When you say you’ve been bitten by a mosquito, that’s not quite accurate. You’ve actually been bitten by a female mosquito. Only the females bite; the males feed on juices and nectar from flowers and fruit. The female feeds on plant juices too, but they also need blood in order to lay eggs.
The high pitched humming of a mosquito is not just an annoying warning to its two legged victims. At certain levels of pitch it is the female mosquito’s mating call which enables the males to easily locate the females, even in darkness. Each female mosquito may lay eggs as many as 4-5 times during her life span, but before each deposit, she needs a new supply of blood. The eggs hatch into larvae, worm-like organisms that develop in water. The larvae mature in about eight days, depending on the temperature and species. After this, they enter a dormant pupa stage and later emerge as adult mosquitoes. In their quest for blood, mosquitoes may bite birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, including people.
Some mosquitoes have actually become domesticated, living in and around human habitations exclusively. A day or so after emerging as an adult, the female mosquito flies off searching for a blood meal. She homes in on body warmth, odor, moisture and the carbon dioxide we exhale. When she bites, the female injects a bit of saliva that slows coagulation so blood flows freely. It’s your body’s reaction that causes the welt and itch later on. Mosquitoes also transmit heart worms, which can be fatal to dogs. York County has 43,000 acres of water, encompassing woodland pools and marshes coupled with many miles of drainage ditches that enable mosquito breeding. To protect the health and welfare of our citizens from potential mosquito borne diseases an Integrated Mosquito Management Program is utilized.
Under the proper conditions mosquito populations can increase greatly. When this occurs, we endeavor to treat standing water with a biological insecticide. If mosquito populations continue to rise, spray trucks are dispatched in the evening when weather permits. When a serious mosquito infestation is imminent, arrangements may be made for an aerial spray flight.
All applications are undertaken by licensed personnel using only EPA registered insecticides. We strive to use the least toxic pesticides available for their prevention.