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Mosquito Facts

Posted by: Cooper Pest - Monday, January 12, 2015

Mosquitoes are a type of fly that belong to the insect family Culex. The females have the piercing and sucking mouth parts that are necessary to allow them to feed on human and animal blood, which allows them to nourish their eggs. The male of the species does not bite and can even be beneficial in helping to pollinate some flowers. Mosquito bodies and wings are covered in tiny scales. Adult sizes may range from 3 to 9 mm.

What is the life cycle of mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes of different species lay their eggs in a variety of water sources that range from small containers to vast expanses of marshland. The larval stage is always aquatic and shuttles from the subsurface where it filter feeds on micro-organisms to the surface to obtain oxygen through a snorkel-like breathing apparatus. The pupal stage does not feed but unlike most insect pupae is extremely active. The adult emerges from the pupal case using air pressure and assume a terrestrial existence.

Mosquitoes have four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa and adult. As mentioned, they spend their larval and pupal stages in water. Female mosquitoes of most pest species in Mercer County deposit eggs on moist surfaces such as mud or fallen leaves. Rain refloods these surfaces and stimulates the hatching of the eggs, thus starting the life cycle. Other mosquito species in the county lay their eggs on the surface of permanent water and since the water is constantly present, there are always eggs hatching and larvae developing.

Mosquitoes take approximately one week to develop from egg to the flying adult. After emerging from the aquatic stages, adult mosquitoes mate and the females seek a blood meal to obtain nutrients necessary for egg development. Only the female adult bites, while both sexes utilize sugar sources for general nutrient requirements. While various species differ significantly, the average life expectancy for adult mosquitoes is 4-6 weeks during the summer.

Mosquito-borne diseases include:

  • West Nile Virus

  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis

  • Japanese Encephalitis Virus

  • Japanese Encephalitis Virus

  • Western Equine Encephalitis

  • Dengue Fever

  • Chikungunya Fever

  • Malaria

  • Rift Valley Fever

  • Yellow Fever

  • Heartworm

How can I prevent Mosquitoes?

  • Empty standing water that has collected on your property regularly.

  • Unclog roof gutters

  • Make sure that trash containers are covered tightly with a lid.

  • Change the water in bird baths at least once each week.

  • Remove unused tires and other items that could collect water.

  • Repair leaky outdoor faucets

  • Avoid water collecting on pool covers

  • Empty your pet’s water bowl daily.

  • Fill in holes or depressions near your home that accumulate water.

  • Keep weeds and tall grass cut short.

  • Empty children’s wading pools at least once a week

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