Water plays an important role in the mosquito habitat. Without it, mosquito eggs can’t hatch. However, while standing water poses one of the largest problems in this regard, it is not your only enemy. Different mosquito species have different breeding habits and living preferences. Understanding what these are can help you manage a potential mosquito population.
Mosquito life cycle
To better identify a mosquito habitat, it may be helpful to know the full mosquito life cycle. These flying insects begin their lives as eggs. All mosquito eggs require water to hatch, however, not all species of mosquitoes lay their eggs on water. After eggs hatch, larvae emerge. These larvae live in the water, taking seven to 10 days to develop. The pupal stage follows, and lasts one to three days, before an adult mosquito emerges. Adults typically mate about 28 hours after emerging.
For different species of mosquitoes, habitats can vary. Some species of female mosquitoes lay individual eggs or multiple eggs that have been formed into a raft, on the surface of water. Other species lay eggs in areas that have the ability to collect water.
According to the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control by Arnold Mallis, species of mosquitoes belonging to the Anopheles, Aedes and Culex genera are of particular medical importance.
Female mosquitoes in this genus deposit eggs on the surface of water or on objects near the water’s edge. This mosquito’s habitat in warmer months includes humid areas such as sheds or outhouses during the day. It feeds after dusk and well into the night. Some species in this genus will hibernate over the winter in areas such as tree holes or stables.
Females in this genus lay eggs on moist soil or debris that is just above water level. Eggs can remain dormant for years, but hatch quickly after they are flooded. Some species prefer to lay eggs in clean water or fresh water, as opposed to stagnant water that has been polluted.
Also known as a “house mosquito,” the eggs of this species are commonly found in containers that have collected standing water. Cans, old tires, storm drains and even children’s toys left outside, can create ideal breeding sites. Females lay eggs in clusters, or rafts, on the surface of the water.
While mosquito control depends on the types of mosquitoes, habitat reduction is an important component to any mosquito management plan. Locating potential mosquito habitats, or eliminating existing habitats where larvae are already located, can significantly reduce a mosquito population. This includes emptying water-containing receptacles and monitoring outdoor plants near the home. It is important to also check children's toys and old tires for standing water, as both can offer a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.
If you are concerned about a mosquito population near your home, it is best to call a pest management professional. This person will have the expertise to identify potential breeding sites and the ability to develop both short-term and long-term action plans.