Mosquitoes belong to the fly family, Diptera, and has four distinct life cycle stages, which include egg, larva, pupa and adult mosquito. Eggs are laid in “rafts” on the surface of bodies of water and water vegetation.
Some eggs are subjected to extremely harsh conditions for several months and only hatch when there is water, which clearly indicates that mosquitoes are around all year long, and not only during spring and summer as many believe. Under normal conditions most mosquito eggs hatch and become larvae (within a 48-hours).
There are in the region of 3 500 species of mosquito but only about 200 species collect blood from humans. Other species of mosquito drink blood from other animals and frogs.
South Africa’s Lowveld area is Malaria territory. The South African government is taking strides in making the area a low-risk Malaria region. The species of mosquito that carries the malaria parasite in this area are the Anopheles species.
South Africa has implemented a mosquito control programme aimed at using bacteria to control the numbers of mosquitoes, which forms crystals and is consumed by the larvae, in turn killing larvae. The bacteria are only successful for the elimination of larvae (not adult mosquitoes or eggs).
Mosquitoes form the major animal biomass in the Arctic region between Northern Canada and Russia where they lie dormant under the snow, erupting in massive swarms at the beginning of the warmer months. In the Arctic, mosquitoes have a great impact on the ecological system. Many scientists believed that half the bird population would vanish from the tundra if there were no mosquitoes.
Research has shown that the large herds of caribou migrate through the tundra facing the wind, selecting specific routes to rid themselves of mosquitoes; a swarm of mosquitoes can collect about 300ml of blood from each caribou a day. Because the caribou change their routes to avoid mosquitos, this impacts on the entire environment such as lichen growth, nutrient cycles, wolf movement and arctic ecology in general.
- The word “Malaria” is derived from the Italian which means “bad air” as it was at first believed that malaria was caused by the fumes of swamps in Rome. Romans were experiencing regular outbreaks in their city, hence the name
- Left untreated, Malaria is almost always fatal as the parasite is reproduced at an alarming speed in the bloodstream of the host
- Malaria kills a child every minute in Africa
- Malaria thrives in warm climates and can be found in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, having held the world hostage for thousands of years
- According to the Department of Health in SA the statistics for Malaria are quite alarming and is seen as being the most hazardous disease on earth
- There are over 100 different types of Plasmodium parasites which can affect many different species, with five types that infect the human body
Prevention is always better than cure. Fight the bite when travelling to a malaria area and take anti-malarial pills that your doctor will prescribe. Use mosquito patches, nets, repellents and wear long sleeves and long socks which are all excellent preventative measures, especially when travelling to the bush. Mosquitoes are all-year-round bugs, therefore, being safe than sorry is always a good idea.
There are numerous ways and means to keep mosquitoes at bay around the home – keep pools and ponds clean and ensure there are no pooled bodies of water lying dormant.
If all else fails and you find you are simply not able to control these pests, it is wise to call in expert mosquito pest control specialists to eradicate the problem and to keep them at bay.