Culex quinquefasciatus Say
SIZE: Adults are less than one inch in length.
COLOR: These mosquitoes are light brown in color. Their legs are solid colored, and their abdomens have white bands.
Southern house mosquitoes are active at night and females feed on a variety of hosts, including humans, birds and other mammals. Both males and females feed on nectar and sugars from plants.
These mosquitoes can carry pathogens that may cause a variety of diseases, including West Nile virus, western equine encephalitis and St. Louis encephalitis virus.
Like other mosquito species, southern house mosquitoes breed in and around stagnant water. Common breeding grounds include bird baths, old tires and other containers holding water.
Females lay rafts of 100 or more eggs along the water’s surface. A single female may lay up to 5 rafts of eggs in her lifetime.
Eggs hatch 24 to 30 hours after they are laid. The mosquitoes will go through a full metamorphosis with egg, pupal and larval stages before reaching adulthood. The full breeding cycle takes 1-2 weeks in high summer temperatures, but these mosquitoes are known to overwinter and can breed at any time of year throughout their geographical range.
Adult females typically live for about a month.
As their name implies, southern house mosquitoes are commonly found in the southern third of the United States, with their range extending from Virginia to southern California, as far north as Iowa and as far south as Texas and Florida. The species has also been found in Hawaii.
Generally, these insects prefer sub-tropical climates and flourish in locations between 36° N and 39° S latitude. Aside from the United States, the southern house mosquito is found in areas of South America, Australia, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and New Zealand.
Tips for Control
As with any species of mosquito, the key to controlling southern house mosquitoes is preventing breeding. Reducing areas of standing water in and around your yard is critical. Remember the following tips to help keep these mosquitoes at bay:
- Empty and refill bird baths weekly
- Drill holes in the bottom of tire swings to help prevent water from accumulating
- Clean your gutters regularly to help keep debris and rainwater from collecting
- Avoid using barrels or other containers to collect rainwater, unless they are emptied regularly
- Add agitators or fish to ponds or other water features on your property to keep water moving and help prevent successful breeding
You can also help reduce your exposure to these mosquitoes by limiting your time outdoors, especially in the evening hours, wearing long sleeves and pants when outside and using a mosquito repellent recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Because mosquitoes can reproduce rapidly, their populations can be difficult to control. If problems persist, consider professional treatment from a mosquito control company like Terminix®.