Mosquitoes are a common insect found throughout the world, known for their itchy bites and ability to transmit dangerous and evenly deadly diseases. These small, flying insects are part of the family Culicidae, which includes over 3,500 species.

Physical Characteristics of Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are typically small, ranging from 3-6mm in length. They have two wings and a long, thin proboscis used for feeding. The body of a mosquito is divided into three segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have six long legs used for standing, walking, and jumping.

Mosquito Life Cycle

Mosquitoes have a complex life cycle that includes four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of stagnant water, where they hatch into larvae within 1-3 days. The larvae feed on organic matter in the water and molt four times before transforming into pupae. After a few days, the pupae emerge as adult mosquitoes, ready to mate and begin the cycle again.

Diet of Mosquitoes

Both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar from flowers, but only females require blood meals to produce eggs. Female mosquitoes locate their hosts using a combination of visual, thermal, and chemical cues, including carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Once they find a host, they use their proboscis to pierce the skin and suck blood. Mosquitoes inject saliva into the host to prevent the blood from clotting, which is what causes the itchy red bump that most people associate with mosquito bites.

Mosquito Diseases

Mosquitoes are known for their ability to transmit diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus, West Nile virus, and yellow fever. When a mosquito feeds on an infected host, it can pick up the virus or parasite and transmit it to the next host it feeds on. This is why mosquitoes are often referred to as disease vectors.

Mosquito Control

There are several ways to control mosquito populations and reduce the risk of disease transmission. One common method is to eliminate standing water, where mosquitoes lay their eggs and larvae develop. This can include removing containers that hold water, such as old tires or buckets, and properly maintaining swimming pools and birdbaths. Mosquito nets can also be used to prevent bites while sleeping, and insect repellent can be applied to exposed skin. In addition, there are several methods of mosquito control that involve using chemicals to kill or repel mosquitoes. These can include insecticides sprayed from airplanes or trucks, larvicides applied to bodies of water, and mosquito traps that use attractants to lure and kill mosquitoes.

Mosquito Trap Field Testing

At the national conference of the American Mosquito Control Association, Snell Scientifics presented a new method for testing mosquito traps in the field. This method is both cost-effective and highly sensitive, making it capable of measuring small differences between trap models. The method involves testing hundreds of locations to identify a series of balanced points for trap placement, ensuring that four identical traps in four locations provide less than a 10% difference in trap counts. Unlike other companies that rely on rotation or large cages to account for the imbalance of their locations, Snell Scientific’s method is designed to provide accurate and reliable results.

Cage Testing of Mosquito Traps

In addition to field testing, Snell Scientifics has developed methods for substantiating acreage coverage claims of mosquito traps. This involves the use of large malaise traps at several sites. For quick comparisons of trap models, Snell Scientifics has large indoor cages that provide repeatable conditions to set a baseline for each trap model. The company uses a preset number of female mosquitoes for each test to eliminate the need for running repeat tests comparing to industry standard models. This approach sets baseline data for each trap model and helps compare small changes, providing a sensitive test that can be done year-round to provide comparisons and marketing data.

Mosquito & Flying Insect Product Testing

Snell Scientifics also has two matching release rooms that are specifically designed for flying insect testing with fly light traps, mosquito traps, attract-n-kill devices, lures, and other flying insect products. Additionally, the company has a 12’x20′ building designed as a wind tunnel to test devices that require airflow, such as the house fly z-9 tricosene, which doesn’t bloom to allow attraction without some airflow, or other pheromones. Overall, Snell Scientific’s method for flying insect testing is designed to provide cost-effective and reliable results, helping companies compare trap models, substantiate acreage coverage claims, and develop effective marketing strategies.