Do Mosquitos Have Teeth? How Many? How Long Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
Mosquitos are one of the oldest insects in the world. They have been around for millions of years, and for that same amount of time, they have been considered one of the most bothersome pests to humans and animals alike. Mosquitos (scientific name: Culicidae) are a type of nematocerid fly. They can feed off fruit and plant nectar; however, most species have adapted, such that they have the ability to feed on human and animals, by piercing the skin and draining their host’s blood.
Mosquitos are considered a nuisance because they use their saliva to feed off humans and animals. Mosquito saliva prevents hemostasis, or blood clotting, which allows them to drain blood from their hosts with ease. However, their saliva also causes inflammation, which is why it is common that mosquito bites itch.
Mosquitoes are most attracted to people with type O blood; pregnant women; people with plenty of skin bacteria; heavy breathers; and people who emit lots of body heat. Mosquitoes can be deadly, as their bites can transmit major illnesses, such as Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Malaria, and Chikungunya.
How Long Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
As mentioned above, the itchiness one feels after a mosquito bite is actually caused by the mosquito’s saliva. Mosquito saliva is a type of hematophagous arthropod saliva. In general, hematophagous arthropod saliva prevents blood clots. They contain at least one each of the following substances: Anticlotting; antiplatelet; and vasodilatory.
Aside from preventing blood clots, mosquito saliva also causes inflammation. Inflammation, in general, is the human body’s immune response to anything that is foreign to it. Inflammation after a mosquito bite is the body’s reaction to the binding of IgG antibodies to IgE antibodies, resulting from the saliva entering one’s system. This is when the itching sets in. The itching and swelling that comes as a result of the bite usually last anywhere from a day to a week, depending mostly on how the host reacts to the saliva.
Some people have allergic reactions to mosquito bites, and it is likely that these people will end up with a more adverse reaction compared to those who aren’t allergic to mosquitoes.
Of course, there are ways of easing the itchiness and swelling caused by mosquito bites. The most common solution is to apply an anti-itch cream to the affected area. Doing so will lessen the irritation. For people who find the itch unbearable, or for people who have mosquito allergies, taking a low-dose antihistamine would also help. A home remedy would be to ice the affected area, so as to allow the swelling to go down faster, as well as the numb the area. This may work on pesky no-see-ums bites as well.
Do Mosquitoes Have Teeth?
When one hears the word ‘bite,’ one would automatically think ‘teeth.’ Mosquito bites, however, do not involve teeth. As a matter of fact, mosquitoes do not have any teeth. “So how do they pierce the skin of humans and animals,” one may ask. Anyone who has ever had blood work done should have a good idea of how mosquitoes bite. Mosquitoes are no different from syringes. Basically, mosquitoes use a body part called the proboscis to pierce the skin and extract blood. They extract blood the same way a Medical Technician would when extracting blood for tests. They syphon out the blood through their proboscis.
A mosquito’s proboscis has more than one use, of course. As mentioned above, mosquitoes use their saliva to prevent blood clots, so that they can drain out blood from their hosts with ease. Mosquitoes also use their proboscis to inject their saliva into the incision, prior to syphoning out the blood. This way, the can drain the blood from their hosts without trouble.
How Many Teeth Does a Mosquito Have?
As mentioned above, mosquitoes do not have teeth. They have a proboscis for injecting their saliva, and for sucking out the blood. However, the tubes of the proboscis itself cannot penetrate the skin on its own. Mosquitoes actually have cutting edges as well with their proboscis. These cut through the skin in order for proboscis tubes to penetrate.
Mosquitoes have four sets of cutting edges with their proboscis. Further to this, according to author, Isaac Asimov, mosquitoes actually have 47 cutting edges in total. These cutting edges are the mosquitoes’ equivalent to a set of teeth for humans.
As they are the part of the mosquito that cuts through the skin and causes the ‘bite,’ most consider these cutting edges are considered the mosquitoes’ teeth. However, like human teeth, these cutting edges are not used by the mosquito for chewing or with breaking down the structure of their food. This is not necessary since mosquitoes feed on blood, which already takes a liquid form, making the act of chewing unnecessary.
Do Mosquitoes Bite More Than Once?
Mosquitoes can bite a human more than once. However, this is dependent on the situation. Ideally, a mosquito would only feed on a human or animal. Once it gets its fill of blood, it leaves to digest its food. When this happens the mosquito does not come back and bite again; that is until they need to feed again.
If one notices that there only one mosquito in the area, and one gets bitten more than once, this simply means that the mosquito initially fed, but was disturbed or interrupted during its feeding and had to fly off before it was full. When this happens, mosquitos come back and feed off their hosts again until they are full.
Simply put, if one brushes of a mosquito that is in the middle of feeding (and doesn’t end up killing it), and it is likely that the mosquito hasn’t had its fill of blood yet, then it is likely that it will come back and feed some more, until it is full. These are what most people consider ‘repeat bites.’
So how can one prevent multiple bites? The simple answer would be to allow the mosquitoes to finish feeding, or to ensure that one kills the mosquitoes when one brushes them off. Neither of which prevent the mosquito from biting. However, as previously mentioned a good offence is the best defence when it comes to keeping mosquitos at bay. You can try a propane mosquito trap such as a Mosquito Magnet Executive to help eliminate a mosquito population, thus reducing the likelihood of a mosquito bite. However, with any trap or whichever eradication method you use trap placement is of utmost importance and a direct factor in your mosquito defense.
1-Benadryl Extra Strenght Itch Spray
Extra strength itch relief from the popularly known brand, Benadryl. Spray onto affected area for immediate relief from itching caused by insect bites, sunburn, scrapes, minor skin irritations, burns, and cuts. As a histamine blocker, it also treats and dries rashes caused by poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. You can also find Benadryl’s original strength itch stopping cream here.
2-Cortizone 10 Maximum Strength Ointment
Maximum strength water resistant formula, with itch relief for up to 10-hours, goes on smooth and contains aloe to help soothe itchy and irritated skin. Hydrocortisone gives you fast-acting relief from insect bites, contact dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, minor skin irritations, inflammation, and rashes from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.
3-Badger After-Bug Balm
This certified organic and 100% all-natural bug bit itch relief balm will help soothe and relieve itchy and irritated skin. The travel size twist-up stick is made of organic beeswax, vitamin E-rich sunflower oil, 10% organic Colloidal Oatmeal, and essential oils Seabuckthorn and Lavender is convenient to take with you wherever you go! Safe to be used by everyone in the family.
4-Emu Joy Bug Bite Stick
This on-the-go stick is quick, convenient, non-messy and serves not only as an itch relief but also as a first aid ointment. Reduce itch from poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac. Apply to bruises to help prevent swelling. Soothes sunburn, use as a first aid burn cream, apply to minor burns, and soothes chapped skin due to sun, wind and dry air.