If you've ever heard a high-pitched whine near your ear as you're drifting off to sleep only to discover a mosquito bite or two on your face or arms the next morning, you aren't alone. There are more than 2,700 species of mosquitoes around the world, and about 13 of those varieties call the United States home. Unlike bedbugs, mosquitoes can carry serious diseases like West Nile, encephalitis, malaria and yellow fever. To keep mosquito populations under control, many communities have programs in place to reduce the presence of stagnant water in ponds and ditches, an environment necessary for mosquitoes to reproduce.
Only female mosquitoes bite, and they can find victims a number of ways. They follow visual cues by detecting movement and distinguishing color shifts. If you're walking around and don't match the scenery, you may be a meal. They also detect carbon dioxide and lactic acid in respiration up to 100 feet away. If you're breathing, you may be a target. They can sense heat and sweat, too. The good news is that you can keep mosquitoes outdoors if you're diligent. The bad news is that if they get in, you'll probably be a bug buffet before morning.