20 Fun Facts About Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes – they’re one of those things you often wonder what purpose they serve except to be the bane of outdoor activities and keep you up at night, buzzing in your ear.

As it happens, just like all other living creatures, mosquitoes play an important role in the ecosystem. Mosquitoes are a huge source of food for other animals and insects. Their larvae are eaten by fish, and the adults are a food source for birds, bats, and frogs.

What’s more, some mosquito species are important pollinators!

Though that may not offer you any solace as you scratch your mosquito bites, we’ve put together 20 fun facts about mosquitoes you probably didn’t know.

Let’s dive in!

Fun Facts about Mosquitoes

Who doesn’t love mosquitoes? Ok, nobody loves mosquitoes. Some people want to make (some) species of mosquitoes go extinct using gene drives.

We’re not sure what to think about that, but we’ve put together 20 fun facts about mosquitoes to get you thinking about them!

1. Mosquitoes Are The World’s Deadliest Animal

You might think that something like a tiger, snake, or bear might be more dangerous, but surprisingly, the lowly mosquito is, in fact, the world’s deadliest animal in terms of the annual number of human deaths caused.

Although the mosquito itself is more annoying than harmful, the diseases that they are known to carry and spread kill an average of a million people globally every year.


West Nile virus, Malaria, and Dengue are among the most common mosquito-borne illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes reported in the United States.

Though a lot of these cases are from travelers who contracted the disease from mosquitoes in another country – this is especially true for malaria, Zika, and Dengue.

The Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Culex pipiens, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are among the most common transmitters of these diseases. The Anopheles is a malaria carrier, and the other three are known to spread various forms of encephalitis.

Zika is primarily spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

We’ve made a bar graph that shows the average number of human deaths per year attributed to different animals just to give you a visual as to how much more dangerous mosquitoes are as compared to other animals.

Average number people killed by mosquitoes and other animals per year

As you can see, mosquitoes are responsible for far more human deaths than any other creature on earth.

Snakes come in a very distant second.

Another interesting fact: of the creatures causing the most human deaths, only snakes (#2), crocodiles (#8) and hippopotamus (#10) feature in the Top 10. The rest are insects and dogs, none of which kill their victim by attacking or trying to eat them, but by spreading disease.

Turns out man’s best friend is also his third worst enemy… because of rabies.

2. There are Over 3000 Species of Mosquito

According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), there are over 3,000 different species of mosquitoes. There are only a few of these species that carry and transmit diseases to humans.

Mosquitoes can be found everywhere humans live, in every region and climate, except Antarctica.

3. Mosquitoes Have Been Around For Ages!

Mosquitoes have been around since the Jurassic period. That makes them about 210 million years old!

4. Mosquitoes Don’t Have Teeth

Despite calling it a mosquito ‘bite’, mosquitoes don’t really bite at all.

They use a long tube, or proboscis, to pierce the skin and draw blood.

5. Mosquito Bites Are Caused By ‘Skeeter Saliva

The mosquito’s proboscis has 2 tubes. While one draws blood, the other pumps saliva that contains a mild anesthetic to prevent the victim from feeling the bite, and an anticoagulant that thins the blood to keep it flowing while the mosquito sucks it up.

The bumps from mosquito bites are caused by a mild allergic reaction to the saliva, which causes the bite site to swell and itch.

6. Mosquitoes Drink Up To Three Times Their Weight In Blood

The female mosquito can draw 3 times her body weight in blood at one time. That’s the equivalent of a 125-pound human consuming a 12-gallon smoothie. Eventually, they do get full of blood, which they provide to their young.

But don’t worry – it would take approximately 1.2 million mosquitoes biting you at the same time to drain out all the blood from your body.

7. Only Female Mosquitoes Bite

Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes do not suck blood for food.

Male mosquitoes do not bite other creatures. And because the males don’t bite, they also don’t carry or transmit diseases.

All mosquitoes, both male and female, feed on plant juices, such as nectar, to get the sugar they need for the energy to survive. Female mosquitoes, however, require extra proteins and other essential nutrients they get from blood to produce and develop their eggs.

While both sexes feed on nectar, males are much more focused on this. Consequently, you can’t really use carnivorous plants like Venus Fly Traps and Pitcher Plants to get rid of mosquitoes. They’ll essentially only get the males, which doesn’t accomplish anything.

8. All Mosquito Species Need Water

In order to complete their life cycle, mosquitoes require water. The life cycle of the mosquito goes through 4 distinct phases: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

The first three stages need water.

Mosquito larvae can only survive in stagnant water.

Newly-hatched mosquitoes must rest on the surface for a few minutes to let their wings dry. Because of this, mosquitoes will not lay eggs in water that is constantly moving.

9. The Average Mosquito Lifespan Is Less Than Two Months

A female will lay a cluster of eggs just above the waterline of any container that holds water. The eggs stick to the container wall. They can survive drying out for up to 8 months.

Mosquito eggs can even survive through winter.

Larvae hatch from mosquito eggs when water (from rain or a sprinkler) covers the eggs. The larvae use a specialized body part called a “siphon” to breathe air at the water’s surface. The siphon uses the water’s natural surface tension to attach to.

Larvae feed on microorganisms in the water.

After molting three times, the larva becomes a pupa. Pupae do not feed during this stage. And it’s at this time that the body of the adult mosquito forms and emerges from the skin.

The entire life cycle from egg to adult is about 5-10 days. Once they become an adult, their main focus is breeding. After mating, a male mosquito usually lives only for three to five days, but a female mosquito can live as long as a month or two under ideal conditions.

Females within that time lay eggs every three weeks.

10. Female Mosquitoes Lay Up To 300 Eggs At A Time

Just one female mosquito can lay eggs up to three times before they die. That’s 900 eggs PER female.

11. Mosquitoes Can Hibernate

Mosquitoes are cold-blooded creatures, which means their body temperatures adjust according to their environment. That’s why there tend to be more mosquitoes around during the warmer times of the year.

Mosquitoes that live in temperate regions tend to do a lot of hibernating.

In colder areas that have full-on freezing temperatures and lots of snow, very few species of adult mosquitoes can survive a cold winter. However, the largest of Alaskan mosquitoes, Culiseta Alaskaensis or the snow mosquito, overwinters as an adult under the snow, usually in leaf litter, beneath loose tree bark, or in dead tree stumps.

There are also several species that can survive cold winters as eggs, and in the larval or pupal stages.

In fact, some mosquitoes will lay eggs in water as it starts to freeze.

The eggs get frozen. They hatch when temperatures rise and the water starts to thaw.

12. Mosquitoes Stay Close To Home

Mosquitoes typically will not travel more than a mile from their breeding ground in search of food.

And because they don’t tend to live very long, this is a bonus! If you can figure out how to reduce mosquito breeding around your home, you can make a serious dent in the population and reduce the number of mosquitoes in the area.

We have a few easy tips to do just that coming up, so keep reading!

13. The Wings of Mosquitoes Make the Buzzing Sound

Ever been kept awake by buzzing mosquitoes right near your ear? That buzzing sound comes from the beating of their wings.

A mosquito beats its wings 300 to 600 times per second!

14. Mosquitoes Are Weak Flyers

In comparison to other insects, such as flies and wasps, mosquitoes aren’t the strongest of fliers and are quite slow. It is estimated that these biting insects can only fly at speeds between 1 and 1.5 mph

This is why an outdoor fan can be a great mosquito deterrent. Even if the air isn’t moving very fast, mosquitoes have a hard time flying when a fan is on.

15. Mosquitoes Have Bad Eyesight

Mosquitoes have two spheres on both sides of their head which have hundreds of eyes. If seen closely, it looks like mesh. Due to these compound eyes, their vision becomes extremely contorted and they have to rely heavily on chemical and thermal receptors to find their way around.

16. Mosquitoes Are Attracted To Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide, which humans and other animals breathe out, is actually a dinner bell for mosquitoes. They might not be able to see very well, but their sensory organs can detect odors in the air more than make up for their poor vision.

A female mosquito can detect carbon dioxide in the air from up to 75 feet away.

She uses a special organ called a maxillary palp to follow the smell of CO₂ released from her next victim. She will fly back and forth through the scent trail of CO₂ until she locates her meal.

17. Mosquitoes Are Attracted To Heat

Remember those thermal receptors we were talking about? That’s how they hone in on their victims as well. The more heat you give off, the more likely you are to get bitten.

18. Mosquitoes Are Attracted To Dark Colors

If you are looking at reducing your chances of getting bitten, wear light colors. Apparently white and beige are the colors that least attract mosquitoes.

On the flipside, black and dark blue, along with orange and red are the colors that mosquitoes find the most appealing.

There is some data to suggest that zebra stripe patterns confuse mosquitoes, and may result in fewer bites. Time to break out the striped shirts!

19. Mosquitoes Are Repelled By Certain Scents

While you might think that mosquitoes would be deterred by scents that smell bad to us, mosquitoes are actually repelled by fragrances we often use to make our home smell nice.

Lavender oil, pine oil, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil, and lemon eucalyptus oil are known to and have been proven [1] [2] to repel mosquitoes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have approved eucalyptus oil as an effective ingredient in mosquito repellent! A mixture of 32 percent lemon eucalyptus oil provides more than 95 percent protection against mosquitoes for 3 hours.

Just a head’s up – burning citronella candles doesn’t repel mosquitoes. Not only are they actually somewhat toxic to inhale, (so you should never burn them indoors) they don’t actually work to drive mosquitoes away.

Eucalyptus is a much better choice.

20. 6 Most Effective Things You Can Do To Minimize Mosquitoes Around Your House

Because mosquitoes typically will not travel far from their breeding ground in search of food, doing a few things around your property can significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes around you.

  1. Get rid of any containers that are either holding water or could potentially fill up when it rains. Mosquitoes must lay their eggs near stagnant/standing water, so any item that you have, whether it be a bucket, an old tire, empty kid’s pools, unused fountains, bases of flowerpots, furniture, toys, basically anything that can accumulate water, a mosquito can lay eggs in. Don’t forget, mosquito eggs don’t have to be laid in water because they will hibernate until they get wet.
  2. Treat standing water. Sometimes it can be impossible to get rid of standing water. If you have a place on your property where water tends to collect, you can treat it with mosquito larvae killer, like Summit responsible solutions Mosquito Dunks.
  3. Stock your pond with fish. If you have a backyard pond, throw a few goldfish or minnows into your pond. They will eat the mosquito larvae.
  4. Chlorinate your pools and hot tubs. You can’t really get away with not chlorinating a big swimming pool without it turning green, but people often forget that smaller ‘splash pools’ and hot tubs should also be chlorinated. Not only does it keep the pool clean and free of bacteria, it will also prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in it when it’s not in use.
  5. Clean It Out. For anything that you don’t want to chlorinate, like small fountains, birdbaths, and kids wading pools, just change the water once or twice a week to dispose of mosquito larvae. Sweep surfaces with a brush to knock off eggs before refilling.
  6. Use Repellent. Though this might not keep them off your property, mosquito repellent will deter mosquitoes that are there from biting you.

Now it’s no secret that DEET is the most effective at repelling mosquitoes. We find Cutter Backwoods Dry Insect Repellent to be one of the most effective repellents on the market that contains DEET. Loads of Amazon reviewers agree with us.

DEET is strong stuff.

And no, you shouldn’t drink it or apply it anywhere near food (or before you eat). But applying it topically to your skin shouldn’t pose any significant risks. It has been deemed non-toxic by the USEPA for topical use.

But the reality is that many of us are afraid of mosquito poisons. Companies told people DDT was safe in the 40s, but it definitely wasn’t. So it’s not unreasonable to be concerned.

Claims that DEET will cause everything from seizures to cancer (usually perpetuated by brands selling an “All-natural” version) are unsubstantiated. But the repellent industry has had to adjust its marketing and product mix to a concerned public.

Picardin is an answer.

Picardin is a synthetic compound derived from the natural compound piperine, found in the group of plants used to produce black pepper. It has been found to be very effective at repelling mosquitoes.

Picardin is not a new development. It’s been around for a while and has been used in insect repellent in Europe for years.

It’s just relatively new on the scene in this hemisphere.

So if all those memes on Facebook have you looking for DEET-free alternatives, Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent also comes very well endorsed with over 27,000 5-star reviews as being very effective.


We’re sure these fun facts about mosquitoes haven’t made you fall in love with them. But the more you know about something, the more you can, if not like or even tolerate, at least appreciate and respect that it does indeed have a place in our ecosystem.