Many humans find pests just as fascinating as they are disgusting. It seems to be a case of “keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.” Maybe, just maybe if we can gather enough knowledge, we can arm ourselves against pests once and for all. In Florida, there is no pest humans are more at war with than mosquitoes. The insects are pervasive through the entire southeast, but specifically concentrated in Florida. Lucky us!
The good news is that Floridians need no longer look for the authoritative guide on our local annoyance. Timothy C. Winegard’s book The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator explores the long interaction between mosquitoes and humans. Join us as we explore his book and learn all about the deadly and annoying mosquito.
- Globally there are approximately 110 trillion mosquitoes. Those of you who are good at math already know that’s over 14,000 tiny vampires per human. There are only a few places on Earth that mosquitoes haven’t touched: Antarctica, Iceland, & French Polynesian Islands.
- The bug repellant industry is worth over 11 billion dollars. Items such as sprays, candles, and bracelets are sold in an insane volume. In fact, so many products are used that mosquitoes develop resistance to them not long after they’re on the market.
- The mosquito is the deadliest creature to humans, killing 830,000 people – and that number represents a decrease in deaths. The second deadliest hunter of humans (ourselves, coincidentally), only reduces the global population by 580,000. In fact, it is the deadliest killer in human history. Scientists estimate that in the total span of human history 108 billion of humans have lived. Based on research, mosquitoes and mosquito-related illnesses have killed 52 billion of those 108 billion. That means they have killed nearly half of all humans in our entire history,
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed $4 billion to mosquito research in the past two decades.
- The mosquito’s favorite time to hunt is at dusk. Fortunately for humans, this makes them susceptible to nocturnal predators, such as bats.
- Of mosquitoes, only the females bite humans and other animals. This is because mosquitoes need blood to grow and mature their eggs. Apparently, the male mosquitoes don’t bother themselves with child rearing.
- Mosquitoes are extremely drawn to type O blood. In fact, people with type O blood are twice as likely to get bitten as those with Type A blood. In fact, in Disney/Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, a mosquito is seen ordering a “Bloody Mary, Type O” at the bar.
- Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and do not require much, an inch or less will do. Some species need salt, fresh, or brackish water, however some mosquitoes don’t need a specific kind of water at all.
- Mosquitoes typically live one to three weeks. However, their lifespan can extend up to five months. That is a very rare case though.
- In cold weather, swarms of mosquitoes can bleed an entire animal dry, like miniature vampires. Turns out that they are more ravenous when they’re cold.