Have you ever wondered why mosquito bites itch so much? If you can be allergic to mosquito bites? Why do mosquitoes bite humans in the first place? As mosquito control professionals, part of our job is educating our customers on mosquitoes and making sure you are aware of the serious risks that these pests pose.
Here is a little bit about the science behind mosquito bites and how you can prevent them around your home:
Why do mosquito bites itch?
Almost everyone is familiar with the dreaded, itchy sensation that follows being bitten by mosquitoes. But what makes these bites itch so much? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the answer is actually pretty simple.
When a mosquito bites a human (or animal), the insect injects saliva into its host’s skin while feeding. Afterward, the host develops a bump as a reaction to the saliva that is now in its body. In other words, mosquito bites occur because of the saliva that mosquitoes transmit to their hosts while feeding on them.
Some of the signs that you have been bitten by a mosquito include:
- A puffy and reddish bump
- A hard, itchy bump or several bumps that can appear a day or so after the bite(s)
- Small blisters
- Dark spots that resemble bruises
Can you be allergic to mosquito bites?
The short answer is yes, you can be allergic to mosquito bites. One of the things that make mosquitoes so dangerous is that, in addition to spreading diseases such as West Nile virus and malaria, they can also cause severe allergic reactions in some people. Having this severe allergic reaction to mosquito bites is known as skeeter syndrome.
While most people only experience a small bump and itchiness after being bitten by a mosquito, those with skeeter syndrome have more serious symptoms. Symptoms of skeeter syndrome can include:
- A large amount of swelling (more than what is typical)
- Anaphylaxis (in rare cases)
Why do mosquitoes bite?
Contrary to what many people think, mosquitoes do not bite humans simply because they want food. In fact, only female mosquitoes bite humans, while male mosquitoes feed on other things such as nectar from flowers.
So why do female mosquitoes feed on blood? Because they need blood meals in order to produce and lay their eggs. Since male mosquitoes do not bite humans or animals, they cannot spread diseases like female mosquitoes.
How do you prevent mosquito bites from occurring around your home and yard?
There are many things you can do in order to reduce your chances of being bitten by mosquitoes around your home. Here are some of the most common and effective ways to avoid mosquito bites:
- Use EPA-registered insect repellent containing one of the following active ingredients:
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
- Put screens on doors and windows around your home
- Get rid of any standing water on your property (mosquitoes need standing water to lay their eggs)
- Hire a mosquito control company
Hiring a mosquito control company is the best way to make sure that you and your family are protected from mosquito bites. As trained professionals, we know the best mosquito control practices to ensure your yard is mosquito-free.
Find your local mosquito control company here.