Mosquitoes may refer to hundreds of species of insects that belong to the order of flies known as Diptera. The scientific name for mosquitoes is Culicidae. The average size of a mosquito could be between 0.125 to 0.75 inches. Like most insects, adult mosquitoes have three major body parts, head, thorax, and abdomen. It uses the eyes and antennae together to search for food.
Dipterans resemble most other insects except they have two wings, instead of four, and their mouths are specialized for sucking. Mosquitoes have vital organs in the abdomen where they store food and female mosquitoes store blood that they will need to fertilize their eggs.
The life cycle of mosquitoes mainly has four stages – eggs, Larva, Pupa, and Adults. Different species of mosquitoes may complete their entire life cycle in different periods, some live for as little time as four days, while some live as long as a month. It is interesting to note that male mosquitoes feed only on plant juices and nectar, it is the female mosquito that bites and sucks blood, as she needs essential proteins to start the process of fertilization of her eggs. These eggs are laid on surfaces that have stagnant water.
There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes. Not all species feed on human blood, some bite birds, cattle, and frogs too. Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest creatures on earth, the number of deaths due to mosquito bites are far more than that caused by tigers or sharks.
Mosquitoes are carriers and vectors of many deadly diseases that can humanity Malaria, dengue, filariasis, encephalitis to name a few.
These tiny creatures not weighing more than 0.000088 ounces, can prove to be worst of your enemies breeding in your backyard. Therefore, it is a crucial part of health regulations to contain the growth of the mosquito population. All mosquitoes need water for breeding, getting rid stagnant water in your surroundings and regular use insecticides are two main ways of controlling their population. Global efforts to stop the spread of mosquitoes are having little effect, and many scientists think global warming will likely increase their number and range.
Below are some of the laboratory tested ways to repel mosquitoes naturally.
- Citronella Oil: Citronella oil is a type of natural oil that is known to repel insects. The U.S Environmental protection Agency has approved Citronella as safe to be used by humans. The use of Citronella ages back to as early as the Greek and Roman scriptures have mentioned about the use of Citronella as an insect repellent. But the use of this will keep mosquitoes away no longer than two to three hours because the oil evaporates quickly.
- Lemon Eucalyptus oil: Lemon Eucalyptus oil is an essential oil that can effectively keep away various species of mosquitoes. Lab researchers have found that Lemon Eucalyptus oil has been effective in protecting against Malaria and Yellow fever mosquitoes. It can provide up to 95% protections from mosquitoes, but not for a longer duration. The fresh scent can repel mosquitoes for up to 3 hours.
- Peppermint and Clove: Peppermint essential oil was effective against mosquito and provided 100% protection against bites from adult yellow fever mosquitoes for up to 150 minutes. Researchers say that a mixture of clove essential oil with bases of olive and coconut oil can protect against yellow fever mosquitoes for up to 96 minutes.
- Catnip: people can use Catnip essential oil as a natural mosquito repellent. Extracts from the catnip plant effectively repelled two species of mosquito, including the common house mosquito, for at least 2 hours.
- Neem: Burning of neem leaves can provide up to 2 hours of protection against the Mosquitoes. DEET provides a similar level of protection, but it lasts for about 8 hours.
If you see a small red bump on the skin followed by itchiness and inflammation it could be a mosquito bite. But sometimes, a mosquito bite can cause a large area of swelling, soreness and redness. This type of reaction is more common in children, referred to as Skeeter Syndrome. However, some disease-carrying mosquitoes can trigger prolonged symptoms such as fever, diarrhoea, sore throat, difficulty in breathing; we suggest you visit a doctor immediately.
If you have been bitten by a mosquito, you might want to try some ways to treat the mosquito bites
- Crushed Ices: The cold temperature of the ice will numb skin providing short term relief from inflammation and itchiness. But don’t apply the ice directly on the skin as it can further irritate your skin. Use a clean washcloth to rub ice on the bite.
- Honey: Honey is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Honey has been used for a thousand years as a treatment for bruises, stings, and bites.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is one of the main plants that are used in derma treatment. Its soothing gel can calm the itchiness and redness like magic. But be careful of its thorns when cutting the leaves.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider Vinegar is one miraculous liquid with so many medical properties. From curing skin problems to regulating body hormones. Apple cider vinegar can be used to reduce itchiness. We suggest diluting two to three spoons of vinegar in half a bucket of water and washing the infected area. If you want more relief, soak a clean cloth in the water apply to the infected area. If you feel irritation on the skin, please stop the treatment.
- Onions: Onions are rich with anti-fungal and anti-Bacterial properties. If you have scratched the bite too much, onions can act as a natural disinfectant. Simply cut a slice and rub directly on the infected area for 5 to 6 minutes, then wash with cold water.
- Teabags: Tea leaves contain a substance called Tannins that act as an astringent, pulling out the germs and toxins from the skin. You can soak a tea bag in a cup of water for 10 mins and apply the water with a cotton pad on the sore area, or you can simply wet the tea bag and rub against the bite. For more soothing treatment, keep the teabag in the freezer for 10 minutes and rub on the infected area.
- Essential oils: Essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree, Eucalyptus and Chamoline oil can help reduce the inflammation and itchiness caused due to a mosquito sting.
If you see the redness and the itchiness persists more than a week, it could indicate a skin infection. Or if you notice symptoms such as fever, diarrhoea, headache, dizziness, Nausea.
We suggest consulting your doctor at earliest.
It is not possible to avoid mosquito bites; you can use the natural repellents and other options such as installing mosquito on doors and windows to avoid mosquitoes from getting indoors. Be aware of visiting places with a high density of mosquitoes or other insects by covering as much skin as possible.