What Happens When You Get Stung by a Mosquito

Mosquitoes are insects and, like flies, are members of the order Diptera (with two wings). There are over 3,600 species of mosquitoes in the world. Mosquitoes generally have relatively delicate bodies and a long, tubular mouth called a proboscis, which they use to pierce their victims’ skin and suck their blood.

We often call this “mosquito bites”. But… did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? It’s because they need iron and protein in their blood to produce their eggs. Otherwise, both female and male mosquitoes would feed on plant nectars and juices.

Mosquitoes and their search for food

Summer, characterized by rain and intense heat, usually offers ideal conditions for mosquitoes to reproduce. If it is particularly hot and humid, every 14 days there may be a new generation of mosquitoes. A single female mosquito can lay between 200 and 300 eggs in standing water such as puddles, ponds or rain barrels.

Most mosquitoes don’t like direct sunlight, so they prefer to come out of hiding at dusk in search of food. Female mosquitoes find their food source through the carbon dioxide we exhale, body odor and also temperature. They can even use their three-dimensional sense of smell at a distance of 40 meters to determine how far away their food source is.

Mosquito Bites: How the Itch Develops

Once at the food source, mosquitoes use their proboscis to penetrate the host’s skin and suck its blood, while also injecting anticoagulant saliva into the host to keep the blood flowing for better absorption. A mosquito is capable of absorbing up to three times its weight in blood in about three minutes.

The host’s immune system recognizes the female mosquito’s injected saliva as hostile, causing the immune cells to react and release histamine receptors. Histamine triggers an allergic reaction, which causes itching and swelling.

These bites are usually harmless, but they can lead to allergic reactions, inflammation, and even the spread of disease. That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself against mosquitoes and their bites.

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