One of the best known summer pests, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water or soft soil. There are about 170 different kinds of mosquito species in North America alone.
Mosquitoes can breed in any form of stagnant water, including ponds, marshes, flood waters, woodland pools, drainage ditches, water in tree holes, leaves of plants and artificial containers. Mosquitoes regularly feed on nectar, although females require at least one blood meal before they can fertilize their eggs. They tend to bite most often at dusk and dawn.
Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases including West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and encephalitis. In recent years, West Nile virus has become a serious concern in the United States. Signs of West Nile virus include flu-like symptoms. In extreme cases, it can be a potentially life threatening condition with high fever, head and body aches, worsening weakness, confusion and even coma.
Mostly gray, with white, silver, green or iridescent blue scales
Segmented; Broad head, slim thorax, oblong abdomen
1/4 - 3/8 inch long
Found throughout the U.S.
A notorious biting insect, the American Dog Tick, or wood tick, is typically reddish-brown or orange-brown in color with gray/silver markings on their scutum (dorsal "shield"). The female will vary in size depending on whether or not it has blood fed. Unfed females are typically longer than males and distinguished by a short or small dorsal scutum right behind the mouthparts while the male scutum covers the majority of its dorsal surface.
Ticks climb grass and shrubs to wait for a passing host. Adult ticks feed primarily on the white-tailed deer during the winter. In the spring, the female drops off the host and deposits about 3,000 eggs. Nymphs feed on mice, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, dogs, humans and birds.
Wood ticks are a vector of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Lyme disease is of primary concern in the United States. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic bull's eye shaped skin rash. Lyme disease can also affect joints, the heart and the nervous system if left untreated.
Flat, broad oval
1/8 inch long
Found primarily in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, southeastern and north central regions of the U.S.