Interesting Facts About Mosquitoes, Wasps and Other Summer Pests

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The classification of stinging and biting insects is a catchall grouping for solitary or social pests that sting or bite. Solitary species are those whose members live independently of each other, such as mosquitoes, carpenter bees, cicada killers, mud daubers and velvet ants. Social insects live together in colonies or nests consisting of workers, queens and periodically males. Common social species include bumble bees, hornets, paper wasps and yellowjackets.

Stinging and biting insects are most active during the summer and fall, during which time they pose an increased threat to our health. In fact, stinging insects alone send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. And, mosquitoes can transmit potentially fatal diseases like West Nile virus, dengue fever and malaria.

Learn more about the stinging and biting insects that are likely to frequent your backyard this summer with the following mosquito facts and facts about wasps and other summer pests.

Mosquitoes Only female mosquitoes bite humans, as they need blood to reproduce. They find hosts by detecting body heat and chemical signals, such as the carbon dioxide we exhale. Studies have found that mosquitoes are generally attracted to dark colors, women, beer drinkers and smelly feet.

Wasps Wasps feed on sweet liquids and are even known to get drunk off fermenting juice in the late summer. In the autumn, inseminated females will seek places to spend the winter, and may move inside the home, especially if there is a cathedral ceiling present.

European Hornets European hornets live in colonies that may contain between 200-400 members. They tend to appear in late summer and, unlikemost other stinging insects, are active at night. European hornets are attracted to light and will repeatedly bang into lighted windows when it's dark outside.

Other cockroach species like oriental cockroaches can survive quite well outdoors, where they are found under debris, leaves, stones and porches. Inside, they tend to hide in crawl spaces, basements and around utility pipes. Brownbanded cockroaches show a preference for drier locations and warmer areas over 80 degrees. They prefer higher locations than most cockroach species and are often found in upper cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms.