7
   

Why are mosquitoes so darn MEAN?

 
 
dlowan
 
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:45 pm
I am really allergic to mosquitoes, and they either especially like to bite me, or I notice bites that others don't because of the intensity of my reaction.

Anyway....I just killed the little smegger that has been biting me in my study this morning.

What I want to know is why she (and they) don't just bloody bite ONCE, take what they need, and bugger off? Why does one mosquito have to bite you again and again?

I have actually experimented with this to see if I could minimize bites...I have allowed a mosquito to have her way with me, and suck undisturbed. They STILL take a bite from one place, then fly on and have a go somewhere else.

Are they just plain mean, or does the blood dry up?

The confusing thing is that sometimes they DO just suck until their bellies are so full that they can barely fly and leave it at that.



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Type: Question • Score: 7 • Views: 2,402 • Replies: 39
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:47 pm
@dlowan,
They insert their saliva to thin the blood enough so that they can suck it. They will stay till disturbed or till the thinner runs out (and leaving them till then will reduce the irritation, as it's this that causes it).
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:49 pm
@dlowan,
Mosquitoes are Satan's drones. Mad I hold no love for their kind! Mad
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:51 pm
@tsarstepan,
Quote:
Mosquito-Borne Diseases
(partial list)

Arboviral Encephalitides
Mosquito-transmitted viral diseases causing brain inflammation/encephalitis. Includes information on the diseases and their mosquito vector species

Eastern equine encephalitis
Japanese encephalitis
La Crosse encephalitis
St. Louis encephalitis
West Nile virus
Western equine encephalitis
Dengue Fever

Malaria

Rift Valley Fever

Yellow Fever

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/list_mosquitoborne.htm
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:52 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I had almost just written about this on the camping thread, I went on a long canoe trip in the Boundary Waters with frequent portgages and I was tasked with carrying the canoe while others carried stuff. To keep the (heavy!) canoe balanced, I really needed both hands on it.

There were a LOT of mosquitos and I had to just watch them gorge on my forearms as I walked, since I couldn't swat at them.

They'd do the repeated biting thing and it itched like CRAZY when they finally had their fill. (I swore they looked me straight in the eye and gloated.)

I'm a bit allergic too though, when I was little I'd get giant swellings, like my whole eye swollen shut from a bite near it, but that level of reaction subsided with age/ exposure. I still get welts but not as bad. Anyway if I weren't allergic maybe it wouldn't itch as much.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:55 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Yes...I know that about their beastly vampiric saliva...maybe some of them have better quality thinners and these are the ones that bite again and again.

But why will leaving them reduce irritation? The bloody saliva is in there no matter how long they stay isn't it? And it will run out whether they remain in situ or not? Or are you saying if you leave them they suck it all up again?

Given how quickly blood moves I would suspect they couldn't suck it all up again.

dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:55 pm
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:

Mosquitoes are Satan's drones. Mad I hold no love for their kind! Mad


Well, yes. But you have to see it from their POV.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:56 pm
@dlowan,
In theory, the mosquito draws the blood thinner/anesthesia back out if given the chance/time to fill itself and suck the substance back.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:58 pm
@tsarstepan,
Yes, and with global warming it's interesting that the zone where you can expect nasty diseases from mozzies is creeping southward here in Oz.

We've always been pretty stoical about them here, but I note that big government warnings about minimizing their numbers are beginning to appear.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:58 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

tsarstepan wrote:

Mosquitoes are Satan's drones. Mad I hold no love for their kind! Mad


Well, yes. But you have to see it from their POV.

I'm human and American. Incapable of seeing things from others perspectives.


Oh... wait. That's probably not a good thing/braggable virtue. [sigh]
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:59 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Yes...I know that about their beastly vampiric saliva...maybe some of them have better quality thinners and these are the ones that bite again and again.


I am not sure, but I think sometimes they just drill for a better well. I've seen them do that over and over again when they can't get a good bite through clothes.

Quote:
But why will leaving them reduce irritation? The bloody saliva is in there no matter how long they stay isn't it? And it will run out whether they remain in situ or not? Or are you saying if you leave them they suck it all up again?


That is what I was told, and my experiments seemed to confirm. When they had their fill I did not get the swelling.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:01 pm
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:

In theory, the mosquito draws the blood thinner/anesthesia back out if given the chance/time to fill itself and suck the substance back.


Is there actual research on that? As I said to Robert, when you look how quickly blood moves through capillaries (which I assume they target because of the thin walls) I can't see that the saliva would remain in one spot long enough to be sucked back up those wee proboscii. It's not like they stick a broad gauge needle in there! They're there for ages if you let 'em be.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:03 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Aah...well, there we differ....I get massive swelling no matter what I do.

This is like what happened to me with bees before the sting that sent me into anaphylactic shock.

Surely THAT couldn't happen from a MOSQUITO?
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:03 pm
@dlowan,
Anecdotally it doesn't work on me. I've been bitten while asleep (and other occasions) and therefore no chance to swat at the bug. I get welts (of varying sizes) with every mosquito bite.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:05 pm
@sozobe,
It seems to me that it's the really teeny soft little ones that cause the most itch.

We have striped things as tough and leathery as cockroaches, it seems like, and they have BIG proboscii that really hurt when they go in....but the reaction doesn't seem to go by the size of the smeggers.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:06 pm
@dlowan,
I found this just now, which also talks extensively about their probing:

http://jeb.biologists.org/content/108/1/1.full.pdf
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:07 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Surely THAT couldn't happen from a MOSQUITO?


Yes it can:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15536430
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:10 pm
@Robert Gentel,
That seems to be saying the saliva mainly acts to help them find blood vessels?

I wonder how they severed the salivary glands without killing the damned mosquitoes?

That's both kind of cool and really cruel.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:12 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Oh GREAT.

If I die from anaphylactic shock from a mosquito bite, I only hope I can come back and haunt them.

That's taking their killing abilities that step too far.

And, may I say from experience, it's a nasty way to go. Or, in my case so far, nearly go.

0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:13 pm
@dlowan,
That study seemed (I only read a few pages of it) to be trying to establish if saliva is used for that. As far as I know the anticoagulant and anesthetic properties of the saliva are also important.
 

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