Mosquitoes have evolved various strategies to survive and thrive in urban areas despite the pollution and human activity. Some of the ways they have adapted include daytime biting, using artificial containers found in urban areas for egg laying, and a lowered requirement for bird host immune protection. Mosquito bites can cause serious diseases such as Dengue, Zika virus, West Nile, Chikungunya, and Yellow fever. Measures to control the mosquito population in urban areas include proper waste disposal, eliminating standing water, using protective clothing and mosquito repellents, and community education.
Mosquitoes are a familiar yet dangerous pest found in urban areas worldwide. These tiny insects can cause big problems, spreading deadly diseases like Dengue, West Nile, and Zika virus through their bite. But how do mosquitoes manage to thrive in crowded cities and polluted environments? Let’s take a closer look at the strategies mosquitoes have evolved to live in urban areas.
Urbanization and Mosquitoes
The rapid growth of human populations and increasing urbanization have significantly impacted the behavior, ecology, and genetics of many mosquito species. In a changing urban landscape, mosquitoes must adapt to new challenges and opportunities to survive and reproduce. Some of the strategies that mosquitoes evolved include:
1. Daytime Biting:
Most mosquitoes are known to avoid daylight and instead bite during the dawn and dusk. However, some urban-adapted mosquitoes have evolved to feed during the day to avoid the human’s awareness of mosquito activity. Daytime biting mosquitoes are often more active in polluted areas where bird populations are scarce.
2. Urban Laying:
Urban mosquito species have learned to use artificial containers like bottles, buckets, and cans, found in urban areas to lay their eggs. In contrast, their forefather’s not existed in an urban environment would use natural areas for egg laying. Research shows that mosquitoes avoid polluted water sources since it is difficult for larvae to survive in such an environment.
3. Lower Immunity Requirement:
Urbanization has helped mosquito species evolve with a probable minimal dependency on hosts such as birds. These types of mosquitoes become familiar with human blood and thus rely less on acquiring immune protection from birds. Thus humans are more likely to get viral diseases only from mosquitoes in urban areas, with no intermediation needed.
Q. Can mosquito repellents keep mosquitoes away?
A. Yes, there are several repellents for mosquito control commonly used in urban areas. They include sprays, creams, and lotions that work by creating a barrier between the human body and mosquitoes. Repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, and IR3535 are commonly found to be effective against mosquitoes.
Q. Can mosquito bites lead to serious diseases?
A. Yes, mosquitos are carriers of certain diseases like Dengue, Zika virus, West Nile, Chikungunya, and Yellow fever, and these diseases can be contracted through mosquito bites.
Q. What measures can be taken to control the mosquito population in urban areas?
A. Some measures that can lead to better mosquito control in urban areas include proper waste disposal, eliminating standing water and puddles, use of protective clothing, mosquito repellents, and community education around mosquito awareness, sanitation, and general cleanliness.
Mosquitoes, like other organisms, have evolved several adaptive mechanisms to survive in their urban environments. These mechanisms include changes in their feeding and laying strategies, as well as a lowered requirement for bird host immune protection. With better knowledge around the behavior, ecology, and genetics of urban mosquitoes, it is essential to take a simple approach to manage mosquito populations. By taking the necessary precautionary steps against mosquito breeding grounds from properly disposing wastes to treating rainwater in open containers, controlling mosquito populations have become easiest. Emphasis on community knowledge and awareness education can aid in protecting communities from dangerous diseases that mosquitos carry.