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How annoying they often are on a warm summer evening. You want to enjoy a glass of wine in the backyard, but the mosquitoes won’t leave you alone. Or how irritating it is when you want to sleep and a mosquito bothers you.
Mosquitoes come in all shapes and sizes. Fortunately, in the Netherlands we usually don’t have to worry about these insects transmitting nasty diseases yet.
To prevent mosquito nuisance, you can often take a number of measures yourself.
Species of mosquitoes
You might not have thought it, but about 3,500 species of mosquitoes are found all over the world. Piece by piece they are important for the ecosystem. In the Netherlands we know about 35 mosquito species. So what are the mosquitoes we encounter most often? You can read it below.
This is the mosquito we all know. It is this species of mosquito that bothers us the most. A characteristic of the mosquito is its long sucking snout. It is about half as long as the body. They are most common in summer and especially in wetlands. They are at least 6 mm long. At dusk, they become active. The female mosquito needs our blood as food for the eggs. This is mainly about the proteins. These are essential for the development of the eggs. The mosquito stings and then sucks blood. With its saliva, it then coagulates our blood. Our body reacts to this, often causing itching and a bump.
The feather fly or dancing mosquito can be found all over the world. They do not suck blood. The wings are larger than those of the mosquito. This species does not bother us as humans. While flying, they make all kinds of movements reminiscent of a dance. Hence the name.
Asian tiger mosquito
Only in recent years has this mosquito been found in southern and central Europe. Probably as a result of international transportation. This mosquito easily adapts to its environment. The Asian tiger mosquito is smaller than the common mosquito, about 5 mm. Characteristic is the contrasting stripe pattern in the colors black and white. This extends all the way to the mouth and legs. The mosquito spreads tropical diseases, such as yellow fever or dengue fever.
Long-legged mosquitoes have a long body and very long legs. The legs can even be compared to those of a spider. At 2.5 cm, these are the largest mosquitoes known. Although it looks like this mosquito is carrying some kind of needle, it does not sting. This is in fact the female’s ovipositor. She uses this to hide her eggs underground. Adult crane flies live only a few days.
These mosquitoes have a fluffy appearance. Therefore, they are less similar to the other mosquitoes. The moth mosquito is also called sewer mosquito because they are common in toilets, bathrooms and sewers. They grow only 1 to 5 mm in size.
The tickling mosquito is somewhat similar to the dancing mosquito and grows to be 1-5 mm in size. Thus, a fairly small mosquito. These mosquitoes are black, gray to even orange-red in color. They have short legs. With their sucking snout, they can sting and this sometimes causes annoying itching.
The habitat of a mosquito
Mosquitoes are found almost everywhere in the world. Only in the polar regions we will not find them yet. Due to global warming, they are found in ever larger areas.
The mosquito in the Netherlands
There are about 25 different mosquito species in the Netherlands. Because the average temperature is rising in recent years, we can expect other mosquito species. One example is the tiger mosquito. The species that we encounter most frequently in the Netherlands are the stinging mosquito, the long-legged mosquito, the dancing mosquito and the moth mosquito. Other species that are somewhat less well known are: tube mosquito, gloss mosquito, mourning mosquito and tickling mosquito.
Outward characteristics of a mosquito
Of course, there are many mosquito species and they certainly have differences among themselves. However, there are some characteristics that are typical of almost all mosquitoes.
The mosquito has a small head. Often the sucking snout is clearly visible. The mosquito has two antennae on the head with which it can smell very well.
The body of the mosquito is very thin and fragile. Its construction is almost always very elongated. At the bottom of the body are 6 thin legs. They possess only a pair of wings. The veins of the wings are often hairy. The abdomen is ringed.
Mosquitoes are particularly troublesome in summer. They are most common in wetlands. They spring into action on warm summer days as dusk begins. During the day they take time to rest. Often in and around buildings. Females require blood to lay eggs.
Development from egg to mosquito takes place in stagnant water. Microorganisms float in the water on which the larvae feed. Development from egg to mosquito takes about 1 to 2 weeks at summer temperatures.
What does a mosquito eat?
Mosquitoes live on plant juices, such as nectar from flowers. They also do like fruits and sugars from the fruit juices. Larvae feed on microorganisms from water.
Enemies of the mosquito
Bats are natural enemies of the mosquito. A single bat eats several thousand mosquitoes every night. The spider also likes to eat one or more mosquitoes. Finally, birds are enemies of mosquitoes.
Reproduction and longevity
The female mosquito lays eggs. Because this happens in water, mosquitoes always live in wetlands. This involves stagnant water. The mosquito lays as many as 100 eggs or more at a time. After 2 days, these often hatch. The larva that hatch from the eggs take a few days to 2 weeks at most to become an adult mosquito. The mosquito lives at most 2 months.
Nuisance & diseases
The sting of a mosquito causes a bump and itching. Some people are allergic to mosquito bumps. Tropical mosquitoes sometimes transmit serious diseases. In the Netherlands, these are generally not present (yet).
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