It's not guns, wars, accidents or long range missiles that we need to be afraid of. The deadliest killing machine on this planet is one we don't give enough attention to. It's that pesky little mosquito, and they are omnipresent on our planet.
Over the course of the last 200 millenia, 108 billion people have been inhabitants on Earth. Nearly half, approximately 52 billion have been wiped out by mosquitoes. Their impact has shaped civilization's attention to this insect, according to historian Timothy C. Winegard, whose new book, The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator, explores the far-reaching affects of this creature.
Since the dinosaur epoch, the incredibly volatile mosquito has been a carrier of malaria, yellow fever, Zika, West Nile Virus, Saint Louis encephalitis and Eastern equine encephalitis, as well as the newly detected Keystone virus and the Rift Valley fever. These diseases have extinguished human populations, with those in Africa bearing the blunt.
Compare to other insects . . .
The mosquito is basically a universal creature. We have approximately 110 trillion across the planet, and they've been around for almost 100 million years. So the mosquito is global, whereas other insects have maintained their specific ecological terrains as their habitats. Also, the mosquito transmits far more diseases than other insects.
Like any other animal, including humans, it’s Darwin's theory of natural selection and survival. The mosquito adapted to withstand global showers of DDT during the Second World War, making it invincible during wartime.
Female mosquitoes are major carriers of human disease and the most dangerous are those that preferentially bite humans. A domestic form of the mosquito Aedes aegypti has evolved to specialize in biting humans and is the main worldwide carrier of all the other diseases noted above.
Out of that 52 billion number of humans wiped out by mosquitoes, blood type is important and may be one of the main reasons more humans are not at risk. According to studies, they prefer blood type 0, over A or B.
Other Attracting Factors
For humans who'd like to decrease the risk of mosquito bites, there are preventative measures that can be taken. For starters, don't wear bight colors. Don't drink beer. Exercise less. When we exercise, we discharge greater amounts o carbon dioxide — which is essentially a magnet for mosquitoes.
Other factors include cleanliness. Cleaning our feet regularly eliminates bacteria. Feet bacteria is an aphrodisiac for those little buggers.
As far as repellents, cover yourself completely. If we miss one tiny spot, a mosquito will detect it.
The Good News
The good news is not all species of mosquitoes (there are over 2700 species) can become infected with and transmit all pathogens. Also while both female and male mosquitoes feed on the same plant nectar, only females blood feed on humans. These factors, along with variance in climate and population centers are complex, but in most communities that provide mosquito control, the majority of mosquito bites are not a public health risk.
Primary Source: Vox