Northern House Mosquito

 

Culex pipiens

Characteristics

SIZE: Northern house mosquitoes are considered medium-sized mosquitoes and can grow to about 7 millimeters, or ¼ inch, long.

COLOR: These mosquitoes are light brown to golden brown in color with pale bands on their abdomens.

BEHAVIOR: Unlike other mosquito species, female northern house mosquitoes overwinter and can remain active throughout the year. According to the National Environmental Health Association, these mosquitoes are common vectors of St. Louis encephalitis, western equine encephalitis, West Nile virus and dog heartworms.

Habitats

Native to Africa, northern house mosquitoes are now found on every continent except Antarctica. They live in urban, suburban and rural settings and are generally found in temperate climates. They are common across the eastern United States.

Like other mosquito species, northern house mosquitoes frequently breed in or around areas of stagnant or standing water, including storm sewers, pools, ditches, marshes, clogged gutters and old tires. They were once even called “rain barrel mosquitoes” because of their habit of breeding in these containers.

Breeding

After a blood meal, females lay eggs in rafts of 140–340. These eggs typically hatch in one to two days, and it may take the mosquitoes as long as 8-12 days to develop into adults. The entire breeding cycle can take up to two weeks but, depending on the temperature and environmental conditions, may be completed in as little as one week. Some females have been known to travel more than half a mile at a time in search of the blood meal needed to produce eggs.

Like other mosquito species, northern house mosquitoes pass through a metamorphosis consisting of four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Larvae are known as “wigglers.” They live close to the water’s surface, feeding on algae and breathing oxygen through their siphons. Pupae are known as “tumblers.” This is the inactive stage where development occurs right before adulthood. Tumblers float on the surface of the water, rolling in a tumbling motion when they are disturbed.

Northern house mosquitoes will feed on a variety of hosts, including humans, dogs and birds. Females are also known to enter homes and other buildings, where they feed on humans. This species commonly feeds in the hours immediately following dusk.

Tips for Control

In the northern United States, this is one of the species of mosquitoes that is frequently responsible for eggs laid in bird baths, rain gutters and flower pots. You can help control their populations on your property by:

  • Eliminating sources of standing water, including flower pots, kiddie pools and other containers

  • Changing water in pet bowls and bird baths regularly

  • Keeping gutters clean and free of debris so additional water doesn’t accumulate

  • Maintaining your yard to eliminate weeds, branches and leaves that may trap water

  • Properly treating swimming pools or other water features and ensuring that water is circulating correctly

  • Filling in ditches or other low areas around your yard

Mosquitoes, regardless of their species, are prolific breeders, and their populations can be difficult to control. Terminix® has a team of trained mosquito control professionals and a mosquito treatment that begins working immediately to reduce populations in your yard. Learn more about our mosquito service today.

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