Mosquito Fun Facts
Mosquitoes are vectors of life-threatening diseases throughout the world. Although we probably never will be able to be fully eradicate these pests from our planet, there are ways we can learn to deal with them.
By using technology and good old-fashioned common sense, we can help keep them away from our families and pets and prevent mosquito-borne diseases from spreading further throughout this world.
Let's take a closer look at some facts you may not know about these little pests!
Mosquito Facts | Mosquito Life Cycle | Preventing Breeding
- The mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg to adult within as little as 4 days, though most mosquitoes complete it within two weeks.
- After only two days as an adult, a female mosquito is able to bite its first victim.
- A mosquito’s wing beats up to 600 times per second.
- West Nile Virus has not only been found in mosquitoes, birds, humans, and pets, it has also been found in alligators and elephants.
- Mosquitoes also feed on some reptiles and amphibians, including snakes, frogs and toads.
- Estimates for the number of mosquito species in the entire world range from 2500 to 3000.
- Most male mosquitoes only live for two weeks. Female mosquitoes often live up to a month or more, but they can certainly cause a lot of problems during that short time!
- Some female mosquito species will lay their eggs in a little bit of water – like the ruts of a tire track, a small hole in a tree, a small flowerpot, or even an old coffee cup.
- More interesting mosquito facts: both male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar for nourishment. The female mosquito only bites people or animals to obtain the blood’s protein so her eggs can develop.
- Female mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs at one time.
- Not all mosquitoes come out at dusk; the Asian Tiger Mosquito is known to bite mostly between the hours of 10am and 3pm.
- Some types of female mosquitoes go into hibernation for the winter. Some larvae spend the winter in the mud of swamps.
- Some mosquito species’ larvae will eat other mosquito larvae.
- Some mosquitoes have accidentally been introduced into the United States – the Asian Tiger Mosquito was imported in 1985 in some old tires that were shipped to the U.S. for recycling.
- A mosquito can infect a person with West Nile Virus but the person may never know it – not all people end up with symptoms.
- Antibiotics do not work on mosquito-borne diseases because they are viruses. Antibiotics do not fight viruses.
- Mosquito-borne diseases kill more people worldwide than any other factor.
- In one way or another, mosquitoes’ lives revolve around water sources. All mosquitoes require water in its egg, larval, and pupal stage for maturation, and as an adult, the female lays her eggs in the water.
- The airline industry sprays its airplanes to eliminate any mosquitoes that hitched a ride on the planes, especially those coming from countries with outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.
- Mosquitoes do not have very good vision. They rely on the carbon dioxide you exhale in order to locate you.
- Mosquitoes usually do not bite when the temperature is less than 50°F.
- Most mosquitoes remain near their breeding habitat as adults, although some are known to travel over 20 miles to find their “victims.”
- No wonder we don’t feel them when they land on our arm -- an adult female mosquito weighs just 1/15,000 ounce or about 2.0 milligrams.
Watch the amazing transformation of the Culex mosquito from egg to adult!
Posted by Backyard Bugs.
In the life cycle of mosquitoes an egg is the first stage. Depending on the mosquito species, eggs may be laid individually or connected together to form a “raft” type of structure. The Aedes aegypti mosquito lays her eggs individually, while the Culex pipiens mosquito lays approximately 200 eggs which she unites to form a raft.
In the life cycle of mosquitoes, mosquitoes in the larval stage are often referred to as “wigglers,” due to their movement in the water. Most larvae obtain oxygen through small tubes that reach the water’s surface. Other larvae lay adjacent to the surface to obtain oxygen, while others are able to obtain oxygen by fastening themselves to plants in the water.
During this stage, the larva goes through 4 different molts in which it sheds its exterior in order to grow bigger. The larva eats micro-organisms for the most part, although some mosquito species larvae will actually feast on other mosquito larva species. When the larva has progressed through the four stages, it will have changed into a pupa.
In the life cycle of mosquitoes, the pupal is the third stage. Mosquitoes in this transitional stage are referred to as “tumblers,” describing how they propel through the water. In this stage, the mosquito pupa rests without eating as it prepares to change into an adult mosquito.
Although they do “tumble” about in the water, this movement is mainly used to avert danger. This stage of the life cycle of mosquitoes ends when the pupa’s outer membrane splits open and the adult mosquito appears, usually within two days of entering this stage.
In the final stage of the life cycle of mosquitoes, the mosquito emerges from the pupal stage. Although the mosquito is an adult, it is not quite ready to take flight. It must wait nearby so its wings and body can fully dry and finish developing. After a few days, it takes flight and begins searching for nectar for food. It will also seek out a mate.
Once they have mated, the female will go in search of a blood meal and humans often become the target. For all mosquitoes, it is only the adult female who bites. The female needs the blood’s protein for her eggs to develop.
When she bites her victim’s skin, the mosquito can transmit disease to humans, dogs, cats and horses, if she is carrying the organisms of the disease. Such diseases include West Nile Virus, Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Encephalitis of various kinds and Heartworm, to name a few.
Fortunately, the life cycle of mosquitoes is very short: males usually only survive for about two weeks, while a female can survive up to a month or more, giving her many opportunities to bite unsuspecting victims and lay many batches of eggs. She is capable of producing thousands of eggs in her lifetime, which is one of the main reasons why mosquitoes are so prolific and why so many serious diseases quickly become epidemics in many parts of the world.[back to top]
Common mosquito breeding grounds:
- Bird Baths
- Old Tires
- Open Containers - Cans, jars, bottles or anything that can hold as little as an ounce of water. In fact, mosquitoes can breed in as little as a drop of water. Even recycle bins may have some open containers that can collect water. Don’t forget those trash cans and trash can lids, too!
- Hollow Trees
- Water Gardens & Ponds - Decorative ponds without fish. Other large areas of standing water
- Wading Pools
- Drainage Ditches
- Any area of standing water is a potential mosquito breeding ground!
Ways you can help eliminate mosquito breeding grounds:
- Dispose of old tires, buckets, ceramic pots and other containers in your yard that may collect water.
- Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water.
- Drill holes into the bottom of tire swings.
- At least once per week, empty standing water from containers, including birdfeeders, on your property.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors. Drainage holes in the sides of containers allow sufficient water to collect in which mosquitoes may breed.
- Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Flooded roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce hundreds of mosquitoes each season.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Turn over wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Store boats covered or upside down, or remove rainwater weekly.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens are fashionable but become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to infest an entire neighborhood. Be aware that mosquitoes may also breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
- Keep drains, ditches and culverts free of grass clippings, weeds and trash so water will drain properly.
- Fill in low areas on your property to eliminate standing water. Ponds or streams where fish are present or the water is disturbed by current or wave action do not produce many mosquitoes; standing water is more of a breeding area. So if you have mosquitoes, the standing water in your backyard has got to go. This will be the start of your anti-mosquito campaign! Next step...effective outdoor mosquito control that can help you enjoy season-long protection from the dangers of mosquitoes.
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