The Truth on Sugar as a Way to Stop Mosquitoes from Biting You
Mosquitoes are known to be one of the most dangerous insects of all time. The World Health Organization reports that mosquito bites alone cause millions of deaths every year. Malaria caused 428,000 deaths in 2015. And the incidence of dengue has dramatically increased in the past 30 years. All of these diseases along with the Zika virus, the Chikungunya, and the yellow fever are all transmitted by the common Anopheles and Aedes aegypti mosquito. Did you know that half of the world’s population live in areas where this particular species grows rampant?
For this reason, the World Health Organization has advocated for sustained mosquito control. To prevent any more cases of dengue, malaria, and other diseases, we must also make an effort to prevent mosquitoes from biting us. Sure, not every mosquito brings diseases. But how can we know for sure that the mosquito biting us is not laced with any disease at all?
Identification of Mosquitoes
Not all of us are experts in the field of insects. But it pays off to be acquainted by some facts about it, especially if it is a matter of life and death. To us laymen, we think that all mosquitoes are the same. They have the same habitat, lifestyle, and eating habits. But that’s not true at all. In our planet, there are more than 3,000 mosquito species. 174 of these can be found in North America and Mexico. For this next segment, we will tackle some of the most common mosquitoes and their characteristics. It will help enlighten our minds about the different kinds of mosquitoes so we can determine if one is dead or not.
- The House Mosquito is the most common species all over the world. These mosquitoes are pale brown in color with white stripes and are found in polluted, stagnant, water. They lay eggs in storm drains, birdbaths, pet dishes, old tires, pales, and drums. The female house mosquito can lay up to 50 to 400 eggs all at once. These eggs usually take 10 to 14 days to hatch. It could take longer, depending on the environmental conditions. The house mosquito includes the Culex Pipiens and Culex restuans Theobald which are known to bring diseases and parasites to humans. But they are not as severe as malaria and dengue.
- Southern Mosquito or Culex Quinquefesciatus. From the name itself, it is common in tropic and subtropic regions. Its habits are the same as the common House Mosquito. But it is more dangerous to human health. The Southern Mosquito is known to bring encephalitis to human beings. Recent researches also proved that this species can bring the West Nile Virus to mankind.
The West Nile Virus can cause severe neurological disease to humans. Approximately 20% of the people who are infected with the West Nile Virus develop West Nile Fever. However, 80% of this population does not even show any symptoms of the West Nile Virus until it becomes worse. The symptoms of the West Nile Fever include body aches, nausea, tiredness, headache, fever, vomiting, and a skin rash.
When left untreated, the severe case of the West Nile Virus causes West Nile encephalitis, meningitis, and poliomyelitis. The symptoms include extremely high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and muscle weakness.
Unfortunately, no vaccine has been developed yet for this illness. Hospitals treat patients infected by the West Nile Virus using intravenous fluids, respiratory support, and prevention of other secondary infections.
- Asian Tiger Mosquito, also known as Aedes Albopictus. This mosquito is known for its bright white or silver stripes all over its abdomen, thorax, and legs. The female Asian Tiger Mosquito is a daytime feeder and a very aggressive biter. The mosquitoes on the family of Aedes have similar breeding habits. And just like the typical mosquito, they like to lay eggs on standing water such as flowerpots or birdbaths. However, they are not as strong in flying as the common house mosquito. The Asian Tiger Mosquitoes can only travel a half mile at most. Further away from that, they might collapse out of weary.
This type of mosquito has been studies to harbor more than 30 viruses. This includes the equine encephalitis, the Cache Valley Virus, Dengue, St. Louis Encephalitis Virus, and the LaCrosse encephalitis virus.
- Lastly, the Yellow Fever Mosquito (Aedes Aegypti), is the deadliest of all mosquitoes. During the Spanish-American War, the bite from the Yellow Fever Mosquito caused millions of casualties. Historians report that it was more than the casualty from the war itself. This species has the same lifestyle habit as the Asian Tiger Mosquito but it poses an even greater danger than the species mentioned above. It transmits the Chikungunya virus, the Dengue virus, the Yellow Fever virus, and the Zika virus.
Sugar as a Mosquito Repellant
If you don’t want to risk your family’s health, it is important to prevent these things from biting you. Be it the common house mosquito or the southern mosquito, you should never let any species get near your skin.
What if I tell you that there is a practical and inexpensive way you can prevent mosquitoes from biting you? Research has proven that sugar works to curb a mosquito’s appetite for blood. If they take enough sugar when they are hungry, they are no longer inclined to bite humans and animals for food. Hence, this breakthrough can reduce the onset of mosquito-borne viruses that can affect human health.
Researchers from the University of Milan in Italy primarily focused on the Asian Tiger Mosquito which originated in certain parts of Southeast Asia. This species is known to be very attracted to human blood. They are also known to transmit dengue, Chikungunya, the Yellow Fever and possibly, the Zika Virus.
The female Asian Tiger Mosquito need to suck blood from humans or animals to develop their eggs. But they also feed on plant nectars and saps for sugar. The researchers from Milan wanted to see if feeding them sugar can curb their vampiric urges to feed off of human beings. In turn, they formulated a solution of sugar to feed on young female mosquitoes. In the process, they caught 10 to 12 of the Asian Tiger Mosquito and put them in clear plastic cups. The researchers observed how likely the mosquitoes to fall for the bait. According to their remarks, the mosquitoes tried to bite the scientists during the experiment. Luckily, they are blocked by a screen to keep them from being violent.
Eventually, they had no choice but to feed on the sugar solution. After that, the researchers have proven that the females were no longer interested in human blood after eating the sugar-infused solution. According to one of the zoologists, the effect of the sugar lasted up to five to six days. After which, they resumed on their normal feeding habits.
The University of Washington conducted the same experiment with sugars and mosquitoes. The researchers, spearheaded by biologist Jeff Riffell, decided to take the study to a higher level. According to him, their experiment closes an important gap as to how sugar can curb the appetite of mosquitoes. The researchers sequenced the RNA of the Asian Tiger Mosquitoes which had been fed with sugar. They found that a number of their genetic expression had been changed. This is associated with bugs which are disinterested to the human blood. The gene, vitellogenin, also called Vg -2, plays a role in the ovary development of female mosquitoes, With the aid of sugar, more of this gene is expressed. Therefore, it would be easier for them to develop their eggs inside their womb.
For a very long time, we have thought to get rid of any plant that can attract mosquitoes to our home. Little did we know that these plants can help satiate their need for food. So, instead of feeding on us human beings, they feed on the nectars instead. Plus, they would be good pollinators. It is a win-win situation for all. Most of the studies conducted by experts show that mosquitoes love to feed on floral and extrafloral nectar and honeydew. Luckily, sugar and blood are interchangeable. These nectars are an excellent substitute for human blood.
Studies show that mosquitoes are attracted to lilies, water hyacinths, water lettuce, taro, and papyrus. With the help of these plants, you can help satiate a mosquito’s craving to human blood. With the findings stated above, maybe we could try lowering our blood sugar to be less attractive to mosquitoes. It hasn’t been backed by concrete data yet but who knows? Maybe it will work.
Call for Professional Help
There are instances when a mosquito infestation gets too severe, you can no longer solve it using traditional and DIY methods. In these cases, it is best to call for your local exterminator near Denver. Lake Norman Pest Control is the best pest control company all over North Carolina. For over 50 years, this company has provided nothing less but utmost competence, customer satisfaction, and safety.
With the help of the exterminators from Lake Norman Pest Control, you can have the mosquito-free environment you deserve. Experience high-quality methods and treatments for pest control. They are not only focused on eliminating the threat but preventing it as well. So, what are you waiting for? Call now!