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BiteBack Professional from Brandenburg UK Limited - Mosquito, Midges, Sandflies and other biting insects control
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Knowledge Base


Why Mosquitoes Bite

Insects do not bite humans or mammals for fun – they bite because they need our blood to reproduce. Female mosquitos need to use the protein found in blood to lay eggs, without this protein they cannot reproduce – this reveals their motivation for biting.

Female mosquitoes bite using the proboscis – they do this by creating a vacuum in order to suck the blood from their prey. During this process a saliva type material is exchanged through the proboscis, entering the prey's blood – if the mosquito is a carrier of a disease then this disease will be passed to the person or animal. It only takes one bite to transmit a disease like West Nile Virus – although the disease is not transmitted on every insect bite.

The two main concerns of a newly born adult mosquito are to feed and then breed – and blood meals are needed every single time new eggs are laid.

HOW BITING INSECTS BITE
Biting insects have been in existence for millions of years – due to the fact that their survival depends upon biting humans and animals for blood meals they have developed exceptionally complex, sensitive and effective senses in order to survive:

Biting insects use two primary sensory receptors to locate their prey:

  • Sense of Smell – A long range (100feet/30metres) receptor
  • Sense of Sight/Heat – A short range receptor that detects thermal image patterns>

There have been many studies done as to the way these sensors work and the attractants that they respond best to. Brandenburg UK has proved time and time again that the combination that is most effective at attracting biting insects are CO2, Octenol & Heat/Thermal Imaging.

Biting-insects use these senses in a systematic manner:

  • They detect the CO2 that mammals breathe out. This causes them to change direction to target in on the source of the CO2. Once they are on the trail of the CO2, the insects then detect another substance that mammals produce – Octenol (naturally produced in the digestion process).
  • Once the CO2 and Octenol have brought the insect up-close, their short-range sensor begins to function. The insects see things in a thermal image form. Their aim is to locate the area of the mammal where the blood is near the surface – signified by different temperatures. The specific temperature that they look for depends on the type of biting insect in question - see mosquito versus midge section.

It is clear that the sensors of mosquitoes are highly developed – in order to prevent them from biting people and to control their population numbers only a truly cutting edge solution can be expected to work.

Learn how Dragonfly Professional specifically simulates the key attractants, to provide the ultimate in mosquito control - go to products page.


Mosquito Anatomy & Lifecycle


LIFE CYCLE AND BREEDING

Mosquitoes hatch from eggs and go through several stages in their life before becoming free flying biting insects.

The life cycle of a mosquito can vary from 7 days to 30 days depending upon the species (the adult, mated females of some species can survive the winter in cool, damp places until spring, when they will lay their eggs and die). Female mosquitoes produce around 300 offspring in one life-cycle – these offspring will in turn produce 300 offspring during their life-cycle, and so on. This multiplier effect means from just 2 generations (60 days), a single mosquito can produce 90,000 “family members”. If half of these are female (biting) mosquitoes, the size of the biting insect population will have increased by 45,000 – increasing your chances of being bitten greatly.

The importance of continually controlling populations becomes quickly apparent.

LIFE CYCLE STAGES
Egg:
Female Mosquitoes lay eggs in water, highlighting the need to eliminate standing water around your home or business (see general mosquito control advice). Females lay their eggs on the surface of the water, except for Aedes mosquitoes, which lay their eggs above water in protected areas that eventually flood. The eggs are usually laid in the form of a floating raft and most eggs can survive the winter and hatch in the spring.

Larva:
The second stage of the life cycle is larvae, which live near the surface of the water breathing through a siphon (air tube). Eggs hatch into larvae, which grow to about 0.5 to 0.75 inches (1 to 2 cm) long; as they grow, they shed their skin (moult) several times. Mosquito larvae can swim and dive down from the surface when disturbed. This stage of the life cycle lasts between a few days up to several weeks depending on the environmental conditions, especially water temperature and mosquito species.

Pupa:
After the Larvae moult for the fourth time they change into pupae. The pupae float at the surface and breathe through two small tubes. Although they do not eat, pupae are quite active and live in the water anywhere from one to four days depending on the water temperature and species.

Adult:
At the end of the pupae stage, the pupae encase themselves and transform into adult mosquitoes. Using air pressure the adult mosquito breaks the pupal case open and crawls to a protected area, resting while its external skeleton hardens, spreading its wings out to dry. Once this is complete, it can fly away and live on the land and bite humans and mammals.


MOSQUITO ANATOMY

All mosquitoes have the same structure as detailed below, but only the female mosquitoes have the proboscis for biting and thus transferring disease.


THE MULTIPLIER EFFECT

A female mosquito can lay up to 300 eggs every third day of a typical 30 day life span, meaning that a total of up to 3000 offspring can be produced from every female. This has vast consequences in terms of the speed of their population development. The killing of one female mosquito will therefore have large effects in reducing these future population sizes – imagine the effect of killing hundreds even thousands.


MOSQUITO HUNTING TECHNIQUE

Mosquitoes sense CO2, Octenol and lactic acid from up to 100 feet/30 meters away. These chemicals are given out by all mammals and birds. Mosquitoes then zero in on their target using heat sensors to find blood vessels under the skin. The Dragonfly Pro simulates these powerful attractants, turning nature on its head to your advantage.


Vector-Borne Deseases

FACT: More Worldwide deaths occur as a result of Mosquito bites than any other reason.

Mosquito bites usually result in a local swelling and itching as your immune system responds to the mosquito saliva. These bites can be extremely annoying and painful, however more importantly are several contagious diseases carried by some mosquito species.
The best information on this subject can be found on the Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases (CDC), however the following provides a summary:

MALARIA

Malaria is caused by a parasitic organism living in your blood stream that can be transmitted by an Anopheles mosquito. Malaria can be fatal but is treatable with vaccination. Symptoms: fever, chills, headaches, flu like symptoms, lethargy.

YELLOW FEVER

Transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, Yellow Fever has no cure and can be fatal; symptoms can be controlled with medication though. Symptoms: yellow fever gives similar symptoms to malaria but also causes nausea, vomiting and jaundice.

ENCEPHALITIS

Viral disease transmitted by Aedes and Culiseta mosquitoes. Encephalitis is very nasty but rarely fatal and can be controlled by vaccination. Symptoms: high fever, stiff neck, headache, confusion, and sleepiness.

DENGUEFEVER

Dengue fever is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes scutellans and is an extremely serious viral condition. It can be fatal to the young, old and frail and is responsible for a large number of infant deaths across the world each year. Symptoms: high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, and rash.

HIV and AIDS

Mosquito’s cannot carry the HIV virus, as it cannot survive inside a mosquito.

MEDICAL LINKS

Presented below are a number of links to popular information sources concerning further relevant medical information:

  • Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases - CENTRES FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
    The Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases serves as a national and international reference centre for vector-borne viral and bacterial diseases. As one of the few remaining centres responsible for these agents, it is incumbent on the division to maintain leadership and scientific competence in all major disciplines relating to the field of vector-borne infectious diseases.
  • CENTRES FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
    Described as the lead federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people at home and abroad, providing credible information to enhance health decisions, and promoting health through strong partnerships.
  • WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION
    Comprehensive disease and health information source; including in-depth coverage of those diseases vectored by mosquitoes and other biting insects.


Zoological Information - Mosquito, Midge, Sandfly

There are over 3500 species of mosquito’s known to science along with species of midge and sand flies. Mosquito’s, midge, sand flies and other biting insects have unique behavioural patterns. Within each broad category of biting-insects there are different sub-species (i.e. Aedes Mosquito), who in turn have varying behavioural patterns.

Due mainly to this factor the subject of mosquito control is very complex. In order to produce an effective control method, research has been undertaken into the behaviour of biting insect species.

The following tables relate the time of day and in which country the different species of mosquito are active, this information can be used to target specifically the species' activity patterns.

North America
Mosquito type Feeding cycle Disease carried

Anopheles

Mainly Night

Malaria

Psorophora

Day and Night

Encephalitis

Culex

Night

Filariasis

Aedes

Mainly Day

Arboviruses

Coquillettidia

Night

Filarisis

Central and South America
Mosquito type Feeding cycle Disease carried

Anopheles

Mainly Night

Malaria

Sabethes

Day

Yellow Fever

Mansonia

Mainly Night

Filariasis

Aedes

Mainly Day

Dengue Fever

Haemagogus

Day and Night

Yellow Fever

Europe
Mosquito type Feeding cycle Disease carried

Anopheles

Mainly Night

Malaria

Mansonia

Mainly Night

Filariasis

Culex

Night

Filariasis

Aedes

Mainly Day

Arboviruses

Coquillettidia

Night

Filarisis

Africa
Mosquito type Feeding cycle Disease carried

Anopheles

Mainly Night

Malaria

Mansonia

Mainly Night

Filariasis

Culex

Night

Filariasis

Aedes

Mainly Day

Dengue Fever

Coquillettidia

Night

Filarisis

Central Asia
Mosquito type Feeding cycle Disease carried

Anopheles

Mainly Night

Malaria

Mansonia

Mainly Night

Filariasis

Culex

Night

Filariasis

Aedes

Mainly Day

Dengue Fever

Coquillettidia

Night

Filarisis

East Asia
Mosquito type Feeding cycle Disease carried

Anopheles

Mainly Night

Malaria§

Mansonia

Mainly Night

Filariasis

Culex

Night

Filariasis

Aedes

Mainly Day

Dengue Fever

Coquillettidia

Night

Filarisis

Australasia
Mosquito type Feeding cycle Disease carried

Anopheles

Mainly Night

Malaria

Mansonia

Mainly Night

Filariasis

Culex

Night

Filariasis

Aedes

Mainly Day

Dengue Fever

Coquillettidia

Night

Filariis


Why Midges Bite and Other Information on Midges

The two main concerns for newly emerged female biting midge are to feed then breed – blood meals are needed in order for a female midge produce eggs which can be as many as two or three times in season, laying up to 200 hundred eggs a time.

HOW BITING INSECTS BITE

Biting insects have been in existence for millions of years – due to the fact that their survival depends upon biting humans and animals for blood meals they have developed exceptionally complex, sensitive and effective senses in order to survive

Biting insects use two primary sensory receptors to locate their prey:

  • Sense of Smell – A long range (100feet/30metres) receptor
  • Sense of Sight/Heat – A short range receptor that detects thermal image patterns

There have been many studies done as to the way these sensors work and the attractants that they respond best to. Brandenburg UK has proved time and time again that the combination that is most effective at attracting biting insects are CO2, Octenol & Heat/Thermal Imaging.

Biting-insects use these senses in a systematic manner:

  • They detect the CO2 that mammals breathe out. This causes them to change direction to target in on the source of the CO2. Once they are on the trail of the CO2, the insects then detect another substance that mammal’s produce – Octenol (naturally produced in the digestion process)
  • Once the CO2 and Octenol have brought the insect up-close, their short-range sensor begins to function. The insects see things in a thermal image form. Their aim is to locate the area of the mammal where the blood is near the surface – signified by different temperatures. The specific temperature that they look for depends on the type of biting insect in question - see mosquito V’s midge section

It is clear that the sensors of mosquitoes are highly developed – in order to prevent them from biting people and to control their population numbers only a truly cutting edge solution can be expected to work.

Learn how Dragonfly Professional specifically simulates the key attractants, to provide the ultimate in midge control

GENERAL MIDGE INFORMATION

  • Midges cannot survive cold weather and usually disappear from activity after the first frost of Autumn.
  • Midges cannot fly in high winds. In fact anything stronger than a 5mph wind should be enough to stop the midge from flying around and make them head for cover in shrubs, bushes and the ground.
  • Midges do not travel very far. In fact most newly emerged female midge stay in the vicinity of the hatching site in order to get their first meal. Post laying the first batch of eggs a female may travel further [approx. 1km] in order to find a ‘blood meal’.
  • There are over 1500 different midge species under the genus of Culicoides.
  • Biting Midges are commonly known as: ‘sand flies’, ‘no see-ums’, ‘no-nos’, ‘moose-flies’ and ‘biting knats’. The Scottish Highland midge has a Gaelic name ‘Meanbh-chuileag’ [tiny fly] which emphasises its diminutive wingspan of 1.4mm.
  • Only Female Midge Bite, male midge only provide mating services to the female, and then the female only need to mate once.
  • Peak biting times occur at Dusk and Dawn, although through out a season it is common to see biting occur virtually at all times of day.
  • Colour is a factor for midge. Research has shown black/dark objects are more likely to attract midge than those objects that are white or light coloured.
  • Midges are diseases carriers. There have been recent cases of Blue Tongue Virus being spread through sheep flocks in Europe.


Midge Anatomy and Life Cycle

Midge hatch from eggs and go through several stages in their life before becoming free flying insects.

The life cycle of a midge can vary between 20 to 30 days. Only Female midge produce eggs and they can lay between 30 and 200 midges each time and laying up to 3 batches in any one season. Each of a female midge offspring again can produce as many eggs which means in a short space of time the numbers of midge present can climb massively, but it also means that every one insect killed is massively reducing the future numbers of insect that could potentially bite you.

The importance of continually controlling populations becomes quickly apparent.

Life- Cycle Stages:

  • Egg: Female midge lay eggs in moist soil and must remain damp if they are to hatch out successfully between two and ten days later. Most eggs will survive wintering if laid in Autumn ready to hatch as soon as favourable weather conditions dictate.
  • Larva:
    After the midge eggs hatch the midge young spend a number of days [approximately 14days] in a larval stage, feeding off algae and other dead organic material found in damp soil.
  • Pupa:
    The final stage in a midges development is the pupal stage which can last between two and ten days. During this period the pupa does not feed but instead makes the final transformation into an adult midge.
  • Adult:
    At the end of the pupa stage the pupa hatches and the new born midge emerges. Having a lifespan of between twenty and thirty days the midge will quickly start the lifecycle again.
  • Breeding:
    Male midges hatch out prior to female midge, this ensures the males are fully developed and able to perform their role to fertilise the female midge the minute that they emerge. After mating female midge must acquire a ‘blood meal’ in order for their eggs to develop properly. And it is at this point in their lifecycle that the female midge start looking for their prey.
  • Feeding:
    Only female midge bite, a necessary act to enable their young to develop. They have highly tuned olfactory senses that enable them to locate their ‘blood meal’ prey accurately. The female midge will follow a plume of Carbon Dioxide [exhaled by mammals] to reach its host, in a similar way smell is also an attracting feature for a midge to bring it to its prey. As a midge becomes close to its prey it then uses thermal receptors to detect heat, heat that is provided by flowing blood. Once the midge has landed it will find a suitable spot to begin feeding. Female midge are ‘pool-feeders’, using their finely-toothed mouthparts to pierce the skin, working in a scissor-like fashion to create a pool of blood, from which the insect feeds. During this process a ‘saliva type material’ is injected into the hosts blood in order to prevent the blood clotting. In some people this can lead to irritation of the skin as the bodies anti-bodies rush to expel the alien fluid.

GENERAL MIDGE INFORMATION

  • Midges cannot survive cold weather and usually disappear from activity after the first frost of Autumn.
  • Midges cannot fly in high winds. In fact anything stronger than a 5mph wind should be enough to stop the midge from flying around and make them head for cover in shrubs, bushes and the ground.
  • Midges do not travel very far. In fact most newly emerged female midge stay in the vicinity of the hatching site in order to get their first meal. Post laying the first batch of eggs a female may travel further [approx. 1km] in order to find a ‘blood meal’.
  • There are over 1500 different midge species under the genus of Culicoides.
  • Biting Midges are commonly known as: ‘sand flies’, ‘no see-ums’, ‘no-nos’, ‘moose-flies’ and ‘biting knats’. The Scottish Highland midge has a Gaelic name ‘Meanbh-chuileag’ [tiny fly] which emphasises its diminutive wingspan of 1.4mm.
  • Only Female Midge Bite, male midge only provide mating services to the female, and then the female only need to mate once.
  • Peak biting times occur at Dusk and Dawn, although through out a season it is common to see biting occur virtually at all times of day.
  • Colour is a factor for midge. Research has shown black/dark objects are more likely to attract midge than those objects that are white or light coloured.
  • Midges are diseases carriers. There have been recent cases of Blue Tongue Virus being spread through sheep flocks in Europe.


Mosquito Versus Midge

The Mosquito and the Midge can cause comparable levels of annoyance, disease and destruction and they are attracted by broadly similar methods (CO2, Octenol and Heat); however there are a variety of small but massively important differences in methods of attraction and control that many companies fail to take account of.

Missing these specific slight differences can render mosquito control products ineffective. Dragonfly Professional however, is fully species adjustable whilst maintaining operational simplicity:

Through an unrivalled amount of research and testing biting-insects.com have produced various findings on the differences between the methods of controlling the two different species.

The general findings are:

  • Mosquitoes may prefer a different level of Octenol than Midges.
  • Midge and other biting insects (i.e. sand flies) are attracted to higher levels of heat/thermal imaging than mosquitoes. Mosquito will be repelled rather than attracted to levels that midges prefer – the specific levels are extremely important.
  • If you are a registered Brandenburg distributor and wish to gain access to more specific data on this subject please contact biting-insects for your ‘login’ password - log in.


Mosquito Control Tips - General Advice

Along with purchasing the ‘BiteBack Professional’ – the Ultimate Mosquito Control System – you can undertake various simple activities to reduce the amount of biting-insects breeding sites and therefore biting insects populations:

The central theme of the guidelines below is to reduce or remove stagnant/standing water anywhere in the immediate area of your building/facilities:

1. Dispose of any non-essential containers that could collect water – accumulated water provides ideal breeding conditions for biting insects. e.g. Cans, Old tires, Buckets, Plastic swimming pools, any other containers that collect and hold water.

2. Do not allow water to accumulate in essential containers for more than 2 days e.g. saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns or in pet dishes for more than 2 days.

3. Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures or on flat roofs. Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or eliminate puddles that remain for several days.

4. Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week and stock ornamental pools with top feeding predacious minnows. Known as mosquito fish, these minnows are about 1 - 1-1/2 inches in length and can be purchased.

5. Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs. Flush livestock water troughs twice a week.

6. Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarpaulins used to cover boats, pools, etc. Arrange the tarpaulin so as to drain the water.

7. Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading prevent drainage problems.

8. Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.

9. If ditches do not flow and contain stagnant water for one week or longer they can produce large numbers of mosquitoes. Report such conditions to a Mosquito Control or Public Health Office. Do not attempt to clear these ditches because they may be protected by wetland regulations.

Why Mosquitos Bite
Mosquito Anatomy and Life Cycle
Vector-Borne Diseases
Zoological Information - Type/Feeding Times/Diseases Carried
Life Cycle and Feeding Habits of Mosquitos (PDF download - Size 956k)
Why Midges Bite
Midge Anatomy and Life Cycle
Mosquito Versus Midge
Mosquito Control Tips - General Advice
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