Have you ever wondered why mosquitoes seem to be more active during certain times of the year or even certain times of day?
There over 176 mosquito species in the United States and over 3,000 species worldwide. Knowing when these pesky insects are most active can help you and your family avoid being bitten when planning outdoor activities.
What Time of Day are Mosquitoes Most Active?
Mosquitoes' activity level largely depends on their species. Some are more active during the day, and others come out more at night.
Some mosquito species in the genus Aedes are active during the day, and they tend to bite humans aggressively during these hours, particularly in the morning and late afternoon. These mosquitoes are known for spreading pathogens that cause West Nile and other diseases.
Some mosquitoes in the genus Culex, on the other hand, are primarily active at night and are known for carrying the pathogen that causes West Nile virus.
Anopheles mosquitoes — which are responsible for spreading malaria in humans — are active during nighttime, dawn and dusk. Malaria is not common in the U.S., but it's important to be aware that you may be at risk when traveling. You should speak with your doctor about mosquitoes and any risks associated at least a month before traveling outside of the U.S.
Because dusk comes between daytime and nighttime, mosquito activity across species tends to be highest during this time.
What Time of Year Do Mosquitoes Come Out?
You've probably noticed that mosquitoes tend to disappear once the temperatures outside begin to drop. That's because mosquitoes don't like to be exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some mosquito species (like those in the genus Aedes) deal with the cold temperatures by overwintering their eggs, which hatch the following spring when temperatures become warmer. In other species, the adults themselves overwinter by seeking out environments that will help protect them from the cold, such as caves, cellars and sewers.
Regardless of how mosquitoes overwinter, they typically emerge once temperatures of 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher begin occurring consistently. This is why people in southern states, like Florida, tend to see mosquitoes sooner and in higher numbers than people in the northeast.
Getting Ready for Mosquito Season
Although mosquitoes likely can't be avoided, there are a few measures you can take to help protect you and your family from mosquitoes and their bites once they do make their annual debut.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water and/or very moist soil - most species do one or the other. So removing any areas of standing water from around your home can reduce their opportunities to lay eggs nearby. This can include:
- Open garbage cans
- Clogged gutters
- Old tires
- Plant bases
- Bird baths
- Containers that collect water, such as toy trucks, plant drainage lids, soda bottle caps, etc
Filling in ditches or any other areas that might collect standing water is also important.
Repair any broken window screens around your home, and keep all windows and doors shut as much as possible to help prevent mosquitoes from entering. When you do venture outside, be sure to use an effective mosquito repellent to help ward away biting mosquitoes.
Learn more on how you can prepare for mosquito season.