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What Do You Need to Know About Mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes belong to the group of insects known as diptera, or flies. The scientific designation diptera means “two wings” – one of the distinguishing characteristics between flies and other insects. The main thing differentiating mosquitoes from other types of flies is their proboscis (long, straw-like mouthparts used for piercing and sucking).

Mosquitoes thrive in temperate to hot weather, and no one can ruin a summer outdoor activity faster than a mosquito (or worse yet, several mosquitoes). They are crafty and difficult to control, too. They don't need a huge marsh in which to breed. Many prominent mosquito species can lay eggs in something as minuscule as an upside-down bottle cap filled with rain water.

Q&A: Mosquitoes

Question: Where did the word "mosquito" originate?
A. Mosquito is a 16th Century Spanish word meaning "little fly." 

Question: Are mosquitoes attracted to light?
A. Light actually disorients mosquitoes and it neither attracts or repels them. Red and yellow outdoor lights can actually make us less visible to mosquitoes.  

Question: How many different species of mosquitoes are there?
A. There are more than 3,500 known species of mosquitoes around the world. About 175 of them are found in the United States, with the Aedes aegyptiAnopheles quadrimaculatusCulex pipiens, and Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger mosquito) being among the most prominent and the most common.  

Question: How Do Mosquitoes Bite?
A. Though mosquitoes bite, they don't have teeth. Female mosquitoes pierce human or animal skin with their straw-like proboscis, then extract (drink) the blood.

Question: How much blood can a mosquito consume?
A.  Mosquitoes can consume up to three times their weight in blood. 

Question: Do male and female mosquitoes bite?
A: Only female mosquitoes bite.  They feed on blood to help them product and develop their eggs. Males only feed on plant nectar (as do females, when not breeding).

Question: What attracts mosquitoes to humans and animals?
A: Mosquitoes love carbon dioxide.  Female mosquitoes follow the smell of carbon dioxide (CO2) released from exhaled breath to locate their next blood meal.

Question: How many eggs can a female mosquito lay?
A. Female mosquitoes can lay between 300 and 400 eggs at once. Depending on whether a female mosquito is a "permanent water mosquito" or a "flood water mosquito", eggs are laid either in clusters (called "rafts") on the surface of still water, or in damp areas that are flooded or irrigated regularly. Mosquito eggs are tiny and can develop and hatch in as little as an inch or less of water. 

Question: How long do mosquitoes take to develop from egg to adult?
A. Mosquito eggs need water to develop and hatch, and will hatch into larvae within the first 48 hours after conditions are optimal. Once they hatch into larvae, and then develop into pupae, it will be another week to 10 days before they emerge as adult mosquitoes and start the life cycle all over again.

Question: What is the average lifespan for a mosquito?
A: On average, mosquitoes live for less than two months. Male mosquitoes usually don't live for more than 10 days once they become adults, and females may live from six to eight weeks, assuming conditions are ideal. Female mosquitoes from various species lay eggs about once every three days during their lifetimes.  

Question: Where do mosquitoes go in the winter?
A: During the cold winter, mosquitoes hibernate. These insects are cold-blooded, and they do not become active until temperatures reach at least 40⁰ - 50⁰ F, and they do not even begin to thrive until temperatures get into the 80s. Adult female mosquitoes of some species find holes to overwinter in (they may live up to six months), and females of other species lay their eggs to overwinter before they die. Their eggs survive winter until conditions become optimal for hatching in the spring.  

Question: How many mosquitoes can a bat eat?
A: Bats are known to hunt and eat flying insects of all kinds, but they have a particular preference for mosquitoes. It's been observed that a single little brown bat (Myotis) can consume up to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour.  

Mosquito Control

So you've got pesky mosquitoes in your yard, garden, and patio that disrupt your cookouts and summer fun. What's your next step?

You can start with some preventive measures

Then, you can try an effective plant oil-based mosquito control product for spot treatment, like Maggie's Farm Home Bug Spray, Maggie's Farm Flying Insect Killer, or Maggie's Farm Mosquito Fogger. Plants hate mosquitoes and other bugs just as much as you do, and the natural oils they produce to protect themselves are amazingly effective at killing and repelling bugs of all sorts. 

For longer term, more thorough coverage, you can treat wider areas of your lawn with effective hose-end plant oil-based pest control products like Maggie's Farm Mosquito & Tick Killer and Maggie's Farm Yard Bug Spray

An effective plant-oil based DEET-free personal mosquito repellent, like Maggie's Farm Natural Insect Repellent can help you keep mosquitoes away from and off of you and your family members.  

Citronella candles and electric mosquito traps can also come in handy in repelling and controlling mosquito populations around your patio and yard. For ornamental water around your yard, you may want to consider using mosquito dunks.

For more on controlling mosquitoes, read the following articles:

When is Mosquito Season in My State?

How to Prevent a Mosquito Infestation Naturally

Do I Need to Call A Pest Control Professional?

You can do quite a bit yourself to help manage mosquitoes around your home and yard. If you've got an overwhelming mosquito infestation around your home, consider calling a pest control company.

How do you control mosquitoes in your yard? We want to hear your tips and tricks! Leave us a comment below!

 

For scientifically-tested, effective mosquito control in your home that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.

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