Manitoba

10 things that might surprise you about mosquitoes

They're best known as pesky little bloodsuckers, but what mosquitoes really want might surprise you.

Getting bit a lot? It may be time to wash your feet

Manitoba Gardener Magazine publisher Dorothy Dobbie has created a list of 10 facts about mosquitoes you might be surprised to learn. (James Gathany/CDC/Associated Press)

They're best known as pesky little bloodsuckers, but what mosquitoes really want might surprise you.

Dorothy Dobbie, the publisher of Manitoba Gardener Magazine, has created a list of 10 things about mosquitoes most will be surprised to know for a weekly newsletter she sends out.

"I was really interested in the fact that they eat nectar. I don't think many people know that. We all think that they eat blood," Dobbie said.

"Just know that some of them don't bite." 

The following list is based on an edited version of Dobbie's responses.


1. They want nectar 

Despite what you've likely heard, mosquitoes don't eat your blood. They like nectar from flowers and sugar from fruit. Female mosquitoes do suck blood, though. 

2. Mosquitoes suck but they don't bite  

Technically speaking, mosquitoes don't bite; they insert stingers into skin and suck, literally. 

3. You might want to wash your feet 

Your blood isn't so sweet. Mosquitoes are attracted to the bacteria that causes smelly feet, which explains those extra leg attacks. 

4. Mosquitoes walk on water 

Mosquitoes are so light on their feet not even a spider can detect them. They also walk on water. 

5. They smell you from afar 

They love your perfume and deodorant. Bottom line: they can smell you from 100 feet away. 

6. Panoramic and infrared eyes   

Not only can mosquitoes smell you from afar, but they can see you, too. They have compound panoramic eyes made of motion-detecting cells that take up most of their head space. Their eyes deliver images of infrared too.

7. Short-lived

Males only live 15 -20 days. The ladies are a little luckier and live for up to 100 days. 

8. World's largest mosquito lives in Manitoba 

The world's largest mosquito calls the village of Komarno, Man., home. Komarno means mosquito-infested in Ukraine.

The village has a giant statue, and its website says it's proud to be known as the mosquito capital of the world.   

9. Deadly little killers 

Mosquitoes are disease-infested and blamed for more deaths than anything else. They can kill people after a sting and hurt their dogs and cats too. They don't spread HIV, though. 

10. You have the power to stop a mosquito birth 

Female mosquitoes lay their eggs where water collects, but the hatching process takes time. The timeline for an egg to become an adult is 10 days. So change your birdbath water twice a week and you can stop the eggs from becoming mosquitoes.

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