The Buzz about Mosquitoes: How They Find You and Why They Bite You

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mosquito Mosquito (Copyright: claffra/Shutterstock)

Mosquitoes are one of the downsides of summer. They bite and buzz and they carry infections, including malaria, dengue fever, and, in this area, West Nile virus. On this week's Please Explain, Anandasankar Ray, associate professor, Department of Entomology and Center for Disease Vector Research at the University of California Riverside, and Phil Lounibos of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory at the University of Florida, Vero Beach tell us all about mosquitoes.


Phil Lounibos and Anandasankar Ray

Comments [14]

Allen from new jersey

How effective are machines that promise to protect an area, in particular the hand-up machine from Frontgate? While a promo for the segment said it would address those, it didn't.

Jun. 28 2014 01:25 PM
Jessi James from Linden, NJ

What is the relation between "love bugs" in Florida and Mosquitos? Is it true that the "love bug" was developed as a sort of pest control for the mosquito population in Florida?

Jun. 14 2014 01:42 AM
neil plotkin

I understand that there are a lot of very interesting technologies on the horizon (lasers, computers etc). Can you speak about the success of the higher end technologies available in the consumer market in reducing mosquitoes (in particular the asian tiger mosquitoes).

Jun. 13 2014 01:57 PM
Sam Tresler from Brooklyn

Apologies, but the caller is incorrect. DEET was developed by the military to combat malaria in the troops. It isn't a repellent. It scrambles the mosquitos sense of 'smell' rendering us effectively invisible to them. However, if a mosquito bumps up against you it will still feed.

It's given neurological properties are a growing concern in humans since that is *what it was designed to do*.

Jun. 13 2014 01:56 PM
allison from Chatham

The smell of someone's skin makes them more or less attractive to mosquitoes. But what exactly in the person's system makes the smell more or less attractive? Is it hormonal, blood type, metabolic?

Jun. 13 2014 01:55 PM
Nancy from Morristown, NJ

After some especially deep mosquito bites I've been left with permanent-seeming subcutaneous lumps. Is this common and is there any treatment?

Jun. 13 2014 01:47 PM
Elaine from Baltimore

Will eating garlic keep them away from biting us?

Jun. 13 2014 01:47 PM
Amy from Manhattan

It can be hard to find all the standing water to drain or poison. Once during a West Nile virus alert I saw 2 kids playing w/a basketball in a courtyard btwn. 2 attached bldgs. The ball landed on top of the covered hallway connecting them, & when 1 of the kids climbed up & brought it back down, it was wet. I told the super there was water up there & when he put out anti-mosquito dunks, some of them needed to be put there. The same goes for roofs. Can the guests suggest other locations most people might not think of where larvae could grow?

Jun. 13 2014 01:42 PM
Henry from Bklyn

Yellow fever used to be an annual event in NYC back in the early 1800's. In fact, Bay Ridge used to be known as Yellowhook, a name that was changed after a severe outbreak. What is yellow fever and does it still visit the US?

Jun. 13 2014 01:38 PM
Mike Satz from Freehold, NJ

What are the best defenses for mosquitos... plants? if so what kind?

Jun. 13 2014 01:38 PM
Patricia from South Orange

I just moved to an apartment that has a drain very close to the door. There are always mosquitoes flying around and when I open the door they get in. I tried buying peppermint and citronella plants and placing them by the door but it has not work. Can you tell me what can I do.

Jun. 13 2014 01:36 PM
Mark from Manhattan

We live at 39th and 2nd Ave in Manhattan on the 10th floor -- and there's no standing water anywhere outside our windows. And yet, we get mosquitos every night, once the weather gets warm, rain or none. How can this be? Where are they coming from? No one ever believes us that we get them ten floors up, but we do alright! If we don't slather ourselves in bug spray, we get bit all night. Are there any better ways to deter them? Our windows are of a design that's difficult to screen. Thanks!

Jun. 13 2014 01:32 PM
Joe from nearby




Jun. 13 2014 01:11 PM
Betty from Astoria

I live in Astoria and my landlord keeps buckets out to collect rain water. He wont listen to my pleas, so we have a thriving mosquito population. I've tried everything and nothing ever worked. Last year I read an article in the NY Times that suggested using a low-tech solution by placing a fan on my deck. Apparently mosquitoes are weak fliers and this deters them. I purchased a cheap oscillating fan and it seems to work.

Jun. 13 2014 01:04 PM

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