The mosquito (family Culicidae) is Public Enemy No. 1 of summertime fun. Found a picturesque picnic spot that seems the essence of tranquility? Well, forget it.

Almost every outdoor activity winds up being sabotaged by the little bloodsuckers, as people swat and slap at moquitoes instead of enjoying whatever it was they had come to enjoy.

The quarter-inch-long insect even looks like trouble, distinguished by slender legs, a thin body and narrow veined wings with a fringe of scales along the edges.

Because only the female moquito bites, her mouth parts are specially designed to inflict aggravation and pain. The sharp, tubelike proboscis pierces the skin, then draws blood. The female also can feed on nectar, but she needs blood to mature her eggs. Male mosquitoes live off nectar exclusively.

Humans are not the only warmblooded creatures affected. Moquito attacks on farm animals can cause weight loss and decreased milk production. Some species spread heartworm to dogs.

The mosquito's life cycle consists of egg, larva, pupa and, of course, adult. The elongated eggs are laid in still water, typically in batches of 50 to 200.