The Secret Life Cycle of Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are a nuisance of the bug world, but there's more to them than their annoying buzzing. In fact, mosquitoes go through a lot before you find yourself slapping them away at your summer barbecues. Did you know that on average, a mosquito only lives for one to two weeks? That is, unless it’s a female mosquito who can live for up to a month. In its lifetime, a mosquito will go through four significant stages: egg, larvae, pupa and adult. Ahead, take a deeper look into the secret life of mosquitoes — including the best ways to keep them at bay.
Stage 1: Mosquitoes and Their Eggs
Momma mosquitoes are experts at reproduction and can lay up to 100 eggs at a time. These quarter-inch long groupings are deposited on the surface of pools of still water where they hatch within one to three days. Want to ward off mosquitoes before they get too far in their life cycle? Eliminate any stray puddles or outdoor vessels that might be trapping water. If you spot little black specks floating in water, there’s a chance you’ve spotted a grouping of soon-to-be baby mosquitoes, or larvae.
Stage 2: Little Wriggling Baby Mosquitoes
Once mosquito eggs hatch, larvae emerge ready to feed on algae, bacteria and other microorganisms in the water. Now, they’re little wrigglers that are susceptible to predators like birds and spend most of their time on the surface, breathing through tubes located in their tails. At this weeklong stage, they’re trying to get all the warmth and nutrition they can to shed their skin. Using a larvicide to treat the host water can get rid of them before they make it to the next step: pupae.
Stage 3: Mosquitoes as Teenagers
While larvae spend days eating for the pupae stage, pupae don’t actually eat at all. Instead, they float along unless disturbed. If bothered, they tumble toward the bottom of the water until floating back up for oxygen. To get rid of them at this stage, eliminate the standing water sources that serve as their home. Think: children's wading pools, birdbaths and flowerpots. Also, keep rain gutters cleaned out to prevent water from standing in drains and cut back or get rid of unnecessary vegetation around the home where mosquitoes can breed and rest. Otherwise, they’ll stay comfortably half-tucked into a cocoon for about four days until developing into their final form: adult mosquitoes.
Stage 4: And Finally, Fully Grown Mosquitoes
Once larvae emerge from their cocoon as mosquitoes, there’s only two things they have left to do: mate and eat. Mating happens within the first few days of adulthood when males can locate females by the sound of their wings. For meals, mosquitoes eat nectar and fruit juice. Only females feed on blood as they need the protein to reproduce. In the best conditions, females live longer but have predators like birds, bats and humans to contend with.
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Have mosquitoes set up shop in your backyard? Give Hughes a call today — we’re here to help!