Everything You Wanted to Know About Mosquito Bites

Will there be a special place in hell for mosquitos? In moments of weakness, part of me hopes so.

There are few insects more annoying and few as potentially dangerous. At least in most parts of America.

If mosquitoes were merely irritating, we could probably put up with them. But their bites cause welts and itching for days. And worse yet, some transmit diseases that can make us sick. Some diseases can even be fatal.

There are ways to treat mosquito bites, and I’ll mention a few near the end. But prevention is the best medicine when it comes to these hated pests.   

What are they?

As all of us know, mosquitoes are small, flying insects. But not all of us know they have six legs and long mouthparts that feed on blood and nectar.

Did you know that only female mosquitoes feed off the blood of humans and animals? That’s because the females need the protein in their blood to develop their eggs. The males only need flower nectar.

Their bites result in usually small, raised bumps on the skin. If you’re allergic to mosquitoes, the bumps might get considerably larger. And you might experience hives, a swollen throat, faintness and wheezing.

The bump and itching will usually go away between three and seven days later. But it’s possible to experience more serious effects for a longer period of time.

Where are they?

The three types of mosquitoes – Aedes, Culex and Anopheles – can be found in most areas of the world. 

They often congregate in areas near water. That’s because they lay their eggs in shallow water.

Such as what you find in ponds, lakes and marches. But also in kids’ pools, birdbaths and even the inside of tires.

They can even be found in the lower areas of a lawn following rain. Whatever you can do to keep standing water off your property will probably cut down on their population.

How do they do it?

The mosquito’s long mouthpart I mentioned earlier looks like a tiny needle. A mosquito will land on your body and pierce your skin with that mouthpart.

She will then suck your blood, which isn’t the worst part. More significant is that she will secrete saliva into your bloodstream.

OK, but why does that produce itching? Because your body recognizes mosquito saliva as an allergen. Your immune system then goes to work. It sends a chemical called histamine to the area where the bite occurred to fight that allergen.

The histamine is what causes the itching and swelling. It’s pretty much a no-win situation.    

Why me and not them?

Have you ever been to an outdoor event where mosquitoes were bothering some people a lot more than others?

It’s not necessarily because some folks used a mosquito repellent and others didn’t. It might be because mosquitoes like certain blood types more than others.

We all have bacteria on our skin, and mosquitoes seem to be attracted to some types more than others. Body odor and skin temperature can also be factors.

One study found that people who’d recently consumed beer were more attractive to mosquitoes. They also seem to prefer pregnant women. Possibly because they have higher body temperatures and exhale more carbon dioxide.

Mosquitoes are also known for sniffing out lactic acid, ammonia and other compounds emitted in sweat. Exercise can increase the buildup of lactic acid. 

Why are these bites dangerous?

Most mosquito bites are not dangerous. Many of us have been bitten by mosquitoes numerous times through the years and not suffered anything beyond itching.

But mosquitoes are vectors. Meaning they carry diseases between animals and humans. When that’s the case, the disease enters your bloodstream.

The most common mosquito-borne disease in North America is the West Nile virus. The CDC says it’s “the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.”

We can blame the Culex mosquito for this one. Many people don’t get sick from it. But some people can have all sorts of problems with West Nile. 

Including headaches and fevers. Plus stiff necks and confusion.  It can also cause muscle weakness and even convulsions and coma.

Can I treat mosquito bites? 

For some people, their only form of “treatment” is to scratch their mosquito bites. But this usually makes them itch more and longer.

And if you break the skin, you can expose yourself to an additional infection. So wash the area with soap and water and cover it with a bandage. 

There are several better ways to treat a mosquito bite than by scratching. Ice will slow blood flow to the area, thereby reducing inflammation and swelling.

Applying aloe vera directly to the bite can relieve itching and discomfort. That’s due to the salicylic acid content of the plant’s leaves. You can also press a steeped chamomile tea bag to your bite.

Some people apply other items to their bites. Including honey, vinegar and even an oatmeal paste. Others like to use hydrocortisone cream or take an antihistamine.   

Can I avoid mosquito bites?

It’s better to avoid mosquito bites than it is to treat them. Using mosquito repellent is one of the ways. There are over-the-counter sprays and rub-ons containing DEET. If you want to avoid that chemical, make your own concoction. 

Apply it to exposed areas of skin. Mosquitos like thin-skinned areas because they can get to your blood easier. So focus on your feet, ankles, lower legs and wrists.

They are also attracted to dark colors. Wearing light-colored clothing when you’re outdoors could help. Long sleeves and pants can also be helpful for avoiding bites.

A thicker fabric with a looser fit is preferable to tight-fitting, thin fabrics.

And if you can avoid being outdoors around dawn and dusk, your blood won’t be available to them during their favorite parts of the day. When indoors, keep windows closed or make sure screens don’t have holes in them. 

SunBuzz Solar Mosquito Lantern 

My top recommendation for avoiding mosquito bites is the SunBuzz Solar Mosquito Lantern from 4Patriots.

You can take this compact and portable lantern anywhere you go. It charges for free in the sun and is rainproof and water-resistant. Without using pesticides or chemicals, it stops flying insects in their tracks.

This lantern has three different brightness settings and serves as a decorative light.  

When you purchase several of them, you can hang them on tree branches or string them up on a clothesline to zap bugs in different areas of your property or campsite.

Here’s how to get yours…


  • Brian Heinz - April 21, 2022

    Got one first night the wife was so glad no bites while sleeping. Thanks for a great product.

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