Anne Casselman in Seed Magazine:

Mosquito_1The female mosquito is a deadly blood-seeking machine, armed with finely attuned antennae and a proboscis serrated for easy entry. In some species, she’ll fly as far as 50 miles to find her blood meal, which she needs to lay her eggs. Her offspring later emerge to breed, feed and continue their life cycle—as well as those of the parasites and viruses that they transmit. One bite is all it takes to contract disease.

No wonder the battle against them has reached the level of high-tech devices and chemical warfare. Legions of scientists are hard at work to foil their blood-letting by figuring out how to best repel, trap or simply disable their ability to hunt us down.

Each year mosquitoes infect some 700 million people worldwide with disease. Malaria alone killed more than a million people in 2005. The first human case of West Nile virus (which is also spread by mosquitoes) hit New Mexico in 2004, and it’s since popped up in all 48 continental states.

More here.