Are you looking to learn about mosquitoes and their life cycle? Perhaps with an eye toward eliminating or driving these pests away? You’re in the right place.
In this guide, you’ll learn the following about mosquitoes:
- Why it’s important to understand each of their life stages
- How to kill them during each phase
- Some notes about their preferred food sources
- And much more
One of the most distinctive, not to mention annoying, sounds in the world is the high-pitched whine of a mosquito flying around your head. Just reading that description of it has probably triggered a memory of the sound in your mind. The only thing worse than hearing it in your imagination is hearing it in your backyard when you’re trying to enjoy yourself.
Mosquito bites are annoying in and of themselves, but humans have also long known that mosquitoes carry diseases. That means the itching from a mosquito bite could be a harbinger of worse things to come.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how and where mosquitoes live, their life cycle, and some preventative measures you can take to eliminate them before they get out of hand.
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What Is the Mosquito Life Cycle?
You can’t really talk about the life cycle of mosquitoes without also talking about their habitat, so let’s do that first.
Mosquitoes and Water
Mosquitoes like water — specifically, stale, stagnant water. Puddles in your or your neighbor’s yard could be a perfect breeding ground for them.
Wading pools that haven’t been frequently emptied can turn into mosquito hatcheries faster than you’d believe. The same thing applies to birdbaths without constantly running water. Clogged gutters on your house — out of sight and out of mind — are prime breeding locations for mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes react to rapidly running water the way Dracula reacts to sunlight. Moving water is hazardous to their eggs and larvae.
The Four Stages of the Mosquito Life Cycle
Mosquitoes go through four stages in their life cycle — egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The first three require standing, stagnant water. Anywhere that meets that requirement will sustain the subadult mosquitoes, though you might not notice them. The adults are obvious — they’re the ones whining in your ear, trying to bite you.
Female mosquitoes often lay their eggs in areas subject to periodic flooding. The eggs are laid on or near water, and the eggs hatch into larvae after they become submerged. By the way, the eggs can survive for several months waiting to be covered with water.
Females can lay up to two hundred eggs at a time, and they’ll hatch within 24 to 48 hours if inundated. This is why wading pools must be emptied the moment they’re no longer being used.
Mosquitoes that have hatched are known as larvae. They’re also called “wrigglers” because that’s how they swim. As larvae, they go through four growth stages, getting bigger during each. They feed on microscopic bacteria in the water and breathe air at the surface.
The next stage is the pupa, or “tumbler,” in which the mosquitoes are transitioning into fully formed adults. They don’t eat during this stage — they just tumble around in the water to avoid predators. Within 24 to 48 hours, the new adults will emerge and fly away.
Male mosquitoes only live for a week or so. Once they mate with females, they die. The females live for four to five weeks after that, laying multiple batches of eggs. The females are the ones that are flying around your head and biting you.
Mosquitoes find refuge in tall grass, shrubs, and low-hanging tree branches. If you have any of these in your yard, adult mosquitoes will rest there when they’re inactive.
Mosquito Food Sources
Adult male mosquitoes need sweet fluids such as nectar to eat. Wide, flat lawns with nothing but grass are basically a desert to them. They’ll have to go somewhere else to find their food.
The females also eat nectar — it’s only after they mate that they need protein to begin laying eggs. Unfortunately, you already know where they get the protein from — your blood.
Preventing Mosquito Breeding And Growth
Now that you understand the mosquito life cycle, you can take steps to disrupt mosquito breeding and growth at each stage:
Eliminate standing water sources where females lay eggs. Empty bird baths, flower pots, buckets, and wading pools frequently. Clean rain gutters and direct drainage away from your property. Consider using Mosquito Dunks in unavoidable standing water — they contain bacteria that kill mosquito larvae but are safe for people, pets, and plants.
Apply mosquito larvicide to standing water that can’t be drained. Aeration, agitation, and plants that shade the water can also deter larval growth. Introducing fish that eat mosquito larvae may help control populations in ponds.
Since pupas don’t eat, insecticide won’t affect them. Focus on eliminating larvae. Preventing stagnant water is key.
Final Thoughts on the Mosquito Lifespan
Mosquitoes live for about five to six weeks during the summer, but they can survive any time of year when the weather is warm enough. In other words, they’re not a seasonal pest everywhere.
If you live in the southern part of the United States, you can see and hear mosquitoes 365 days a year. Keeping them away from you and your property will be a nonstop occupation. Wherever you are, they are.
So, Is Mosquito Control Important for Your Property?
Absolutely. Mosquitoes are a nuisance and a health hazard due to the diseases — like West Nile virus, Zika virus, malaria, and more — that they can transmit through bites. Their rapid breeding cycle means populations can quickly get out of control if standing water isn’t eliminated. By understanding their life cycle and preferences, you can take the right steps to keep mosquitoes at bay and protect your family.
You may find our article exploring which mosquito repellents work best an interesting and informative read.
FAQs About Mosquitoes
What is the mosquito life cycle?
Mosquitoes go through four development stages — egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The first three stages require standing water for the mosquitoes to continue living and growing.
How can I kill mosquito larvae?
Eliminate standing water where females lay eggs. Use larvicides, Mosquito Dunks, aeration, and fish in unavoidable standing water sources.
What attracts mosquitoes to my yard?
Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, heat, carbon dioxide, floral or perfume smells, dark clothing, and bare skin.
How long do mosquitoes live?
Most mosquitoes live about five to six weeks in warm weather. Some species can overwinter as adults and live for six to eight months.
When are mosquitoes most active?
Mosquitoes are generally most active in the early morning and evening, especially at dusk. Some species will bite during the day.