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The Terrible and Interesting Mosquito

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Liz Waid and Colin Lowther look at the mosquito. This insect causes big problems around the world. But knowing about this insect can protect people from its dangerous bite.

Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Do you recognize this sound? It is the small high noise of the mosquito. Mosquitoes are small insects with wings. They bite people and take blood from their bodies. When mosquitoes bite people they leave behind a small raised red area on the skin. People with mosquito bites may feel like they need to keep rubbing or scratching their skin in this area. These little insects are a problem for people and animals in many parts of the world. Today’s Spotlight is on mosquitoes. These interesting insects are a big problem.

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Voice 2 

There are over 3,000 different kinds of mosquitoes. To some people, that is a very frightening fact! Many people know how dangerous mosquitoes can be. Some mosquitoes can carry diseases. They can give these diseases to people and animals. And some of these diseases cause death.

Voice 1 

But people can stop mosquitoes. Let’s look at the life of the mosquito. When a female mosquito is full grown, she mates with a male mosquito. Then she begins searching for a “host.” A host is a person or animal that she can land on. A mosquito can sense a host from up to 35 meters away.

Voice 2 

Most mosquitoes do not travel very far. They usually travel less than a kilometer during their whole life. But some mosquitoes can travel far. Some mosquitoes can travel 160 kilometers in some conditions.

Voice 1 

When the female mosquito finds a host, she bites him.  Mosquitoes have a special mouth. When a mosquito bites you, it actually puts part of its mouth under your skin. The mosquito also releases chemicals into your body. These chemicals make your blood flow faster into the mosquito. These chemicals are also responsible for the red bumps that many people experience after a mosquito bite.

A mosquito bite
A mosquito bite; Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay
Voice 2 

After a mosquito bites her host, she fills herself up with his blood. She is not eating this blood. Instead, she is storing it. This blood will be very important for her babies. They will use the protein in the blood.

Voice 1 

Only the female mosquito bites a host for her babies. For food, mosquitoes live on nectar, or sweet liquid that comes from plants. Male mosquitoes live for only a short time after they mate. But a female mosquito can have a few groups of babies without mating again.

Voice 2 

Mosquitoes grow through four separate periods of growth. These periods are called the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. This whole process takes about one to two weeks.

Voice 1 

When the female mosquito is ready, she lays her eggs. Different kinds of mosquitoes lay their eggs in different places. They can lay their eggs in a small container of water. Or they can lay their eggs in large wet fields. But all mosquitoes need to lay their eggs in some kind of water.

Voice 2 

Most eggs hatch in about two days. Then the baby mosquitoes are called larva. The larva lives in the water. During this stage, the larvae grow. They lose their skin four times. This is called “moulting.” After their fourth moult, a larva begins the pupal stage.

Water like this is a perfect place for mosquito eggs
Water like this is a perfect place for mosquito eggs; Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay
Voice 1 

During the pupal stage, young mosquitoes begin to move. They float on the surface of the water. A special skin surrounds the pupa. Inside this skin, the pupa is changing into an adult mosquito. This process takes about two days. When the mosquito is completely developed the skin splits open. And the mosquito is now an adult!

Voice 2 

The adult mosquito comes out from the water. It must rest on the water to dry. Each part of its body must become hard. After its wings have dried, the mosquito can fly. And a short time after that, the mosquito can mate. Then the females go in search of blood to make more little mosquitoes. And the process begins again!

Voice 1 

Mosquitoes live in many areas of the world. But mosquitoes live best in a warm climate. And since they have so much contact with blood, they can be very dangerous. Mosquitoes can carry terrible viruses like west Nile, yellow fever, and malaria to humans and animals. These viruses create disease in their human hosts that can kill them. But not all mosquitoes carry deadly diseases. In fact, many mosquitoes do not carry viruses at all. However, it is difficult to know which mosquitoes are dangerous and which ones are not.

Voice 2 

Many people try to avoid mosquitoes. But have you ever noticed that mosquitoes seem to bite some people more than others? In fact, scientists believe that about 20 percent of people are more likely to get mosquito bites than others. Scientists who study mosquitoes believe that mosquitoes are attracted to, or pulled in, because of particular chemicals that come off people’s bodies. Some people produce more of these chemicals than other people. Mosquitoes can also smell the chemicals in the air a person breathes out.

Voice 1 

There are ways to avoid mosquitoes — to stay healthy and for your own comfort. Here are some ways to avoid, stop, or kill mosquitoes near your home.

Voice 2 

First, do not let water sit for a long time. Mosquitoes need this still, stale water to lay their eggs. Experts say that this is the most important thing to do to avoid mosquitoes.

Voice 1 

Second, mosquitoes usually go out more in the early morning and early night. A person can avoid mosquitoes by not going out at these times.

Mosquitos coming out at sunset
Mosquitos coming out at sunset; Image by Kranich17 from Pixabay
Voice 2 

Third, in areas where mosquitoes are dangerous, use screens or nets over sleeping areas. These fabrics have many very small holes. The holes are big enough to let air through. But mosquitoes cannot fit through the holes. Also, nets that are treated with chemicals that kill insects are very helpful for stopping mosquitoes and malaria.

Voice 1 

Finally, when you can, wear clothes to cover most of your skin. Following these tips can help keep you free from mosquitoes.

Voice 2 

How do you avoid mosquitoes? Are they a problem where you live? Do they bite you? Tell us what about your experiences. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at contact@spotlightenglish.com. You can also find us on Facebook and YouTube.

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Liz Waid. The producer was James Totton. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.spotlightenglish.com. This program is called “The Terrible and Interesting Mosquito”.

Voice 2 

Visit our website to download our free official App for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

Question:

Are mosquitos a problem in your area? How do you avoid mosquitos?

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23 comments
  • I come from Vietnam. There are so many mosquitoes in coutryside areas, and less in cities.
    I hate mosqitoes and i usually use a net during sleep to stop them attacking us and spray insecticide to kill them.

    • I’m from Vietnam too. Actually, there are also many mosquitoes in cities. I live in a flat apartment so that it seems rare to see a mosquito. I think using an air-conditioner is one of many efficient ways to avoid the mosquito. I am not sure, but I think so.

      • I’m VN too, in my family have a lot of mosquitos but I can’t use insecticide because I want to protection my children . So I usually use mosquito racket electric to kill them .

  • In my zone our have numerous population of mosquitos We avoided them by use insecticide through that dangerous effect for obtain hight level from rest and comfortable . In fact , the present of some kind of insects relevant with disease that give us some worst feel because any one is want live in healthy status to enjoying in him life

  • The war on the mosquito, which began in Italy from an uncertain date, has intensified in recent years with a large deployment of forces and with all kinds of weapons, from conventional weapons to the most sophisticated chemical weapons. In my hometown last week I saw a truck advance, with a barrel on it, passing by spraying insecticide in the gardens and along the hedges. For a couple of years, the mayor of the city has been offering families free mosquito tablets to place in flower pots. This is the only war that I fully agree with, despite the fact that it does not include prisoners and the victims are only on one side, also because I believe I am one of the 20% that mosquitoes find particularly attractive. On May 18 of this year Franco Battiato died at the age of 76, a great Italian musician who, in a 2015 interview with a newspaper, had shown his strong spirituality together with his love for animals and had said to himself glad that modern science provides us with perfumed products that simply ward off mosquitoes without killing them.
    P.S. “God in his infinite wisdom created the fly, but he forgot to tell us why”.
    (Ogden Nash, 1902-71 American poet and humorist)

  • Yes, it are big problem, mosquitoes causes malaria all people and it dangerous for The environment. I avoid mosquito by kill it everyday if I watch him and I avoid the place dirty

  • I live in cold area so we don’t have a lot problem with mosquitoes but in spring with rain we notice some mosquitoes in the area

  • We don’t have a lot of mosquitos in my city. We use net on the windows and some chemicals for killing mosquitoes.

  • I live in Saudi Arabia, in the summer I have a problem when I go to parks mosquitos sometimes Bother me. I avoid mosquitos by washing my body three times a week and goes to clean places where mosquitos do not meet or crowded places.

  • I am from Vietnam too. There are many mosquitoes around us. And the mosquitoes are more dangerous and it is the problem in countryside area. So ,we need to wear clothes cover most our skin,use screens over sleeping areas to help keep you free from mosquitoes.

  • Someone can show me how to download to listen offline please? My cellphone doesn’t use 4G but I want to listen to anywhere or when I have free time. It’s helpful me to learn English. Thanks all!

  • in the area, I live there are a lot of mosquitoes and they are a big deal for us, especially for children. They are caused by many diseases like malaria or dengue fever. We usually use screens and nets to avoid mosquitoes at night when we sleep.

  • There are a lot of mosquitoes in our area, and we use insecticides for them. He loves the dark, and excessive black clothes gather on them, but pesticides mean this is the closest solution to killing them.

  • I’m from sudan ‘actually you can find mosquitoes every where here in sudan and we suffering alot from it .

Episode 5