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Mosquito myths

Do mosquitoes transmit HIV? Do certain plants repel mosquitoes? Do mosquitoes really prefer pregnant women?

The answer is yes to only one of those questions…

Read the following mosquito myths to find out which one!

Mosquito myth #1: The Purple Martin bird eats thousands of mosquito populations and is therefore important in the mosquito control process.

FALSE – Purple Martins will eat mosquitoes but they are selective eaters and, if given the opportunity, will choose to eat a larger insect over the mosquito. Studies have shown that only 1% - 3% of the Purple Martin diet consists of mosquitoes.

Mosquito myth #2: To keep mosquitoes away from your home, attract bats to your backyard with a bat-roost box because they will eat the mosquitoes.

FALSE – Studies have shown that while bats eat a huge number of insects, mosquitoes are a small part of their diet.

Mosquito myth #3: You can repel mosquitoes with electric devices that emit high-frequency sounds.

FALSE – Scientific studies have yet to conclude that electronic mosquito repellents that emit high frequency sounds keep mosquitoes away or prevent them from biting. You may test this technique to see if it works for you, but beware of this fact before making any large purchases on electric devices.

Mosquito myth #4: Electrocuting devices eliminate mosquitoes around the house.

FALSE – While bug zappers kill a lot of insects, including mosquitoes, they will not eliminate the pests from your home. In fact, research has shown that in the amount of insects killed by electrocuting devices, only a small percentage was mosquitoes.

Mosquito myth #5: The citrosa plant and citronella oil repellents are effective in keeping mosquitoes away.

FALSE – While this may be the case, no studies are available to support the idea that the citrosa plant or any other plant actually repels mosquitoes strongly enough to improve human comfort.

Mosquito myth #6: HIV can be transmitted to humans through mosquitoes.

FALSE – The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS cannot survive in a mosquito and therefore cannot be transmitted from one person to another through mosquito bites.

So, the only truth among the myths mentioned above is that mosquitoes do prefer the blood of pregnant women to any other person. Why? Well, researchers in London presume that it is because pregnant women have a higher body temperature than others, increasing the release of substances in the skin that attract mosquitoes.

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