How Long Do Mosquitoes Live? (With Infographic)
Have you noticed that some people seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others? If you’re one of these unlucky people, you’re probably wondering, “Why do mosquitoes bite me so much?”Mosquitoes are probably one of the most unpopular insects that are active during the summer. The itching welts they cause — not to mention concerns of Zika and other disease transmission — can downright ruin a beautiful day. That’s why many people invest a lot of time in trying to figure out how to keep mosquitoes away from their patio and yards.
When you’re trying to control a pest, it helps to know some information about it, including its lifecycle.
In total, mosquitoes who aren’t eaten by predators and die of “old age” live for about one to two months. However, at the time they die, their young are already developing, which means more females will be out in search of a blood meal soon.
The Lifecycle of the Mosquito
Before laying eggs, a female mosquito must eat a blood meal. This helps the eggs develop properly. It’s also the reason that only female mosquitoes bite. After finding a blood meal, the female lays her eggs in either an area prone to flooding or water that is stagnant or slow moving.
Different species of mosquitoes lay their eggs in certain ways. For example, some species might lay eggs singly, so that they’re scattered about. Others lay hundreds of eggs side by side and stacked on top of one another so the eggs stick together and form a type of raft that floats on the water. It takes about a week for mosquito eggs to hatch.
After the eggs hatch, they become larvae. Mosquito larvae are sometimes called “wigglers” or “wrigglers.” The larvae are about one-fourth of an inch long and resemble hairy worms, but they have separate body sections. Most also have a siphon tube that extends from their abdomens. This tube works as a snorkel and allows the larvae to breathe.
The larvae spend most of their time hanging upside down near the water’s surface and eating. They feed on microorganisms, like algae and fungi. They need to eat a lot so they can grow and molt four times. The larval stage lasts around 14 days, and at the end of their final molt, the larvae are called pupae and are about double their original size.
The pupae float toward the surface of the water. While they don’t eat or molt, they do dive and tumble in response to changes in the light. Because of this, they are also called “tumblers.” The pupae spend about one to four days in their casing developing into adult mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes reach adulthood after emerging from their pupal casings. Males hatch first and are followed by the females shortly afterward, at which time there is a mating swarm. Males live for a couple of weeks, but females can live for almost a month. The males feed on nectar; however, as you learned, the females will need a blood meal at some point, which they get through biting humans. After finding a blood meal, the female lays her eggs and starts the cycle again.
Learn more on how you can prepare for mosquito season.