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mosquito-018-jpg-copy-smallMosquitoes are most famous for their annoying habit of stealthily biting unsuspecting passers-by and leaving them with an itchy bump. What many people don't know is that this bite is not done maliciously, but simply to meet a need for the female mosquito who is preparing to lay eggs. Only the female mosquito takes a blood meal and shortly after doing so will lay eggs in a pad on the surface of the water or wet ground. A few days later, the eggs hatch into the aquatic larval form, called wrigglers.

Many wrigglers become prey for other water-borne critters and especially the Gambusia or "mosquito fish." Those that survive to maturity then serve as a critical food source for a variety of birds, as well as several other species including bats, dragonflies, and spiders.

Local governments use insecticide to control mosquito populations for human health purposes. It is sprayed either aerially by small plane to target flying adults, or from land directly into freshwater bodies such as lakes and canals where larvae are found. Adaptive management strategies over the years have fine tuned application techniques so that they result in minimal non-target mortality.

The salt marsh mosquito, which lives in coastal areas, is densely found in and around the area of the Reserve. Because this species does not carry disease, its population is not controlled.

Things to remember when avoiding mosquitoes this summer: humans are not mosquitoes' first choice for blood donors; they prefer cattle, horses, and birds. Also, mosquitoes target their prey by using the cues of movement, body odors, temperature, and exhaled carbon monoxide. Many of these things just come standard to living as a human, but you can try to reduce the number of mosquito bites you get this summer by outfitting yourself in lighter-colored clothing. Mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colors that tend to trap and hold more heat than lighter colors do. So, try lightening up your summer wardrobe a bit and hopefully you have some relief from bites and the extra
heat!

Learn more about the various plant and animal species found within the Reserve

More info about Collier County Mosquito Control

Naples Daily News article about Collier County mosquito season

 

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