Mosquitoes have been around for more than 30 million years. They have evolved into the ultimate blood-finding and eating machine. Mosquitoes have many sensors designed to track their prey, including:

  • Chemical – they can sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Warm-blooded creatures give off these gases as part of their normal breathing. The chemicals in sweat also attract mosquitoes – don’t sweat or breathe!
  • Visual – they see movement and contrasting colours  –  If it looks different than the forest and moves, it has blood – so don’t move!
  • Heat  – they detect heat – warm-blooded animals beware.

The females lay their eggs in water, and the larva and pupa stages live entirely in water.  The life cycle of a mosquito varies from one to several weeks depending upon the species.

The Nasty

Only female mosquitoes bite.  The female lands on your skin and penetrates with her proboscis. Her saliva has anticoagulants that reduce blood clotting at the bite site. She sucks your blood into her abdomen. If disturbed, she will fly away, otherwise, she will remain until she is full.


The proteins from the mosquito’s saliva evoke an immune response. The area swells and you itch. The itch remains until your immune cells break down the mosquito proteins.


Mosquitoes can carry diseases from bacteria, parasites or viruses.

Diseases include:

  • Malaria,
  • Yellow Fever,
  • Encephalitis,
  • Dengue Fever,
  • Zombism (never proven),
  • HIV cannot survive in a mosquito – therefore, it cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites.


Consider the following:

  • Mosquito Repellents should contain at least 7.5% DEET to be effective. No more than 15% is recommended for children,
  • Wear clothing that covers most of your body – tuck your pant legs into your socks and button up!
  • Do not camp near standing water,
  • Avoid perfumed soaps and shampoos – all self-respecting campologist don’t bath,
  • Wear light colours – if they see you, they will find you,
  • They are most active at sunrise and sunset,
  • Use bug shirts, hoods or pants.


Wash bites with mild soap and water. Try to avoid scratching the bite area. Some anti-itch medicines such as calamine lotion or cortisone creams may relieve the itching. Typically, you do not need to seek medical attention unless you have a severe allergic reaction

Mosquito Food  (video soon)

The BRAT boys are on another adventure, this time on the historical Bloodvein River in Manitoba. That night they slept beside a marsh…Ouch!



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