What are Mosquitoes?
Thousands of species of mosquitoes inhabit the earth, although only about 150 species call the United States home. Mosquitoes feed on nectar like many other insects but female mosquitoes will also feed on the blood of humans and animals to assist with egg production.
Mosquitoes typically emerge from their daytime resting places to feed primarily at dawn and dusk. While the male mosquito does not have mouthparts suited to piercing human skin, the female does. Female mosquitoes will use their mouthparts to puncture skin and inject saliva into the wound to prevent the blood from clotting.
The discomfort, irritation and swelling from a mosquito bite is the result of the body’s immune response to this saliva.
The blood meal taken by the female is used to supplement her diet with essential proteins and iron which she uses (along with carbohydrates derived from plant nectar) to assist in the development of her eggs. Mosquitoes in urban areas may lay eggs in ornamental ponds, rain gutters, bird baths, rain collection barrels, and other surfaces capable of holding water.