Which is the deadliest insect on earth? You may be thinking of fire ants, kissing bug or maybe the driver ant. You would be wrong.
While these are certainly dangerous insects, the deadliest is none other than the mosquito. Mosquitoes alone can’t do us much harm, but as disease carriers, these insects are downright lethal.
Why are mosquitoes deadly?
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), about 725,000 people are killed every year by mosquito-borne diseases. Apart from transmitting malaria, mosquitoes also carry dengue fever, yellow fever and encephalitis.
The female anopheles mosquito is responsible for spreading malaria through bites to human beings.
Mosquitoes breed well in marshy or swampy areas, and places where there is still water like puddles. To keep mosquitoes away, it is necessary to keep your environment clean and drain areas with stagnant water.
Resistance to pesticides
According to the BBC, worldwide progress on malaria prevention is under threat because some mosquitoes are developing resistance to pesticides, one of the main measures used to protect humans from being bitten. The stuff that was killing mosquitoes before is no longer killing them.
Dr James Logan, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is one scientist who is trying to find some answers. “We’re now seeing this resistance spread across sub-Saharan Africa like wildfire and this is a big problem,” he says.
They are found in nearly every part of the world
According to the World Health Organization, The sheer number of mosquitoes in the world adds to the risk they pose to humans. Unlike many other dangerous creatures, they can be found in nearly every part of the world at various times of the year, and at peak breeding season they outnumber every other animal except ants and termites.
Mosquitoes prefer human blood
A mosquito homes in on you by sensing the proximity of blood from your sweat, your breath, your warmth. Her feeding apparatus, that elaborate proboscis, is a multipart marvel with a skin-piercing fascicle of tiny stylets that can suck your blood while injecting mosquito saliva laced with an anticoagulant. A mosquito can slip that fascicle into your skin so gently that you have no idea what’s happening until the blood meal is already under way. She can sip your blood until she’s more than twice her weight.
Some mosquito facts
1. Only female mosquitoes bite humans and animals: males feed on flower nectar.
2. Some mosquitoes avoid biting humans altogether.
3. An adult mosquito may live 5-6 months.
4. Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide from 75 feet away.