How Do Mosquitoes Bite?

Mosquitoes being one of the most dangerous insects on the planet are carriers of various diseases like malaria, filaria, dengue, chikunguniya etc. Mosquito bites seem a very normal pierce, but their consequences can be fatal if ignored. Even though midget in size, the mosquitoes have mouthparts that they use for sucking blood and spreading fatal viruses.

The two needles like structures mandibles and maxillae are enclosed by the labium. So when the mosquitoes bite the maxillae pierce through the skin tissues and the sheath like labium slides back and the remaining mouthparts pass through its tip and into the tissue. The mosquito injects saliva, which contains anticoagulants, into the tissue to stop the blood from clotting.

Insects have a pair of mandibles that they use to consume their food. In mosquitoes, the mandibles pair is the largest and most robust mouthparts which it uses to eat suck blood.

Situated next to the mandibles is the maxilla which manipulates and crush the food. Maxilla consists of two parts – proximal and distal which are also used for touching and feeding purposes. Maxillae are said to be more portable than the mandibles. Maxillae in most insects function partly like mandibles in feeding, but they are more movable and less heavily sclerotized than mandibles, so they are more important in maneuvering liquids like blood rather than cutting or crushing food such as material that requires the mandibles to cut or crush.

Labium in mosquitoes is a quadrilateral structure that is formed by fused maxillae and is a major component of the mouth. Labium assists maxillae and mandibles in food consumption. Labium also helps the mosquitoes to adapt to various surroundings. The labium is also connected at the rear end of the structure called cibarium which consists of lobes.

The hypo pharynx is a bulbous structure located near the mandibles and maxillae and helps in swallowing the food. It divides the oral cavity into two parts -- cibarium or dorsal food pouch and ventral salivarium into which the salivary duct opens.

Proboscis is a long tube formed by the paired galeae of the maxillae. It helps the mosquito bite their target and can coil up completely, fitting under the insect head when not in use.

In female mosquitoes, all mouthparts are elongated and the labiums surround all other mouthparts like a sheath. When mosquitoes pierce through the skin, the labium remains outside the skin, folding away from the stylet.

Labellum is one of the most important organs in mosquitoes. It is a sponge-like structure and its surface us covered by minute food channels that are formed by locking together hypopharynx and epipharynx, that helps to smoothly flow the blood from the host to the mosquito.

Now the big question arises is that why and how mosquitoes bite? Mosquitoes are usually attracted by the smell of the carbon dioxide gas that humans exhale and thereafter, use their thermal sensory information to detect body heat and suck the blood. Female mosquitoes need proteins from our blood to produce eggs. They have smell detectors, known as olfactory receptors that help them indulge in blood sucking. Mosquitoes can even differentiate between different types of perspiration. Mosquito bites itch a lot as when we scratch the bite area, the skin gets inflamed and we get allergy, leading to an urge to itch more.

When the mosquitoes bite, they suck out blood from the body and in the process also inject some of their saliva. That saliva being a foreign substance trigger’s the body’s immune system which releases histamine that causes the urge to itch, inflammation and swelling at the affected area.

To avoid getting bitten by the irritating insects, there are various precautions we can undertake, and few of them are listed below:

  • Use Mosquito Repellents

    Mosquito repellent is one of the most effective ways to get rid of the pesky creatures. There are many mosquito lotions and mosquito creams like Odomos that are highly effective in keeping the mosquitoes away. New advanced Odomos uses a formula which masks the distinctive body odour that human skin emits making you virtually invisible to mosquitoes. Odomos offers 100% protection against mosquito bites. Also, the electronic repellents with ultraviolet rays help in eliminating them.

    Mosquito Repellents
  • Covering All Skin

    During the rainy season, when mosquito breeding is at peak, it is very important to take care. One of the best ways is to cover the skin as much as possible, especially in the evenings while going out.

  • Eliminating Standing Water

    Standing water is usually the place where the female mosquito lays eggs. Hence, it is very important to get rid of any collected water as it may be a breeding ground. Always keep the drains flowy and unclogged and the area around the house clean and neat.