Mosquitoes are two-winged insects belonging to the order Diptera. They are characterized by having long needle-shaped mouthparts comprising the proboscis. This is used for sucking blood in the female. Mosquitoes are widely distributed over the world. Beyond the nuisance factor, mosquitoes are public enemy because they are carriers, or vectors, for some of humanity’s most deadly illnesses. Mosquito-borne diseases cause millions of deaths worldwide every year. There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes, but the members of three stands for primary responsibility for the spread of human diseases.
- Anopheles mosquitoes are the only species known to cause malaria,
- Culex mosquitoes cause encephalitis and
- Aedes mosquitoes cause yellow fever and dengue.
Diet and Habitat:
Mosquitoes are best recognized for the behavior of the adult females which often feed on blood to help produce their eggs. Males and females also nourish on nectar from flowers. Their immature stages usually are located in standing, preferably stagnant, water. The larvae feed on variety of materials, depending on species. Some species of mosquitoes are predatory and will consume other mosquitoes and tiny aquatic organisms, while some consume organic debris. Adult mosquitoes prefer to be most active from dusk until dawn. They do not prefer to be active in the sunshine and they like to rest in cool, damp areas, normally areas thick with vegetation. They like warm, humid, weather and need to be somewhere near still water where they can lay eggs.
Control and Management of Mosquitoes:
Mosquitoes are a health threat and it is important to reduce mosquito populations around living and recreational areas.
Source Reduction/ Exclusion:
- The most effective step in mosquito control is reduction of breeding sources. Typical mosquito breeding sources include stagnant water, ponds, lakes, brackish swamps, ditches, salt marshes, old tires, tree pots, puddles, clogged gutters and buckets etc. Mosquitoes can breed in any standing water, but they are particularly drawn to standing water with lots of organic debris. Nasty water is an ideal place for their living. Eliminate and drain stagnant water at regular intervals to minimize the reproduction of mosquitoes.
- Keep grass and shrubs trimmed short; this will reduce places for flying (adult) mosquitoes to rest.
- Keep windows and door screens in good working order.
Mosquitoes pass through four stages; egg, larva, pupa and adult in their life cycle. Mosquito control involves elimination of all of these stages.
Detection of large numbers of immature mosquitoes in areas where source reduction or biological control is not feasible may require larvicide treatment to prevent the emergence of adult mosquitoes. Larviciding is the killing of larvae that can be accomplished through use of contact poisons, growth regulators, surface film (kerosene oil), stomach poisons (including bacterial agents), and biological agents such as fungi, nematodes, and fish.
Adulticiding is the killing of adult mosquitoes by using organophosphates, natural pyrethrin, pyrethroids, spraying residual insecticides, using foggers and misting compound systems.