How far do mosquitoes travel? Can they cross an ocean?

How far do mosquitoes travel

There won’t be a single person on Earth that hasn’t encountered mosquitoes in their life. These tiny pests are a real nuisance. Not only do they suck our blood but while doing so pass on dangerous diseases to us. The buzzing sound they make can sometimes be irritating and ruin our mood completely. Mosquitoes tend to be a cause of concern when you are traveling, hiking, or camping. Getting rid of them is not an easy task. They even fly when it rains. This makes some people wonder how far do they travel? Well, there have been some studies on this topic, and there are some really exciting answers to the question.

What distance can the mosquitoes cover while flying?

Mosquitoes may appear small in size but they are great travelers. How far the mosquitoes can travel depend largely on their particular breed. There are some mosquitoes like the Asian Tiger mosquito that can cover a distance of just a few hundred feet. However, there are some breeds of mosquitoes that can cover distances up to 100 miles. But this shouldn’t worry you much as the normal mosquito that we encounter can cover a distance of just 1-3 miles from their original location.

As per the Mosquito Control Association in America, breeding areas of the mosquito play a major role in determining the amount of distance traveled by the mosquitoes. If a certain breed of mosquito, lays eggs in a small area, it is less likely to fly to distant areas. It will spend its life in the nearby areas where it was born. On the other hand, the migratory breeds of mosquitoes can cover larger distances as they search for new breeding areas and food. Also, due to their small size, they may get caught in the flowing winds and end up in even distant locations.

Does this mean you should be concerned? Yes, indeed! If you believe that you live far away from the breeding grounds and you won’t be encountering any mosquitoes, then you are wrong. It has been observed that mosquitoes can travel to the topmost floor of a building, even when it is located at the center of a town and away from its breeding areas. This raises another question. How far up can mosquitoes travel?

How far up can mosquitoes travel?

There is a common belief that mosquitoes can only travel a vertical distance of up to 20 feet from the ground. But it is completely false. These buzzing pests can travel 300 feet upwards when they are migrating. You will be shocked to know that people have been bit by mosquitoes at very high altitudes. They are even there to annoy you in the Himalayas.

But this doesn’t mean that all mosquitoes can fly this high. The majority of the mosquitoes fly close to the ground as they find nectar plants and blood hosts more easily at this level. Why would they waste their energy going high in the sky? It has been found that most mosquitoes usually fly up to 25 feet above the ground. They go higher than this only when they are migrating to avoid any obstacles in their way. As per the study conducted by The Collier Mosquito District in 2009, mosquitoes usually go as high as 100 feet above the ground. But the study also revealed that they went 300 feet above the ground at night. So even if you stay in a top floor apartment, you need to take some measures to keep away these pests.

How far can they travel from their birthplace?

This is another aspect that largely depends on the breed of the mosquito. The majority of the common mosquitoes travel only up to 1-3 miles from where they are born. However, while migrating to survive, they may travel up to 100 miles from their birthplace.  The birth environment must be ideal for the mosquito to survive in it. Most female mosquitoes lay their eggs in suitable locations where the young ones can easily survive. This means they won’t go beyond 300 feet from their birthplace. But some breeds constantly move from one place to another to lay their eggs and grow their population.

How strong is the sense of smell in mosquitoes?

Well, as it turns out these tiny little buggers have a very strong sense of smell when it comes to finding a delicious snack. They can smell CO2 from 10-50 meters away. This is how they locate us when we exhale CO2. Experimental research was conducted at Caltech University to analyze the distance from which a mosquito could smell a CO2 plume.

In the experiment, the researchers put an object on the base of a wind tunnel and measured the distance that the mosquito covered while traveling to the object by picking up the smell of CO2. They found that the maximum distance up to which a mosquito was able to smell the CO2 was 50 meters. Mosquitoes track their blood hosts based on their ability to smell CO2 released by the prey. As soon as they pick up the scent, they start moving towards its source and attack once they are in close range.

Is it possible for a mosquito to cross an ocean?

Is it possible for a mosquito to cross an ocean

Well, the answer to the question is yes. There are some migratory breeds of mosquitoes that even cross an ocean for their survival or to reproduce. As we have already discussed that mosquitoes cover very long distances, crossing an ocean is not an impossible task for them. They may even be assisted by strong winds in this travel.

Now you know why mosquitoes are considered to be some of the most dangerous pests in the world. So prepare to protect yourself and your family members from getting bit by a mosquito. No matter which floor you live on, these tiny buggers will find you and suck the blood out of you. Be sure to have either nets, repellants, or incenses to keep them away.