Lyme disease, a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by ticks, has garnered significant attention due to…
Mosquitoes, the tiny buzzing nuisances that infiltrate our peaceful summer evenings, have long been the subject of several misconceptions. One of which is the question, “Do mosquitoes die after they bite you?” We’re going to answer this question and more pertaining to what happens after a mosquito bites you.
Mosquito Behavior as it Relates to Biting Humans & Other Mammals
It’s important to note first and foremost that only female mosquitoes bite. They do this in order to obtain the protein found in blood, which they need to produce eggs.
Male mosquitoes, on the other hand, feed solely on plant nectar. Female mosquitoes are guided by their incredible ability to sense carbon dioxide (CO2) and heat, which is how they find their mammalian targets.
Once the female mosquito finds a suitable host, she uses her specially adapted mouthparts, collectively known as a proboscis, to pierce the skin and locate a blood vessel. She injects saliva, which contains anticoagulants to prevent the blood from clotting, allowing her to feed more easily.
Do Mosquitoes Die After They Bite You?
The short answer is no, mosquitoes do not die after biting humans or other mammals. Female mosquitoes need a blood meal in order to reproduce. If they were to die after biting a host, it would disable their natural reproduction abilities.
Mosquitoes will only die after biting if you kill them yourself or if your blood contains some type of pathogen or chemical lethal to them.
What Happens After a Mosquito Bites You?
What Happens to Humans:
For humans, the interaction doesn’t end with a mosquito getting its meal. After a mosquito bites you, a bit of its saliva remains in your body, and it’s this foreign substance that triggers your immune system to respond.
The typical response to a mosquito bite includes redness, swelling, and the hallmark itchy bump, which are signs that your body is reacting to the bite.
In some cases, mosquitoes can transmit pathogens like viruses and parasites, causing diseases such as malaria, dengue, Zika, and West Nile virus.
What Happens to Mosquitoes:
As for the mosquito, after obtaining her blood meal, she will rest for a couple of days and digest the blood, using the proteins to develop her eggs. Following this resting period, the mosquito is ready to lay her eggs and will start seeking out a new blood meal, repeating the process.
This is why mosquitoes do not die immediately after biting; in fact, a single female mosquito can bite multiple times in her lifespan, which can range from two weeks to a month, depending on species and conditions.
How to Prevent Mosquitoes From Biting You
Preventing mosquitoes from biting you depends on where you are and what you’re doing. But generally, you should use an insect repellant, wear protective clothing, avoid peak mosquito hours, manage your environment, and install screens and nets that keep mosquitoes from entering your space.
Use Insect Repellent: Products containing DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are proven to effectively at repel mosquitoes. Always remember to follow the product instructions for safety.
Wear Protective Clothing: If you’re in a mosquito-prone area, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect your skin. You can also use permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
Avoid Peak Mosquito Hours: Mosquitoes are typically most active at dawn and dusk. If possible, stay indoors during these times, and understand peak mosquito season as well.
Manage Your Environment: Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Regularly check and empty containers that may hold water, such as buckets, birdbaths, or flower pots.
Install Screens and Nets: If you live in an area with high mosquito prevalence, use window and door screens and sleep under mosquito nets to prevent contact with these pests.
You can also try things like planting mosquito-repellant plants in your yard and inside your home to deter them from dwelling in those areas.
If you are having mosquito problems in your backyard and are looking to enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about putting on bug spray or long pants, contact Mozzie Dome to get your free estimate for a backyard preventative treatment.