The Mosquito Life Cycle
The mosquito life cycle can only begin in an aquatic environment. The female mosquito lays between 50 and 100 eggs on the water’s surface, and so it begins. While both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar, only the female mosquito feeds on blood in order to produce her offspring. Male mosquitoes live for about two weeks, while females live from three weeks to several months, and can lay approximately 500 eggs during its life span.
The mosquito life cycle
Types of mosquitoes that breed around the home
The most common type of mosquito is the Culex pipiens. It thrives on water that contains organic wastes. The females feed mostly at night on birds, which makes them the primary carriers of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. Another common species of mosquito is the Culex restuans, which females usually lay their eggs in the same kinds of locations as the Culex pipiens, but do not usually bite humans.
Ways to control breeding sites
Many homeowners purchase expensive equipment such as big-zappers and devices that emit so-called mosquito attractants (carbon-dioxide, warmth, and light.) to rid themselves of these pesky insects. However, such products have seldom shown significant results in reducing the mosquito population.
To eliminate mosquito breeding sites, a mosquito larvicide can be purchased. Larvicides contain chemicals that eliminate the mosquito in its immature stages and halt the mosquito life cycle in its tracks. These chemicals are called methoprene and bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI). However, since mosquitoes have the capacity to fly far from their breeding grounds, you may experience pest control problems without having a breeding ground nearby. There are also registered effective mosquito repellent products for lawns and vegetation specifically designed for use on adult mosquitoes. These chemicals go by the names of cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, and permethrin, and can be applied to shrubs, low tree limbs, shaded areas under decks, and along the dwelling’s foundation. Most come in sprays, and must be re-applied periodically for maximum efficiency. Be sure to use insecticides exactly as indicated on their labels. For the least effort involved, hire a professional company to do the job.
Written by Karen Foster: Karen Foster is the content manager and editor for Tiny Mosquito: Understanding the Mosquito. For more information about mosquitoes, visit her site at www.tinymosquito.com.