The adult mosquito has a proboscis similar to a fly except that it has a needle-sharp end which is used for piercing the skin of a person or other animal to suck blood.
When mosquitoes pierce the skin to suck blood, this can result in the transmission of many serious diseases among humans and other animals. However, most mosquitoes do not carry disease-causing germs, but only annoy people with the itchy 'bites' they cause. If people scratch their mosquito bites this can break the skin and lead to secondary infections
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 lay fertile 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 flulike symptoms. In extreme cases, it can be a potentially life threatening infection with high fever, head and body aches, worsening weakness, confusion and even coma.