These two-winged insects overcome all living and warm from early spring to late autumn. And so it was, probably, long before the appearance of man. But then civilization came, and mosquitoes – few of the living creatures – benefited from it. Still: after all, next to a person, a warm, satisfying and full-blooded (in the literal sense) life continues all year round. And they don’t give a damn that we are not at all happy with uninvited neighbors.
And everything would be fine if the harm from mosquitoes was limited only to light bloodletting. But after all, these malicious creatures, flitting from animals to people, from sick to healthy, spread a bunch of diseases. The bite of a small mosquito somewhere in a tropical paradise in general can be fatal if, in return for a drop of blood, it gives you malarial plasmodium. But even in our northern latitudes, there are a lot of troubles from mosquitoes: from a strong allergic reaction to a bite to a variety of infections.
A mosquito in search of a “donor” is able to fly up to seven kilometers using heat radiation and the smell of a person or animals. Therefore, in the middle of a big city, you can find yourself bitten by a “contagious” mosquito quite far from a mouse dying somewhere in the fields. This is the main danger of mosquitoes, in comparison with which the psychological trauma from the persistence of the “gnat” is insignificant.
In general, the concept of “mosquitoes” unites a rather large family of several varieties: anopheles, aedes and culex. Anopheles is carried by Plasmodium malaria, so in the common people they are called malarial mosquitoes. These mosquitoes differ from their less dangerous relatives only by inconspicuous spots on the wings and a special landing: upside down at 45 degrees to the surface.
However, these same Anopheles in central Russia are only potentially dangerous, and do not cause much concern among specialists. The fact is that the climate of our northern country is not conducive to the emergence of tropical fevers – including malaria. But it’s in bulk. And in particular, while relaxing in some park on a summer day, you may well catch malaria if the mosquito that bit you just drank blood from some native of the south, located nearby.
Mosquitoes of the genus Aedes are not seen in any disease-causing actions, and they are active only for a short period in the spring – in April, May. It is due to them that the concentration of mosquitoes in the fragrant May air becomes simply unbearable. Soon, having exploited nightingale lovers, they lay their eggs and disappear until the next year.
To continue the genus, mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles and Aedes love clean, clear water. Therefore, they live near rivers and streams. Representatives of the genus Culex are quite content with small stagnant ponds with decaying water.
Therefore, it is the Culex that gives us the maximum inconvenience. They do not need to move away from human habitation in search of crystal clear running water. Containers in dachas, puddles, sewers and even sewer spills near human habitation are full of their descendants, who, not lingering at the stage of harmless childhood, are in a hurry to fly up and drink plenty of our blood.
The most fruitful period for bloodsuckers is peak hours: before dawn and at sunset. Then heat and smells are better felt, humidity is increased and cool. In addition to having available blood, mosquitoes absolutely need enough moisture to thrive: 80-90 percent. Heavy rain, wind and hot sun are equally unfavorable for them.
With the onset of autumn, it is still warm, but frosts are already occurring, even those mosquitoes that pestered wild animals rush to human habitation. The source of much-needed moisture in our public utilities are … accidents on water supply and sewer systems. And there is nothing dearer to a mosquito’s heart than flooded cellars. If they found such favorable conditions in your home, then year-round communication is guaranteed to you. They have no reason to leave you even in the spring; in the cellars there is constant moisture, it is dark, cool, and the temperature is fairly stable throughout the year. And through the ventilation system, through the elevator shafts and the garbage chute, they are provided with access to an unlimited number of “donors”.
The prosperity of basement mosquitoes (they, domesticated, even a separate species has bred) sometimes reaches such proportions that it becomes almost impossible for people without special equipment to penetrate basements. Freely getting into the apartment and sucking blood, mosquitoes are in no hurry to return to their basement. The climatic conditions in baths and toilets are quite acceptable for them, especially when pipes are leaking somewhere, non-drying containers are placed somewhere.
If such conditions are created, then even the measures of struggle will not have a lasting effect – a holy place is never empty. Therefore, for the success of punitive measures, it is absolutely necessary to eliminate these conditions in the basements – excessive moisture (pump out water, fill it with sand, sawdust, block windows, close doors). While there are few mosquitoes, it is easy to isolate yourself from them in a single apartment: it is enough to close the ventilation holes with gauze or thin nylon.
And yet, despite the obvious simplicity of the fight, every year there are more and more basement mosquitoes. High-rise buildings are especially susceptible to their invasion (the water pressure in the system is increased, there are more often breakthroughs.) So you and your many neighbors, mangy yard cats and basement rats become, as it were, one big company using a passing syringe. And what muck they can drag you – only God knows. And the immunity practically killed by city life is unlikely to be able to protect you from an unknown danger. So instead of struggling with the dire consequences in the form of fevers unknown to your local therapist and the most severe allergies to insolent midges, it is better to deal with the cause.
The fight against mosquitoes in apartments is carried out mainly by repellent odors – repellents. This is a fairly large group of chemical compounds used in the form of aerosols, crayons, smoking plates. True, individual active substances can also cause allergies (especially in children), but the range of repellents is very wide, and you can always choose a safe option.
There are substances that not only repel, but also kill mosquitoes. The action of the fumitox type is based on this. The smell of his plate, heated by electricity, repels insects that are at a considerable distance, and those that are close die. One of the absolutely safe ways for humans to protect themselves from mosquito bites is … the smell of lemon balm. Mosquitoes simply cannot stand lemon balm and will fly around you.
Galina KROVYAKOVA, infectious disease specialist