Trivia and Lore of Mosquitoes (part 1)

It is said that one way to kill a mosquito, if you catch it biting you on a convenient location such as the arm, is to tense your skin to trap its proboscis in your skin, then flex your muscle. This supposedly causes the mosquito to burst due to the pressure from your blood vessel. Amongst others, this semi-urban-legend has been confirmed by none other than Cecil Adams of the Straight Dope newspaper column. But as he concludes: "What's the point?"

Amongst some of the stranger mosquito bite treatments, some doctors also say that applying a liquid antacid like Mylanta is effective in relieving the itch and the swelling of a mosquito bite, because it reduces the acidity of the anticoagulant chemicals in the insect's saliva.

The Japanese believe that mosquitoes are reincarnations of the dead, particularly those who lived a life of sin. Their punishment is to be a worthless plague on humanity despised by all and eventually swatted.

Part of the reason mosquitoes are so hard to eradicate is that the mosquito's total lifespan is only twenty days on per-species average anyway, and some make their complete cycle in just four days. Their entire bodies are designed to do little else but eat, lay eggs, and die. Their eggs, however, can last a whole year before hatching.

There are estimated to be 2500 species of mosquitoes on planet Earth, with some 300 of them being known disease carriers. Statistically, 70 million people worldwide catch diseases from mosquito bites worldwide.

Studies of mosquito bite patterns have suggested that the people most likely to be bitten are overweight males with type 'O' blood. No one knows what to make of this.

The annoying buzz of a mosquito's wings is said by those who have perfect pitch to be between the musical keys of D and F.

The most effective method of malaria control in the third world is still the insecticide DDT. However, like viruses which become immune to antibiotics, mosquitoes in these countries are starting to show greater resistance to the insecticide. This has come to be cited by biologists as evidence of rapid evolution.

In a test of natural plants to see which one repels mosquitoes the best, it was discovered that clove oil is pretty effective. Too bad that it is also toxic to human skin! Oils from many other plants, including rosemary, thyme, eucalyptus, bergamont, bay, pennyroyal, cinnamon, cedar and geranium work a little - but only for up to one hour after application.