Summer in Estonia will bring the inevitable mosquitoes

A mosquito administering its bite.
A mosquito administering its bite. Source: Pixabay

The arrival of summer means also the arrival of one of its less popular aspects in Estonia, namely mosquitoes, agricultural weekly Maaleht notes.

Mosquitoes tend to go for people who have not showered or washed recently, with those who have been drinking alcohol particularly attractive, while dark clothes are also a draw for the biting insects, Maaleht writes, citing a book, "Sääseraamat" ("Mosquito book"), by expert Urmas Tartes.

As mostly hairless and largely sedentary and slow moving, warm blooded middling-sized mammals, humans are an easy meal for mosquitoes, who initially lock on to exhaled CO2, switching to visuals once they near a body, and following body heat and odor in the final run-in.

Unfortunately, Maaleht reports, no highly effective means of repelling mosquitoes has not yet been discovered – even commercially available chemical repellents only work for a short period of time, and can also harm the environment and even the user, while electronic repellants are virtually useless, the article said (insect bite creams and gels are another matter-ed.).

The sheer availability of standing water, the sudden arrival of summer, and the dense foliage is part of the reason why Estonians, along with other Finno-Ugric peoples, Nordic peoples and also Native Americans have, according to Urmas Tartes, provided female mosquitoes with the blood they need to nourish their eggs, perhaps more than any other groups worldwide.

There are 34 identified species of mosquito, in Estonian, "Sääsk," found in Estonia (of around 3,600 worldwide), mostly active May to October and producing more than one brood through that period.

At the same time, unlike in warmer climes, mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria are very rare, while a myth that they can carry and transmit HIV to humans is just that, a myth.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Maaleht

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