Why Mosquitoes BiteLet's set the record straight. It's the female mosquito that bites. The protein and iron in blood enable the insect to make eggs. To get to the blood, the mosquito inserts a proboscis that looks a lot like a hollow needle. Feeding, even under favorable circumstances, must last longer than six seconds for the human body to react.
Anatomy of a Mosquito BiteIn the process of acting as the vampire of the insect world, the mosquito injects saliva. This saliva prevents blood-clotting, which lets the insect feed at leisure. But there's more to the saliva than that. Because of the sudden influx of insect proteins, the human body responds with an immune reaction such as inflammation.
The result is a hard bump that itches like nothing you've experienced before. In other cases, the bump is reddish-brown or looks like a bruise. Either way, the itch is fairly common no matter what your particular bite site looks like.
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?The culprit is the saliva. As the immune system responds to the insect's saliva, the area around the bite swells up. The response increases blood flow to the bite, which is why you feel distinct heat around the swelling.
The severity of the reaction varies. Some people create more histamine, which is the product of the immune response. Others don't seem to be as bothered by the saliva, which leads to a reduced immune response.
What You Shouldn't Do with a Mosquito BiteYour first response is to scratch around the bump. That's because the inflammation is itchy. However, if you do so, you'll end up making matters worse. Most importantly, you might scratch the bump so much that it bleeds. In this case, it could become an infected mosquito bite. Remember mosquitos can be bug bites that blister when scratched too hard.
Natural Mosquito Bites TreatmentThe internet is filled to brimming with lore and suggestions on how to stop mosquito bites itching.
- Heat. If you heat the bumps, there is a good chance that you reduce the inflammation and get the swelling to go down quicker.
- Ice cubes. Others suggest the exact opposite. They encourage you to apply an ice cube to the itchy bumps for about 10 minutes to reduce the swelling. Because the ice numbs the area, it also takes the itch out of the equation.
- Honey. Some people swear by honey. They claim that the bee product acts as an antibacterial. Of course, honey also tends to attract mosquitoes, which also feed on sugar, as well as other insects. Therefore, use this home remedy with caution.