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Mosquitoes are insects belonging to the order Diptera, the True Flies. Like all True Flies, they have two wings, but unlike other flies, mosquito wings have scales. Female mosquitoesâ€™ mouthparts form a long piercing-sucking proboscis. Males differ from females by having feathery antennae and mouthparts not suitable for piercing skin. A mosquitoâ€™s principal food is nectar or similar sugar source.
There are over 2500 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world of which 150 species occur in the United States. 52 species occur in California, and 19 species occur in Alameda County. In the course of the Districtâ€™s operation about 10 species are commonly found in the County. Eight of the species account for over 99% of complaints from the public. Each of the species has a scientific name that is latin, such as Culex tarsalis. These names are used in a descriptive manner so that the name tells something about this particular mosquito. Some species have what is called â€ścommon namesâ€ť as well as scientific names, such as Anopheles freeborni, the â€śWestern malaria mosquitoâ€ť.
All mosquitoes must have water in which to complete their life cycle. This water can range in quality from melted snow water to sewage effluent and it can be in any container imaginable. The type of water in which the mosquito larvae is found can be an aid to the identification of which species it may be. Also, the adult mosquitoes show a very distinct preference for the types of sources in which to lay their eggs. They lay their eggs in such places such as tree holes that periodically hold water, tide water pools in salt marshes, sewage effluent ponds, irrigated pastures, rain water ponds, etc. Each species therefore has unique environmental requirements for the maintenance of its life cycle.
The feeding habits of mosquitoes are quite unique in that it is only the adult females that bite man and other animals. The male mosquitoes feed only on plant juices. Some female mosquitoes prefer to feed on only one type of animal or they can feed on a variety of animals. Female mosquitoes feed on man, domesticated animals, such as cattle, horses, goats, etc; all types of birds including chickens; all types of wild animals including deer, rabbits; and they also feed on snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads.
Most female mosquitoes have to feed on an animal and get a sufficient blood meal before she can develop eggs. If they do not get this blood meal, then they will die without laying viable eggs. However, some species of mosquitoes have developed the means to lay viable eggs without getting a blood mea.
The flight habits of mosquitoes depend again on the species with which we are dealing. Most domestic species remain fairly close to their point of origin while some species known for their migration habits are often an annoyance far from their breeding place. The flight range for females is usually longer than that of males. Many times wind is a factor in the dispersal or migration of mosquitoes. Most mosquitoes stay within a mile or two of their source. However, some have been recorded as far as 75 miles from their breeding source.
Mosquitoes Diseases: Mosquitoescan be an annoying, serious problem in manâ€™s domain. They interfere with work and spoil hours of leisure time. Their attacks on farm animals can cause loss of weight and decreased milk production. Some mosquitoes are capable of transmitting diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue, filariasis and encephalitis [St. Louis encephalitis (SLE), Western Equine encephalitis (WEE), LaCrosse encephalitis (LAC), Japanese encephalitis (JE), Eastern Equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV)] to humans and animals.
West Nile Virus (WNV): is a mosquito-borne disease that has been detected in the United States in 1999 in New York City and has since spread through most of the country. Most people and animals who become infected with the virus have only a mild illness or no symptoms, but in rare cases can become seriously ill. The types of mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile Virus are common mosquitoes in Alameda County. Our goal is to decrease the numbers of mosquitoes in the county thereby minimizing the possiblity of West Nile Virus transmission.
West Nile Virus Spread
Symptoms: 80 percent of people who are actually infected with West Nile Virus will show absolutely no symptoms whatsoever, and the disease often passes unnoticed. A little under 20 percent of people will have mild symptoms, some of which resemble a cold. These can include fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. The symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeksâ€“even in seemingly healthy people. In a very few cases (1 in every 150 cases), the symptoms will be severe. These can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
How is it spread: West Nile Virus is spread by an infected mosquito to a bird which travels or migrates. The bird in turn gets bitten by an uninfected mosquito, which then carries the virus to other birds. As you can see in the illustration to your right, those infected mosquitoes will occasionally bite other hosts such as horses and people, and transmit the virus to them. Contrary to some rumors, you canâ€™t catch the disease from casual contact, such as touching or kissing an infected person.
If you ever have any bug related questions feel free to call us either at Beyond Pest Control. Once again, and I canâ€™t stress this enough we are on call twenty four hours a day seven days a week to kill those bugs, we arenâ€™t kidding whether you call us at 9 am or midnight we will be available to take your call and either get rid of the bug infestation, or answer any questions you may have concerning the bug issue. I can honestly guarantee that there will be someone to answer that call. We make it our business to make you bug free!
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