Mosquitoes can carry diseases and transfer them from living things to other living organisms, including humans. Throughout history, many people have lost their lives because of the deadly diseases carried by some mosquitoes. However, most mosquitoes are more annoying than they are deadly. Mosquito bites normally produce red, itchy bumps on the skin of people allergic to the saliva, and scratching the bumps can break the skin and cause infection. Only the female mosquitoes bite because the males’ mouths cannot penetrate skin, so they feed on flower nectar rather than blood.
Warm weather and wet conditions encourage mosquito activity. Flood-prone areas, heavily irrigated areas and areas near large bodies of water attract mosquitoes because the insects need water to reproduce.
Female mosquitoes need protein from animal blood to create their eggs. The females deposit their eggs on various surfaces where they can live for years without hatching. The eggs hatch after exposure to low levels of water and moisture. Reproduction can happen very quickly and produce an entire generation of mosquitoes in just five to seven days.
Aquatic organisms in the water provide food for mosquito larvae. The larvae have air tubes for breathing, but they can also survive with their heads immersed in water. The larva stage of five to seven days ends when the mosquitoes become pupae and typically remain inactive for two or three days. However, they have the ability to defend themselves during that period if necessary. The adult mosquitoes that emerge after that time can live for two weeks.
Most female mosquito species spend their days in the midst of damp foliage and come out in the evenings to feed on the blood of birds and mammals, but certain species feed on reptiles.