Mosquito bites
August 19, 2004 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Mosquitos. Why does it seem that the bites itch more when I interrupt the mosquito (usually fatally) mid-bite? Is it just psychological -- I know the bite is there and so it just seems to itch more? Or is something physiological going on?
posted by occhiblu to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
Top of my head, I've always understood that if you leave the mosquito to finish her business, she'll usually suck up most of the venom she injected. But if you interrupt her, she'll doesn't get the chance.
posted by coelecanth at 10:53 AM on August 19, 2004

I don't think it's venom that itches. I think it's the equivalent of saliva. Same answer though, pretty much. If you squash the mosquito and its mouthparts while they're half in your flesh, you're going to spread around a bunch more mosquito-matter.

That's a guess, though, since I haven't actually noticed the same thing myself.
posted by scarabic at 10:56 AM on August 19, 2004

Yeah, I can't remember ever consciously waiting for the little buggers to finish their business before smushing them.It's the principle of the thing.
posted by coelecanth at 11:07 AM on August 19, 2004

Brush, then squash
ewww! "If you lightly pinch your skin on either side, the pressure will trap her stinger inside and even when her sensors tell her to stop, she’ll continue to take in blood until she literally explodes."
posted by milovoo at 11:07 AM on August 19, 2004

I was under the impression that killing a mosquito whilst it is still sucking means it won't have time to take its pointed mouth out of your skin. Killing it just drives the poniard in and creates an irritation. I'm just talking out of my ass though. The other explanations make just as much sense.
posted by sciurus at 11:08 AM on August 19, 2004

Response by poster: I don't know, milovoo, it's sounding awfully tempting... There's some poetic justice there, I think.
posted by occhiblu at 11:14 AM on August 19, 2004

This'll sound ridiculous, but bugs stopped biting me when I stopped eating meat and squishing bugs. They bite the people I'm with though. Now that's poetic justice. ;)
posted by dobbs at 11:29 AM on August 19, 2004

(usually fatally)

Finish him!
posted by adampsyche at 11:40 AM on August 19, 2004

I don't know, milovoo, it's sounding awfully tempting... There's some poetic justice there, I think.

I can't help but picturing the little bug equivalent of Mr. Creosote "more blood m'me - it's water theen"
posted by milovoo at 11:49 AM on August 19, 2004

In one ingenious experiment a scientist severed the salivary ducts which lead in from the thorax to the base of the proboscis. These mosquitoes were then permitted to bite, but could not inject saliva. None of the characteristic symptoms developed in those individuals who were bitten. The bite, however, was more painful than usual suggesting that anaesthetic properties were present in the salivary secretions.

from What is a mosquito bite?
posted by LimePi at 4:31 PM on August 19, 2004

Someone recently died of a rare disease contracted when squishing the biting mosquito injected its stomach contents into her bloodstream.

Seems like a pretty rare event, though.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:06 PM on August 19, 2004

fff is referring to a case of West Nile Disease contracted in the manner specified. There is some sort of health advisory out on it now, advising against the practice.

I have to admit, on hearing the advisory, I was reminded of the initial warnings about oral sex WTR AIDS: "If you have bleeding ulcers in your mouth, we strongly advise against oral-genital contact" or some such ooky, obvious but probably necessary thing. Yik!
posted by mwhybark at 9:58 PM on August 19, 2004

OK Ick.

Know what? With the exception of one Summer, I never get bit by them either, though.

One summer, I got bit the hell out of, and that's how I noted that normally, I don't.

I wonder why a lot of people get bit and some people just don't?

Still, I hate moquitoes, because when we play tennis by the river, they do buzz by my ears and that just heebs me right the hell out!
posted by erratic frog at 10:34 PM on August 19, 2004

bugs stopped biting me when I stopped eating meat and squishing bugs.

That's odd. I don't eat meat or squish bugs, and I never get bitten either (wife gets munched half to death). Wonder if there is a link?
posted by bifter at 1:59 AM on August 20, 2004

Scientists don't know why mosquitoes bite some people more than others, but they are trying to figure it out.
posted by orange swan at 8:29 AM on August 20, 2004

I quit being itchy by mosquito bites the time I made the terrible mistake of going exploring across a swamp without any bug-protection at all. After an hour of that, I'd have bled to death if cut simply by the concentration of de-coagulators in my blood from all the freakin' bites.

Itched like mad for a day, and then never again.

Trial by fire, I suppose, but it worked.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:14 AM on August 20, 2004

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