As a mosquito and tick control business, we know it is important for our customers to have all of the facts when it comes to these pests. Think you know all there is to know about mosquitoes and ticks? Here are some commonly-believed myths about these pests that might surprise you:
Myth: All mosquitoes bite
While it might seem like every mosquito on earth is out to bite you as soon as you step outside, that is actually not the case. The truth is only female mosquitoes bite humans, as they need blood to lay their eggs. Male mosquitoes, on the other hand, only need to feed on nectar and other plant nutrients.
Myth: Ticks find their hosts by falling or jumping from trees
While this is probably the most widely believed “fact” about ticks, it is a myth. Ticks lack the ability to jump and fly, so they will climb up a blade of grass or some shrubbery and wait until a human or animal brushes by. This is why trimming tall grass and other foliage around your yard is a common method of tick control.
Myth: Citronella candles are 100% effective
While citronella candles work to some degree as mosquito deterrent, they are not totally effective. In fact, regular candles probably work just the same as those with citronella in them. The amount of citronella oil used in candles is very small, so using a DEET repellent is a much more powerful deterrent.
Myth: Ticks die off in the winter
It is a popular belief that ticks, along with most other summer pests, die off in the winter. However, some species of tick, such as the Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged tick) and Ixodes pacificus (western blacklegged tick), can actually survive the colder months. Temperatures have to be below freezing for ticks to die, so there is a good chance ticks will still be around if you live in a warm region of the country.
Myth: Mosquitoes are more attracted to people with “sweet” blood
There is a common myth that mosquitoes tend to bite certain people who have “sweet” blood. However, this is not true. In fact, the taste of a person’s blood has nothing to do with his or her risk of being bitten. According to the CDC, Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and the lactic acid in our breath, so the odors we release play a big role in how attractive we are to these pests.
Studies have also shown that mosquitoes are more likely to bite those with Type O blood rather than Type A, so your blood type might actually be contributing to your mosquito bites.
Myth: Drinking alcohol does not attract mosquitoes
Studies have shown that drinking alcohol, particularly beer, increases your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. In a study published by the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, researchers discovered that the percentage of mosquito landings on people greatly increased after beer drinking. In other words, make sure you are wearing extra mosquito repellent if you are planning on having a drink outside.
We take mosquito and tick control seriously so you and your family can have peace of mind in your outdoor space. Contact a Mosquito Authority location near you to take back your backyard and check out our other blogs for more information on these pests.