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How to protect yourself: Are there more mosquitos than usual in Bonn this summer?

How to protect yourself : Are there more mosquitos than usual in Bonn this summer?

Mosquitoes develop especially quickly in warm weather. Is that why there are a lot of mosquitoes in Bonn at the moment? And are there types that can transmit diseases? We give answers to the most important questions.

Many people in Bonn have probably felt it in the last few weeks: The first mosquito bite of the season. The weather provided ideal conditions for the insects over the past few weeks. It was first hot and then it was wet. Mosquitoes develop faster when it's warm, says Björn Rulik, a mosquito expert at the Koenig Museum in Bonn. The development from egg to larva to adult mosquito takes around seven days, but warmth accelerates the process, he explains.

Are there more mosquitoes than usual right now in Bonn and the region?

"This is not measured exactly," says Rulik. From his observations, however, he does not see any increase in mosquitoes at the moment. Rather, he says, the last two summers have been very dry, which is why there were comparatively fewer mosquitoes back then. This year there has been more rainfall, which is favorable for mosquitoes. But so far there is no evidence of a mosquito plague.

Where do mosquitoes hatch?

Depending on the type, mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water or on areas that can be flooded by high water or rain. Flooding then favors the development of the insects. But the menace is especially common in one's own backyard, Rulik says. "A rain barrel or a bucket filled with water is already sufficient for the common mosquito," he explains. The mosquito lays its eggs on the surface of the water, and later new mosquitoes hatch from them. During a barbecue in the backyard, you are usually bitten by mosquitoes that have hatched nearby, says the expert. The insects usually do not have a particularly large radius of activity.

Tiger mosquito and bush mosquito: Can invasive species be found in Bonn?

Not only native mosquito species can be found in Bonn and the region, but also so-called invasive species. The Asian bush mosquito is already relatively widespread in the Bonn area, says Rulik. "We probably won't get rid of the bush mosquito either," the biologist believes. The species has already spread too far for that. The situation is different with the Asian tiger mosquito, which has so far only been found in individual regions of Germany. The species has not yet been discovered in the Bonn area.

Can the tiger mosquito and bush mosquito transmit diseases?

Even though they have only been found very sporadically in Germany so far, invasive species can theoretically transmit diseases such as dengue fever or even malaria. Especially the tiger mosquito is considered dangerous in this regard. If a mosquito bites a person who is ill, it carries the pathogen and can pass it on to a healthy person.

How can you protect yourself from mosquito bites?

Mosquitoes are drawn to three things: The body heat of humans, carbon dioxide emissions in the air they breathe, and from their own individual sweat odor. The myth that mosquitoes primarily bite people with "sweet blood" is false. The best way to protect yourself is to either apply mosquito repellent or wear long, airy clothing to keep mosquitoes away from your skin, says Rulik. Those who have a rain barrel or other area with standing water around the house should cover it with a screen, he recommends. Mosquito screens on windows can also help.

Why do mosquitoes bite in the first place?

Actually, mosquitoes feed primarily on nectar. Only the females suck our blood. They need it to be able to form eggs with the help of the protein it contains. As a rule, one bite is enough for a mosquito to draw the required amount of blood. If they are "disturbed" in the process, they usually bite again.

Are all mosquitoes the same?

In Germany, there are about 3,950 species of mosquitoes that are not the biting kind. But around 50 species of mosquitoes in Germany are biting mosquitoes, says Rulik. Even of these 50 species, however, by no means will all of them bite humans. "Some, for example, exclusively suck the blood of birds," the expert explains. And many species have not even been researched yet.

(Orig. text: Leandra Kubiak; Translation: ck)