August 20th marks World Mosquito Day, an annual commemoration of one of the most important scientific revelation of Malaria. In 1897, British doctor Sir Ronald Ross discovered that female Anopheles mosquito is responsible for the transmission of this life-threatening disease. Since then, his research has helped pave way for scientists across the globe to learn the significance of mosquitoes’ role in spreading deadly diseases to humans.
Mosquito-borne illnesses are a growing problem globally and dengue is a prime example, especially in tropical countries worldwide. Dengue, caused by the Aedes mosquito, has proved to be a lethal threat in Malaysia. 201 fatalities have been reported as of 10th August this year compared to 215 deaths in entire of 2014, 92 in 2013, and 35 in 2012. The number of dengue cases had also risen to 73,896, that is an average of more than 300 infections reported daily!
Although considered to be the world’s deadliest animal because more than 1 million people are killed every year from their bites, find out what are the most misunderstood facts about mosquito:
1. All mosquitoes feed on human blood.
Primarily, all adult mosquitoes feed on plants nectar to get sugar that provides enough energy for both males and females to live. However, female mosquitoes also feed on blood for protein to develop their eggs.
2. Mosquitoes breed on all sources of water.
It is known that mosquitoes need water to breed. However, flowing water such as streams, ponds or lakes are not potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes because other predators like fish or frog can reduce the chance of mosquito’s egg survival. Which is why, mosquitoes actually prefer to lay their eggs in shallow and stagnant water.
3. Mosquitoes prefer people with sweet blood.
Mosquitoes are not attracted to people based on their sugar level; instead they are attracted to heat, carbon dioxide and lactic acid which are released during exercise.
What can you do to keep mosquitoes at bay?
- Trim your garden shrubs and grass short to reduce mosquito harbourage areas.
- Discard stagnant water collected in empty flower pots to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
- Apply mosquito repellent containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) to deter mosquitoes when you are outdoor.
- Install mosquito netting/screen on all windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
- Conduct regular fogging activities around the neighbourhood to kill adult mosquitoes.
Learn more about interesting mosquito facts with our infographic.