This morning I ate a mosquito.
I’m not sure if this is a bad or a good thing. Do I run a risk of developing malaria? Or should I just be happy that there is one less mosquito around?
They hang around outside by bedroom door, waiting to swoop when I leave for breakfast. Breathing in through your mouth is not a good thing to do at this time. They get sucked in.
Here are 10 interesting facts about mosquitos:
1.Only females bite
The females need blood to produce their eggs. Males are just happy to eat nectar, which the females also eat.
2. They are very short-sighted
So they can’t see you very well.
3. They sniff you out
Instead of looking for you, they sniff for the carbon dioxide that you breathe out. They can sniff out CO2 from a distance of 75 feet.
4. They are the deadliest animals in the world
Seriously. They kill millions of people each year, due to the diseases they can carry. These include malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever.
5. They pose a risk to YOU!
There isn’t yet a prevention for dengue fever, and malaria pills are also only partially effective. Try not to get bitten in the first place, by wearing long sleeves and trousers, using a protective spray containing DEET, and not hanging around pools, puddles and other areas of water – especially in the evening. At night, use a mosquito net.
6. They bite through your clothes
Yes, I’m sorry, but they do. I got bitten last week through a thick shirt, simply because I sat next to a fish pond for 10 minutes to update this blog. Having said that, a shirt will at least give you some protection, particularly if you are moving.
7. They sing in harmony
Males and females synchronise their wing beats when they meet, so that they whine in harmony. You know that whine? The one they make when they fly in your ear whilst you’re lying in bed.
8. Your body is a nightclub
Male mosquitos know that females want to bite you. So, what better place to hang out? Males can cluster around you waiting for a female to turn up. That way, one of them stands a good chance of mating with her. Similar behaviour can be seen in humans.
9. Mosquitos fly at 1 mile an hour
Or 1.5 miles an hour at top speed. Despite the fact that their wings beat between 300 and 600 times a second. That’s pretty slow. Even butterflies leave them standing.
10. They live for up to 6 months
Assuming you don’t wallop them, that is.
There were around 207 million cases of malaria in 2012, of whom 627,000 died.
Dengue fever is now an increasing risk. The World Health Organisation estimates that between 50 and 100 million people suffer from it each year, of whom around 25,000 die.
Current estimates indicate that around 30,000 people die from yellow fever each year, with about 200,000 reported cases of illness. Without treatment, about half of all cases result in death.