for many types of mosquitoes. If you have to go outside during these times, make sure you use both protective clothing and repellent.

6. Use modern means against mosquitoes.
Now new technologies are evolving, providing you with lots of innovations like mosquito traps, which can control mosquitoes outdoors. They work by luring insects into a special container and trap them till death, so that you could enjoy outdoor activities without fear.

In case you got bitten after all, take some measures too. Wash insects’ bites with mild soap and water, avoiding scratching the area, even though it itches badly. The itching may be relieved by anti-itch medicines like non-prescription cortisone creams or Calamine lotion. In case you have any of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately: fever, painful headache, abrupt sensitivity to light, stiff neck, infection or extreme swelling of the bite area, muscle weakness or confusion.

Protect Your Pets from Mosquitoes, Pets and Mosquitoes

Protect pets from mosquitoesThe pets may be infected with a parasitic disease called heartworm, which involves a long thin worm living in their heart and blood vessels. The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and affects cats and dogs, although dogs get ill more often than cats.

The heartworm disease may not involve any visible symptoms until after a full calendar year after the moment of infection. Cats and dogs carrying heartworms are usually easily tired; they can cough or appear rough and unthriving, sometimes coughing up worms and blood from ruptured vessels. Finally the animal can suddenly collapse and die because of the blockage of major blood vessels.

This disease can be prevented if using the proper prescription, which can be got from veterinary clinic. Your vet can consult you about preventive medicine and heartworm testing of your pets.

However, you can always reduce your animal’s risk to the heartworm disease by reducing its exposure to mosquitoes by some simple control measures:

- Change your pet’s water dishes every day.

- When going outdoors, your pet can be protected with a mosquito trap.

- Make sure your pets are kept inside at dawn and dusk, which is peak mosquito feeding hours.

- Eliminate all the sources of dead water in the nearby area, where mosquitoes might breed.

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