bug_icon_mosquitoMosquitoes are a family of small, midge-like flies. Although a few species are harmless or even useful to humanity, most are a nuisance because they consume blood from living vertebrates, including humans. The females of many species of mosquitoes are blood eating pests. In feeding on blood, some of them transmit extremely harmful human and livestock diseases, such as malaria. Some authorities argue accordingly that mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on Earth.

Typically, both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar and plant juices, but in many species the mouthparts of the females are adapted for piercing the skin of animal hosts and sucking their blood. In many species, the female needs to obtain nutrients from a blood meal before she can produce eggs, whereas in many other species, she can produce more eggs after a blood meal. Both plant materials and blood are useful sources of energy in the form of sugars, and blood also supplies more concentrated nutrients, such as lipids, but the most important function of blood meals is to obtain proteins as materials for egg production.

After receiving a mosquito bite which can be painful and itchy, a cold compress can be applied to the affected area in order to reduce swelling. Mild antihistamines and anti-itching compounds relieve itching. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen can also be used. A paste made from baking soda and water may prove effective as will Calamine lotion.

To prevent mosquito bites the use of insect repellent is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Repellents should not come into contact with the eyes and mouth and special care should be taken when applying repellent to small children.

Mosquitoes need water to reproduce. Some types of mosquitoes lay their eggs on water. To help prevent your home from becoming a mosquito breeding ground it is important to eliminate standing or stagnant water in or around your home.

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