Book Review: The Mosquito Book by Brett Ortler

by DerdriuMarriner

The Mosquito Book by Brett Ortler explains how to elude bites, dengue and yellow fever, encephalitis, malaria, and West Nile Virus from summertime's most unwelcome guest.

Mosquitoes bite in humid heat at dawn, dusk

The Mosquito Book: An Entertaining, Fact-filled Look at the Dreaded Pesky Bloodsuckers by Brett Ortler appears in 2014 as a worthy successor to the same author’s The Fireflies Book: Fun Facts About the Fireflies You Loved as a Kid. The two books belong on the list of field guides and nature-themed books released by Adventure Publications, Inc., of which the naturalist in question is editor. They complement each other in providing culturally enriching and educationally entertaining images and information about the night-time world’s insect extremes:
• the super-beloved lightning bugs; and
• the ultra-dreaded blood-meal bugs.
They deliver to readers charmingly practical images and information in regard to fireflies and defensively useful prescriptions and proscriptions in terms of mosquitoes.

*****

Website: http://www.brettortler.com/

*****

image: While gorging on blood meal from human host, female Anopheles stephensi expels droplet of blood to make room in abdomen for more ~ Jim Gathany, Public Domain, via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention @ http://phil.cdc.gov/phil/details.asp?pid=5814

*****

egg raft of a Culex species: partly broken, showing individual egg shapes

June 2007: near western city border of Munich, southeastern Germany; image via okkular of a binocular with a digital camera
June 2007: near western city border of Munich, southeastern Germany; image via okkular of a binocular with a digital camera

Mosquitoes consume blood-meal as females intent upon egg-making

 

Scientists enter 3,500+ worldwide mosquito species -- with 166 in the United States of America -- in the 480-member Anophelinae and 3,000-member Culicinae subfamilies within the Diptera true-fly insect order’s  Culicidae family. They find three genera medically significant as:

  • egg rafts by stagnant water-loving Culex or singles by floodwater-loving Aedes and freshwater-loving Anopheles for post-blood-meal hatching in appropriately humid heat within 30 hours to 3 days;
  • larvae, wriggling instars of four molts and predators of algae, phytoplankton, single-cell organisms for 7 – 10 days;
  • pupae; and
  • adults mating as buzzing females with dancing males, sipping fruit and nectar sugars, and taking amino acid-rich blood-meal (preferentially livestock and specially sheep).

All three genera go foraging at dawn and dusk. 

 

Staphylococcus epidermidis colonies: hardy microorganism numbers among normal human microflora, especially skin, and attracts mosquitoes.

Staphylococcus epidermidis onTryptic Soy Agar. Cultivation 24 hours, 37°C. (98.6°F.)
Staphylococcus epidermidis onTryptic Soy Agar. Cultivation 24 hours, 37°C. (98.6°F.)

Mosquitoes devour algae, phytoplankton, single-cells larvally, nectars maturely

 

Flying Syringes have morphological differences:

  • Aedes and Culex hover vertically and siphon-breathe from water surfaces;
  • AedesAnopheles, and Culex jacket respectively pointed, slanted, and blunted abdomens; and
  • Anopheles lie parallel to surfaces for abdominal tube-breathing.

They individualize terror:

  • Aedes’ Dengue and yellow fevers;
  • Anopheles’ malaria-transmitting Plasmodium parasites; and
  • Culex’s encephalitis, West Nile Virus.

Researchers judge as mosquito-attractants:

  • black, blue, green, grey, khaki, red, khaki, yellow;
  • beer, carbon dioxide, lactic acid, sweat odor plumes;
  • movement; and
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria.

They know as ineffective:

  • Avon;
  • Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis dunks, bamboo citronella torches, bananas, bats;
  • Listerine;
  • purple martins;
  • sonic/ultrasonic devices;
  • Vicks, vitamins;
  • wristbands; and
  • zappers.

Control looks to:

  • DEET;
  • IR3535;
  • lemon eucalyptus oil;
  • permethrin, picaridin, pyrethrum;
  • quinine; and
  • sweet wormwood.

 

Sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua): extracts such as leaf juice serve as natural mosquito repellents ~

Mosquitoes shy away from sweet wormwood; break off a leaf from the plant and rub on skin for immediate effectiveness.
Beaver, Raleigh County, soutthern West Virginia
Beaver, Raleigh County, soutthern West Virginia

Mosquitoes expect beer-drinking, dark-clothed, sweat-smelling dawn- and dusk-worshippers

 

So The Mosquito Book: An Entertaining, Fact-filled Look at the Dreaded Pesky Bloodsuckers provides readers culturally enriching, educationally entertaining insights into life cycles, natural histories, and practical controls, with:

  • Adventure Publications, Inc.;
  • Sandy Brogren, Metropolitan Mosquito Control District;
  • Janice Haney Carr, Roger Culos, Ben Knight-Gregson, Segrid McAllister, Joel Mills, Elizabeth Perez, Harry Weinburgh, photographers;
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Imagery Library;
  • Frank Hadley Collins and Woodbridge Foster, professors;
  • James Gathany, University of Notre Dame;
  • Jackie George and Beverly Sinclair, Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia;
  • Steven Glenn;
  • Malaria Journal;
  • Drs. Mae Melvin, Pratt;
  • National Institutes of Health PubMed database;
  • Brett Ortler, author;
  • PLOS ONE;
  • Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit; and
  • Lora Westberg, book and cover design. 

 

The Mosquito Book: An Entertaining, Fact-filled Look at the Dreaded Pesky Bloodsuckers by Brett Ortler ~ available via Amazon

Everyone's had a summer evening ruined by mosquitoes. This book can help prevent that from happening again!
mosquitoes

Acknowledgment: Mosquitoes flee from black pepper, chrysanthemum, DEET, eucalyptus

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

Native to northeastern Queensland in the Land Down Under, lemon eucalyptus trees (Corymbia citriodora), also known as lemon-scented gum, waft an aroma repugnant to mosquitoes:

an extract from the tree's leaves and twigs serves as an effective repellent and a natural alternative to chemical products such as DEET.
Botanic Garden Zoo (Also called Wagga Zoo) at the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens, southeastern New South Wales
Botanic Garden Zoo (Also called Wagga Zoo) at the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens, southeastern New South Wales

Sources Consulted: Mosquitoes give dengue/yellow fevers, encephalitis, malaria, WNV disease

 

Ortler, Brett. 2014. The Mosquito Book: An Entertaining, Fact-filled Look at the Dreaded Pesky Bloodsuckers. Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, Inc. 

 

DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), developed by U.S. Army in 1946, is an effective chemical repellent which blocks insects' olfactory receptors and also exudes an odor which mosquitoes dislike.

Health issues such as insomnia, mood swings, seizures, and skin irritations may be experienced via products with concentrations of DEET well in excess of 30%.
DEET products
DEET products
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 04/02/2015, DerdriuMarriner
 
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DerdriuMarriner on 07/02/2015

Mira, I hope that a Wizzley article will follow from whenever you visit the Danube Delta!

Mira on 07/01/2015

No, I don't know what they're using. The Danube Delta is a reservation of biosphere, so I imagine they're careful with what they're using. I do think though that people still carry mosquito sprays when they go. I haven't been there since I was a kid. I do plan to go in the near future though.

DerdriuMarriner on 07/01/2015

Mira, It's probably some form of cosmic justice that so many pests can be discouraged or eliminated by what they apparently perceive as unappealing colors and unpleasant scents! Do you know what has been used if the Danube Delta is having less or no mosquito problems?

Mira on 06/30/2015

So mosquitoes have favorite colors? Never thought about it. And it's too bad that the range is so big. So lemon eucalyptus oil works to repel mosquitoes. Good to know. We have the Danube Delta over here and mosquitoes there are (or used to be) a big problem.

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