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They're annoying, but we can't kill all mosquitoes

Wednesday, June 26th 2019, 1:43 pm - At best, mosquitoes are annoying. At worst, they're carriers of dangerous diseases, and they're quite efficient at making humans sick. But we've found important reasons why they should stick around.

Mosquitoes are the world's deadliest animal, infecting an estimated 700,000 people worldwide annually and resulting in about 1 million deaths.

DO WE NEED MOSQUITOES?

Many communities in the developed world try to minimize the health risks associated with mosquitoes by controlling their population. In Canada, the pesticide deltamethrin is used to control adult mosquito populations in several communities. The Government of Canada says it provides "94-100%" control and is recommended by the World Health Organization.

Mosquitoes also play a role in the ecosystem, by acting as a food source for fish, birds, amphibians, and other insects.

PIXABAY - mosquito File photo: Pixabay

MALE MOSQUITOES AREN'T SO BAD

While all mosquitoes have a bad reputation, only females suck blood and transmit disease.

Not every mosquito species sucks blood from humans. Male mosquitoes don't attack people or animals at all and survive off of nectar.

The Aedes impiger and Aedes nigripes species, both of which can be found in Canada, are important pollinators. They're even the primary pollinator of some plants, like the blunt-faced orchid and the monkeyface orchid.

MAKING MOSQUITOES FEEL UNWELCOME

Not a fan of bug bites? Here's how you can keep mosquitoes off your property:

  • Reduce standing water, which is a common breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Clean your eavestrough.
  • Replace the water in bird baths and pet water dishes at least two times a week.

If you plan on spending time outdoors:

  • Use insect repellent on your exposed skin and clothing.
  • Look for ingredients recommended by health officials.
  • Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks.
  • Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Sources: EB Medicine | U.S. Forest Service | Government of Canada

THIS IS WHY MOSQUITOES LOVE YOU

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