Mosquitoes are scaly winged outdoor pests with six legs, two large compound eyes, and two ocelli. These little but dangerous, cold-blooded insects do not have teeth. Instead, they use their long pointed mouthparts known as proboscis to pierce through their victim’s skin, in order to locate the capillary tubes from which they draw blood. These tiny creatures have caused a lot of sicknesses even death. How much do you know about mosquitoes? Here are five Surprising things you didn’t know about mosquitoes.

1. The carbon dioxide we exhale attracts mosquitoes

Mosquitoes use your exhaled breath to track you down especially when you are asleep or exercising. They like carbon dioxide and are drawn towards people who exhale higher level of CO2. This is the main reason why they like pregnant women or those exercising. Also, these tiny creatures are attracted to our heads and mouth because of the carbon dioxide exhaled through the nose and mouth. They can sense this gas up to 100 feet away.

2. Mosquito’s spit is itchy

It is not the mosquito bite that is itchy rather it is the saliva. As the mosquito feeds on its victim, it leaves behind saliva which serves as an anticoagulant and makes feeding and easier for them.

This induces natural immune response which results in histamine production causing itching.

According to Dr. Jorge Prada, a medical System Infection Control Program, and advisor to the National Pest Management Association, almost everyone feels itchy after a mosquito bite. But this itchiness is worse for people who tend to develop more pronounced bumps or hives than those who don’t.

Dr. Prada also revealed that scratching the itchy bumps stirs up the saliva and thereby increases the body’s response to the histamine thereby making the itching worse.

3. Viruses which they transmit increase their bloodlust

Besides the female mosquitoes need for blood, the virus, which they transmit to human known as dengue virus, increases their lust for the red stuff.

This is because the virus has its own way of manipulating the insect’s gene thereby making them hungrier for blood. Also, this virus causes mosquitoes to become better hunters by activating their genes to increase its sense of smell.

4. Male mosquitoes don’t feed on blood

Male mosquitoes are passive and sensitive vegetarians. Unlike the female mosquitoes that bite animals and feed on blood, they flit about feeding on flower nectar and plant juices. The female mosquitoes are the bloodsuckers. They drink blood in order to get protein and energy for their eggs. However, there are other species of mosquitoes that feed only on reptiles, birds and other mammals excluding humans.

5. Some smells attract mosquitoes while others keep them at bay

The mosquitoes’ gene is set to attract them to certain smells. Smells coming from the skin, lactic acid, warmth, and carbon dioxide draw these bugs. This is one major reason why they are attracted to dirty socks. Nevertheless, some smell confuses them. Chocolate, minty, and fruity smell stun mosquitoes’ carbon dioxide sensor thereby making it difficult for them to find their next dinner.