Ahhh, the golden hour. Dusk and dawn is the best time for fishing, but also the favorite time of day for millions of hungry mosquitos. Their annoying buzz, itchy bites and potential to carry disease make the little buggers a big problem. Here are eight morsels of mindbending minutiae about these bothersome bloodsuckers.
The Secret Life of Mosquitos
Three hundred mosquitos can hatch from a puddle the size of a bottle cap. The sensitive biters like temperatures above 80 degrees and high humidity. They don’t like direct sun, which quickly dehydrates them.
Several great kayak fishing destinations are named after this diminutive insect. The Mosquito Lagoon near Canaveral National Seashore is one of Florida’s premiere spots to reel in a 20-pound redfish. In Washington, Big Mosquito Lake, northwest of the town of Trout, is full of brook trout and tiger trout.
Mosquitos are among the deadliest animals on Earth. They carry encephalitis, yellow fever, West Nile, Zika and malaria, which the tiny murderers transmit to humans through their saliva. Alexander the Great died of malaria in 323 B.C. President George Washington survived a bout with malaria as a child.
The Mosquito Coast, a movie starring Harrison Ford and based on the bestselling book by Peter Theroux, follows an inventor who moves his family to Central America to build a utopia called Mosquitia. The real Mosquito Coast, named after the local Miskito Indians, is on the east coast of Nicaragua and Honduras.
DEET, the most effective chemical insect repellant, has been linked by some reports to cancer, illness and death. According to Consumer Reports magazine, there is little evidence to support these claims.
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Tightly woven, breathable fabrics with high sun-protection rating double as bug repellant. Mosquitos can’t bite through them. Other natural repellants include lemon, eucalyptus, thyme, lavender, cinnamon and citronella.
In 2003, a New York-based bossa nova group named after the omnipresent insect released its first CD, called Mosquitos. The group’s music has been featured on TV shows, including Nip/Tuck, The O.C., The Real World and Malcolm in the Middle.
A mosquito can drink three times its weight in blood, but don’t panic. It would take 1.2 million mosquito bites to drain all the blood from your body. Only female mosquitos bite. Male mosquitos are vegetarian; they feed on flower nectar.
A pesky mosquito zeroes in on its next meal. | Feature photo: Ravi Kant/Pexels