House Mosquito

Culex pipiens - Biting Insect Library

Culex pipiens is commonly referred to as the House Mosquito. It is the main vector, or carrier, of St. Louis Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, Western Equine Encephalitis, Heartworm in dogs, and bird malaria.

Although its main target has been birds, the House mosquito is now targeting humans and mammals on a regular basis.

 

 

Description | Breeding | Geography | Interesting Facts
 

Description

Culex pipiens is commonly referred to as the House Mosquito. It is the main vector, or carrier, of St. Louis Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, Western Equine Encephalitis, Heartworm in dogs, and bird Malaria.

The House mosquito species is also a conveyor of Rift Valley Fever, Sindbis virus, and filariasis in other regions of the world. Although its main target has been birds, the House mosquito is now targeting humans and mammals on a regular basis. The mosquito bites an infected bird and then goes to another blood meal host, whether a human or another bird, and bites that new victim, injecting it with the virus from the original bird. This process has helped to spread diseases from bird to bird, and more recently, from bird to humans and other mammals. Culex pipiens can therefore be considered a “bridge” vector as it transmits viruses between birds and mammals.

Considered to be a medium-sized mosquito, the adult Culex pipiens may reach up ¼”. The House mosquito species' body is usually brownish or grayish brown. The proboscis and wings are usually brown.

Eggs are laid in rafts of 150-350 eggs in polluted or foul water in a variety of water-filled containers or areas. The eggs usually hatch within 2 days.

Larvae are known as wigglers since they seem to move in that manner. They feed on fungi, bacteria and other tiny organisms through straw-like filters. These larvae will undergo growth throughout the four instars of this stage.

Pupae are known as tumblers because of the way they seem to “tumble” through the water. Their rounded, comma-like shape makes this mode of movement easy. These pupae do not eat during the 1-2 days in which they will become an adult mosquito. If you suspect you have a house mosquito infestation, then an effective mosquito control system can offer protection against these pests and their mosquito-borne diseases.

 

Breeding Habits

Eggs of mosquitoes may be laid in either areas apt to flood or areas of standing water, depending on the type of mosquito. Mosquitoes are often categorized by their egg-laying preferences: floodwater mosquitoes or standing water mosquitoes.

Eggs of the Culex pipiens Mosquito are laid in rafts of 150-350 eggs in polluted or foul water. Examples of mosquito breeding grounds include catch basins, ditches, rain barrels, ground pools, clogged rain gutters, neglected birdfeeders with standing water, and areas that contain organic waste materials.

Larvae, when hatched, progress through the life cycle of a mosquito, remaining at or near the mosquito breeding ground through adulthood. Some female Culex pipiens will travel a distance in search of a blood meal to develop her eggs. The entire process of egg to adult mosquito, otherwise known as the mosquito breeding cycle, can take up to two weeks, depending on the weather.

 

Geography

The Culex pipiens is considered to be the most common mosquito in urban and suburban areas within North America. It is easy to see where it acquired its nickname “House Mosquito,” since it is often found in houses at night here in the United States.

Culex pipiens is known as the Northern House Mosquito and Culex quinquefasciatus is known as the Southern House Mosquito.

Where do mosquitoes live during winter? The mosquito population often spends the winter in human dwellings to escape the cold, staying in basements, cellars or outbuildings. Some of the species may dwell in caves during cold weather. Learn about the mosquito breeding cycle of the Culex pipiens mosquito.

 

Interesting Facts

The female Culex pipiens overwinters in a state of torpor in a protected location, usually a cave, cellar, basement, or outbuilding.

This mosquito is considered to be the main vector of St. Louis Encephalitis.

In some regions, this mosquito is one of the chief vectors of West Nile Virus.

The Culex pipiens has been basically considered to be a “bird feeder,” however, some mosquitoes of the species prefer humans and other mammals for their blood-meals.

Culex pipiens can transmit the virus that causes heartworm in dogs and malaria in birds.

A high incidence of mosquito prevalence occurs in mid-to-late summer. Another occurrence of mosquito prevalence is polluted waters in places including malfunctioning septic systems, evaporation pools in sewer plants and stagnant ponds.

Culex pipiens will readily breed in these areas.

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