Mosquitoes suck. It’s not just the buzzing and the biting that can annoy you and your pet; it’s the bloodsucking. By piercing the skin and drinking directly from a blood vessel, mosquitoes are serious about invading personal space. And they bring serious consequences that can compromise your dog’s health and happiness.
Get to know mosquitoes better and help keep your pet healthier.
Top 10 Mosquito Feeding Facts:
1. Mosquitoes transmit diseases.
The biggest danger posed by mosquito bites is not blood loss nor discomfort: it’s disease. When a female mosquito injects her saliva into her host and begins drinking blood, she may share organisms and illnesses picked up during a prior blood meal. For pets, the major concern is heartworms. In fact, the only way heartworms can infect your dog is through a mosquito carrier. Year-round prevention of heartworms can be vital to protecting your pet’s health.
2. Mosquitoes don’t die after they bite.
Unless you go after it yourself, a female mosquito will live to feed again and again. It is this repetitive feeding on different hosts at different times in her life that make mosquitoes perfect agents for spreading disease.
3. Mosquitoes thin their host’s blood with saliva.
Mosquitoes inject their own saliva into blood to make it easier to drink. It is this mosquito saliva that triggers an allergic reaction and may make you — and your pet — suffer from hives and itching.
4. It takes one to four minutes for a mosquito to get full.
During a blood meal, female mosquitoes will drink until almost uncomfortably full. And while she’ll discard other liquids to make extra room for the blood, she will still be so full that flight is difficult. This means her search for a place to lay her eggs may keep her close to your dog or you.
5. Dawn and dusk signal dinnertime.
Most mosquitoes prefer to rest during the heat of the day and look for blood meals during dawn or dusk. If your pet is an outdoor enthusiast during these times as well, their risk of mosquito bites — and subsequent disease transmission — increases. Keep your dog indoors during these more active feeding times if possible, and make prevention and protection part of your pet’s year-round wellness routine.
6. Mosquitoes play favorites.
Ever wonder why one person or pet seems to attract more mosquitoes than another? Female mosquitoes use chemical, visual and heat sensors to find their next meal. They are most attracted to the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) exhaled, movement, smell, skin bacteria present and body heat.
7. Only female mosquitoes bite.
That’s right; males are strict vegetarians, drinking just nectar to stay alive. So then why do female mosquitoes suck blood? Females need the proteins found in blood to produce their eggs. During the egg development cycle, females will search for a suitable blood meal host, and this can be your pet!
8. Female mosquitoes are ectoparasites.
Like fleas and ticks, mosquitoes are uninvited bloodsuckers, and are classified as ectoparasites that live outside of and feed on their hosts but do not directly kill them. Proper prevention practices can help protect your dog from these irritating pests.
9. Three out of the four mosquito life stages do not suck blood.
The mosquito life cycle has four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The first three live mostly in water and it is only when they mature into adults that mosquitoes drink blood. This is also the same stage that they sprout wings and search for new food sources.
10. Mosquitoes eat nectar and plant juices.
Like hummingbirds and butterflies, mosquitoes crave the sugary nectar of plants for energy.
Help take the bite out of mosquitoes
Bayer offers effective mosquito prevention and heartworm prevention options to help your dog live a better life. Find them at pet specialty stores and veterinarian offices.