exploding mosquitos


There was something at the bottom of this column about flexing your muscles to trap and explode a mosquito being a myth. I’m not saying that you can do this anywhere a mosquito bites you, but I have seen it happen on three occasions. The first was me, and it was totally unintentional. I was being bit on the hand by a mosquito while on a bicycle. Even though I could see the mosquito biting me, I was going too fast on a rough piece of trail to take my other hand off the handlebars and do anything about it, and i was gripping the handlebars very hard. I was surprised when the mosquito exploded on my hand. I remember it quite well, because it itched far more than a normal mosquito bite. The second time was on an acquaintance who did it on purpose (also on the hand). He said that he could only do it sometimes. The guy was warped, if you ask me. The last time was a year ago, and I was chainsawing wood for the fireplace. A late-out mosquito bit me (also on the hand) in the middle of a cut. At the time it would have been dangerous to not finish what I was doing and I was holding the chainsaw very tight. It only took about three seconds and blip - mosquito is a blood spot. So I don’t know how often it can be done on command, but it can be done.


I can’t question your evident sincerity, but that this could happen is pretty damn puzzling. It might make sense if mosquitoes passively tapped into a blood vessel that was under pressure, but they don’t - the blood they’re getting is from capillaries, and a mosquito’s head is full of muscles which are used to actively pump blood into their gut (which they wouldn’t need if the blood was being forced into their gut by pressure). If they’re actively pumping the blood into their gut, it makes no sense that they would ever burst from too much blood, because all they’d presumably need to do - even if they happened to get their mouthparts stuck - is simply stop pumping and wait.

If it really does happen, then I can’t see how or why, unless it’s some trick of human physiology that allows for sudden pressurization of capillary blood.

Hmmm… the link in the Staff Report doesn’t seem to work, I’ll get it fixed. Meanwhile, the reference on flexing your muscles to explode mosquitos is: If you flex your muscle when a mosquito bites you, will it swell up and explode?

I have no idea why it happens, and what the variables are, but having seen it happen with my own eyes I know it can happen. I don’t have high blood pressure, at least normally (but I can’t say about when riding bikes or chain sawing). I don’t know if that would matter. Your argument makes sense, but as I say, I know for a fact that mosquitos can explode.

I think the fact that the mosquito bite itched a lot argues against the theory that the critter unwittingly tapped into a blood vessel - the anticoagulants in mosquito spit would be diluted too much to cause much itch. On the other hand, I guess maybe there would be mouthparts left behind in your body that could cause the itch.

If there were any mosquitos left around here, I might even go out and try to do it. But November has settled in around here and the little bloodsuckers are scarce.