Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are common small, flying insects with segmented bodies that live in most parts of the world. Over 3,500 types of mosquitoes can be found worldwide. They feed by biting people or host animals and drawing minute amounts of blood, leaving saliva that can cause an itchy rash on the skin. 

Mosquito infestation: Mosquito larvae develop in water, so adult mosquitoes are attracted to damp soil or standing water to lay their eggs. Virtually any natural or man-made collection of water can support mosquito production including old tires, flowerpots, gutters that drain improperly, birdbaths and water features such as fishponds. 

Risks of mosquito bite: Not every species of mosquito bite or causes problems for people, but many have profoundly negative effects. The most serious risk from a mosquito bite is that it can transfer pathogens from one host to another, leading to the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and other viruses. 

Mosquito Life Cycle: Mosquitoes go through four distinct stages during their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Female mosquitoes lay eggs in clumps of 100 to 300 eggs about every third day during their lifespan. The eggs are deposited as “rafts “usually floating on the surface of standing water. The eggs may hatch within a few days of being laid depending on the temperature, But if the egg are laid out of water in intermittent flooding areas, the embryo may lay dormant for several years until the ideal natural hatching conditions are met. Larvae of mosquitoes are called “wigglers” and they hang suspended from the water surface because they need air to breath (fig 1). Larval stage lasts 4- 14 days and then turning to pupa which lasts from about 1.5 days to 4 days.

The male adult mosquito are usually the first ones to emerge and linger near the breeding site, waiting for the females. Mating occurs quickly after emergence due to high adult mortality rates (up to 30% a day). The females compensate for the high rate by laying large numbers of eggs to assure the continuation of the species. Male mosquitoes will live only 6 or 7 days on average, feeding primarily on plant nectar, and do not take blood meals. Females with an adequate food supply can live up to 5 months or longer, with the average female life span being about 6 weeks.

Tips to prevent mosquito infestation around homes

  1. Close the door immediately upon entering your home, especially on warm, humid nights.   
  2. Tightly cover containers of standing water, such as barrels or cisterns, around the outside of your home to discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water. Change the water frequently in outdoor bird baths and pet water bowls so the water cannot stagnate.
  3. Keep gutters clean and unclogged.
  4. Keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated, even when not in use.
  5. Walk your property after a rain and look for areas in the landscape that are not draining well. If you find puddles that remain for four or more days, regrade the area. 
  6. Ornamental ponds should be aerated to keep water moving and discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs. Alternately, stock the pond with mosquito-eating fish. 
  7. Keep your property clean of items that can hold water, including discarded aluminium cans and tires.
  8. Mosquitoes like to rest and settle in areas that are cool, damp, and dark. Manicure your lawn, trim trees and shrubs, and make sure your grass isn’t getting too tall.

Chemical Control: Mosquitoes rests in dark, humid outdoor areas, such as in tall grass, hollow trees or under leaves. If mosquitoes swarm around your house, treat areas under and around patio furniture, in carports or in the garage with Hawkeye Spider and Insect Spray to keep the population under control.

Don’t forget to check and treat outdoor storage sheds.

Interesting Facts:

Hungry mosquitoes are attracted by the carbon dioxide given off by people and other potential food sources. 

Mosquitoes tend to be most active at dawn and dusk. 

Mosquitoes can lay eggs in as little as one inch of water.

If the eggs are laid out of water, the embryo may lay dormant for several years until the ideal natural hatching conditions are met.

Adult mosquitoes live for about 2 to 4 weeks depending on the species, humidity, temperature, and other factors. Female mosquitoes often live longer than male mosquitoes.

Only female mosquitoes bite people and animals to get a blood meal. Female mosquitoes need a blood meal to produce eggs.

Difference between a fly and a Mosquito:

Mosquitoes can be distinguished easily from other flies by the fact that they have both a long, piercing proboscis and scales on the veins of their wings.