If you’re one of those people that prefer snow over sun, then consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, the longer days and the warm weather of summer are what we look forward to all year. Unfortunately, there is one insect which just loves to wreck the days spent enjoying this amazing season – mosquitoes! These pesky, disease-carrying pests make a living by sucking the blood out of just about anything that moves, including us. We have found that the best way to defeat the enemy is to know thy enemy. That is why we are sharing these 12 facts that you never wanted to know about mosquitoes (but probably should).
Fear the females. Both male and female feed mainly on fruit and plant nectar, but the female is the only one who bites mammals. She needs protein in blood to help her eggs develop. Once she’s had her fill of blood, she’ll rest for a couple of days before laying her eggs.
Triplets by the hundreds. Female mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs at a time. Typically, the eggs are deposited in clusters – called rafts – on the surface of stagnant water. Sometimes they are laid in areas that flood regularly. Eggs can hatch in as little as an inch of standing water. Females will lay eggs up to three times before they die.
All mosquitoes are not equal. There are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes. Thankfully, only about 175 of them are found in the United States. The Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Culex pipiens, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) are among the most common. The Anopheles is a malaria carrier, and the other three are known to spread various forms of encephalitis.
It’s in a name. Mosquito is Spanish for “little fly.” The word reportedly originated in the early 16th century. In Africa, New Zealand and Australia, mosquitoes are often called “Mozzies”
They don’t bite. Mosquitoes don’t have teeth. The females “bite” with a long, pointed mouthpart called a proboscis. They use the serrated proboscis to pierce the skin and locate a capillary, then draw blood through one of two tubes.
They are really thirsty. A mosquito can suck up to three times its weight in blood. Don’t worry, though. It would take about 1.2 million bites to drain all the blood from your body.
The life aquatic. Mosquitoes spend their first 10 days of their life in water. Water is necessary for the eggs to hatch into larvae, called wigglers. Wigglers feed on organic matter in stagnant water and breathe oxygen from the surface. They develop into pupae, which do not feed and are partially encased in cocoons. Over several days, the pupae change into adult mosquitoes.
They’re like bears. They are cold-blooded and are most active in temperatures over 80 degrees. At temperatures less than 50 degrees, they shut down for the winter. The adult females of some species find holes where they wait for warmer weather, similar to hibernation. Others, lay their eggs in freezing water and die. The eggs keep until the temperatures rise, and they can hatch.
Long live the… wait never mind. The average mosquito lifespan is less than two months. Males have the shortest lives, usually 10 days or less, and females can live about six to eight weeks, under ideal conditions. The females lay eggs about every three days during that time. Females of species that hibernate may live up to six months.
Mosquito imposters. Midges and crane flies are often mistaken for mosquitoes. Biting midges are smaller, have shorter wings and tend to feed in swarms. Mosquito traps often attract and kill biting midges. Crane flies are much larger than mosquitoes – up to 1 ½ inches long in some cases – and do not bite.
Good news for us, they’re slow. Most mosquitoes can fly no more than about one to three miles, and often stay within several hundred feet of where they were hatched. However, a few salt marsh species can travel up to 40 miles. The top speed for a mosquito is about 1.5 miles per hour.
They lay low. Mosquitoes generally fly below 25 feet. However, some species have also been found at extraordinary heights, including 8,000 feet up in the Himalayas.
Knowing this much about mosquitoes has been an important factor in helping to keep our client’s backyards mosquito free each summer. Our guaranteed protection plan kills mosquitoes and begins the critical process of establishing a protective barrier on your property. Our proprietary Mosquito Protection Blend™ is applied around all active areas such as decks, patios, pools, swing sets, etc. We actively monitor mosquito populations and weather patterns and return to your property approximately every two weeks.