As the weather starts warming up, the dread of mosquito breeding season is probably one of the most unpleasant dilemmas. But knowing the basics behind some of these mosquito habits could reduce some of the itch that’s headed your way.
Mosquito breeding season
Mosquitoes prefer warmer and more humid climates. In fact, with global warming pushing temperatures up across the country, the length of mosquito breeding season has increased. And, as cooler areas begin to experience warmer climates, the areas where mosquitoes can breed have also expanded. Most mosquitoes can survive in temperatures between 50 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As the area where you live begins to reach these temperatures, mosquito eggs will begin to hatch.
Mosquito breeding habits
There are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes. While their behavioral habits may vary, they have one thing in common – a need for water. The type of water depends on the species, but all mosquitoes use water to lay their eggs. Around the home, standing water left in flowerpot trays, plants and open containers can create inviting mosquito habitats. Drains, sewage areas and uncovered trash cans pose a more public hazard. One of the keys to mosquito control is ensuring that this type of standing water is eliminated.
The mosquito life cycle takes place in four stages, beginning with the egg. All mosquito eggs require some form of water to hatch. Some species of female mosquitoes lay eggs directly on the water, while others lay eggs in small depressions where water can collect. In some cases, eggs laid outside of water can survive many years before hatching. After exposure to water, most eggs hatch within 24-72 hours.
Once eggs hatch, larvae emerge. These larvae are sometimes referred to as “wrigglers,” as they can be seen wriggling their bodies in the water. Most are surface feeders, surviving on algae, bacteria, protozoans and other organic material ingested through their mouth brushes. Larvae develop for seven to 10 days before reaching the pupal stage. Pupae do not feed and instead, spend most of their time on the surface of the water, taking in air. The pupal stage lasts one to three days before an adult mosquito emerges.
Mosquito breeding takes place about 28 hours after the adult emerges. Often, once a female has mated, she can continue to lay eggs for the rest of her life. A female can produce between 50 and 500 eggs in her first brood. Subsequent broods have fewer eggs than the first, but some females can produce as many as 10 broods.
Adult male mosquitoes do not take blood meals. They live for about a week or two, surviving on the nectar of plants. Female adult mosquitoes can live for over a month. They also feed on plant nectar, but they require a blood meal in order to reproduce. Most mosquitoes survive the winter as eggs or larvae, before the mosquito reproduction life cycle begins again.
If you are concerned about a mosquito breeding site in or around your home, consider calling a pest management professional. For an effective mosquito solution, call Terminix® and ask about their Mosquito Control service – a unique bait and kill system that targets even hard-to-control urban species.