It’s that time of year again, when things start warming up, blooming, and becoming greener. The kids are spenning more time outside, and it feels like grilling season again.
Along with the delight of the warm weather’s return comes another reminder of one of summer’s downsides: Your first mosquito sighting. Maybe even your first itchy bite of the season.
Are you ready for mosquito season?
Knowing when mosquito season occurs where you live is a good starting point to be adequately prepared, and to help you brave the little pests’ favorite season: springtime through late summer and into autumn. You might even be able to tell how serious a problem mosquitoes will be any given year to help you prepare better.
At any rate, you can protect yourself and your family from those pesky party crashers!
When Does Mosquito Season Start?
It’s all about the temperature and rainfall. Some mosquitoes take the winter off and hibernate, then come out to enjoy the warmer weather in the spring, and other species lay eggs before the winter, then the eggs hatch when it warms up outside.
Mostly, mosquitoes become active when temperatures consistently get up to about 45°- 50° F. Though stirring and moving around at that temperature, they will be lethargic and less mobile until temps get up to their preferred range of around 80° F.
The warmer it gets, the more mosquitoes appear, until populations are at their highest during the hottest months of summer.
But before they start thriving, conditions need to meet their environmental needs. Mosquitoes are cold-blooded (ectothermic), as are most insects. Unlike warm-blooded mammals, their body temperatures will mirror the temperature of whatever environment they are in. If they, including their larvae, get below their temperature comfort zone of about 45° F, it can cause them injury, it can slow or stop their development, and can even cause them death. Also, the larvae need an environment of standing water where they can develop until they can form into adults. Enough rainfall will help keep their habitats intact, which is bad news for humans and animals.
How Do You Know What Kind of Mosquito Summer It Will Be?
How much we enjoy summer in the United States largely depends upon how many hungry mosquitoes there are outside. If there’s anything to complain about a quiet summer evening it’s the annoyance of mosquitoes and their itchy bites. What makes some years better or worse than others? Temperature, of course, as well as rainfall … and not just cumulative rainfall over the course of a season. It matters when it rains, how much it rains any one given time, the duration of cold and warm spells, and when they happen. Several variables play together to determine how prevalent mosquitoes will be. But remember that the longer the season of warm weather, the more opportunities mosquitoes have to thrive and breed.
Cold and/or dry conditions that occur during mosquito larval development during the spring or summer can significantly hinder the resulting number of hungry adult mosquitoes.
Oh, the Places Those Flying Mosquito Pests Will Go!
How many species of mosquitoes are there? According to the American Mosquito Control Association, there are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes around the world, and at least 176 of them in the United States. And hopefully they don’t all invite themselves over to your cookout.
Long story short, mosquitoes go where they can find blood meals, which means they go wherever humans go. Whatever your belief is regarding climate change, experts predict that a warming climate will push significant numbers of mosquito populations further north, even to places they’ve avoided in the past.
What does this mean? It means mosquito population expansion.
Some predict that by the year 2050, roughly half of the world’s people will live in places where the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito makes its residence (this species of mosquito has shown itself to be resilient in urban spaces and stubborn in its preference for making its habitat in stagnant water around homes). That statistic falls in line with what the World Health Organization reports. When climate accommodates mosquito living conditions, they can quickly and easily relocate. The Aedes aegypti mosquito species can be found on every continent worldwide, but their populations remain smaller in areas with cooler climates, the further north you go.
What are Mosquitoes After?
The wives’ tale is true: mosquitoes actually prefer some people over others. Sweeter skin attracts them? Sort of. Some people produce more of certain chemicals in their skin, and some of those chemicals (e.g., lactic acid) attract mosquitoes. There’s also evidence indicating that blood type “O” attracts mosquitoes more than others.
And there’s not much you can do about it. Blood type is determined by genetics. The rate of your metabolism, or the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) your body releases when you exert yourself, can also attract them.
Mosquitoes follow CO2 as their way of identifying bite targets. You can definitely adjust your metabolic rate somewhat through diet and exercise, but you can only change it so much.
Overweight/obese individuals and pregnant women typically have higher resting metabolic rates, which can make them more attractive to mosquitoes. Alcohol consumption and physical exertion raise your metabolic rate and also make you more attractive to your winged pest friends.
By the way, did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? They are after your blood because they can’t lay eggs without a good blood meal.
Mosquito Season Varies By Region
Obviously, as you move north from south, the months for your state’s mosquito season can vary. For more southerly regions, mosquito season can start as early as February. Or you may see mosquitoes all year long.
Warmer regions, like Arizona, Texas, Nevada, and New Mexico will see the beginning of mosquito season as early as March. In Florida, the southern part of the state will see mosquito season begin as early as February—the climate in southern Florida is friendly to mosquitoes (i.e., moisture and humidity for breeding and laying eggs). Remember, they’re after heat and moisture.
Though we typically associate mosquitoes with warm, damp, humid weather, no one is immune. They are also found in desert regions around the world, including just about anywhere in the U.S., even in the hottest, driest parts of the country like Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas.
In Alaska, mosquito season is notably brief. Mosquito season in the southern-most regions of Alaska starts in early May, it might not happen in the northern parts of the state until mid-June, and it may end as early as late July. As for the east (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, etc.), gradual warming in recent years has resulted in an atypically longer mosquito season.
Prepare Before Mosquito Season Arrives
While the spread of mosquitoes can’t be prevented, citizens and government can be more prepared by implementing better preventive strategies. Don’t wait until you see swarms of mosquitoes to start mosquito season prep. Get started while there’s still some chill in the air, more or less before temperatures hit that 45° - 50° F range consistently.
Below are some suggested times to start preparation for mosquito season in different parts of the country. Again, this will depend on how early in the year your region starts warming up after winter:
- Mosquito season in Arizona: early March
- Mosquito season in Florida: early March in the northern part of the state and early February further south
- Mosquito season in California: early March in southern California and early April in the northern part
- Mosquito season in Pennsylvania: late April
- Mosquito season in Alaska: early May
- Mosquito season in Maine: early May
Maggie’s Farm Mosquito Season Map
Start By Mosquito-Proofing Your Property !
Never think it's too early in the season to start mosquito-proofing your home, business, or yard. Your first concern will be to keep those little pests outside.
Try implementing some preventive tips:
Repair damaged or ineffective window screens. Make sure door and window screens are in good repair or replaced (a 16-18 gauge mesh is the recommended size to keep pests out).
Screened-in decks, porches, or patios should also be thoroughly checked--the tiniest mosquito species can find their way into your home through even the most unnoticeable opening in a screen.
Repair cracks and leaks.
Check for exterior wall and foundational cracks, where mosquitoes could find their way in, and seal any you might find.
Also check for leaks which could end up creating water pooling around the structure.
Clean clogged-up gutters. Gutters will typically clog up with leaves, debris, and other junk during the wintertime.
This clogging can help stop up drainage systems, creating puddling of water which can stagnate, and attract more mosquitoes.
When it warms up after the ice and snow go their way, get up there and give your gutters (and street gutter in front of your home) a thorough “once-over.”
Remove stagnant water. Remember, mosquitoes love to hang around and breed in stagnant water.
Minimize the accumulation of water around your house as much as possible.
Empty collected water out of all the wheelbarrows, old tires, buckets, planters, and any other spots where rainwater may collect.
Empty and refill kiddie pools, bird feeders, pet dishes, etc., with fresh water.
Fill in low-lying areas. After the snow and ice melt, fill in any sinkholes and ditches that might collect water during a rainfall.
Remove or fill in hollow trees and logs. Remove or fill in any hollow trees, logs, and stumps in your yard to get rid of more areas capable of collecting stagnant water.
By filling these areas in, you’ll also be getting rid of possible habitation areas for future winters’ hibernating mosquitoes.
Bug lights. Yellow outdoor bug lights won’t necessarily keep mosquitoes away, but it can help make your property less appealing at night to would-be insect intruders.
In-Season Mosquito Control Tips
Preventive measures are always the key to winning the battle against any pests, but such measures are not always foolproof for the entire season.
If you happen to live in a hot, humid area, plan on seeing mosquitoes a-plenty all throughout the warm weather months.
The very best thing you can focus on is the disruption of their natural habitats/breeding cycle.
Try these tips throughout mosquito season:
Preventive measures are always the key to winning the battle against any pests, but such measures are not always foolproof to last all summer.
Plan on seeing mosquitoes a-plenty all during mosquito season. The very best thing you can focus on is the disruption of their natural habitats/breeding cycle.
Vigilance after rainstorms. Summer rains are always good for the lawn and plants, but they also create puddles that will attract mosquitoes if left unattended. Inspect your yard/property after each time it rains, do what you can to drain or fill in these areas.
Cover boats, kiddie pools, hot tubs, grills, etc. Keep items that may harbor stagnant water covered or overturned when not in use. Whenever possible, drain and refill water in bird baths, fountains, pet dishes, etc.
Keep your lawn cut short, bushes/shrubbery trimmed. You don’t want to leave tall grass or dense shrubbery available for mosquitoes to harbor in.
They pocket in shady, humid areas, including in unkempt grass and plant life. Keeping your lawn well-kept will also help keep fleas and tick populations in check.
Clean your pool! For the most part, mosquitoes stay away from well-kept swimming pools, as the chlorine will repel them. Install a larvicide dunk if necessary.
If you your pool goes unused or goes uncleaned for too long, you will likely see more of them. Note that pool covers can collect rainwater, so drain out this water as much as possible.
Effective mosquito repellents. There are many mosquito repellents on the market, including Citronella candles and coils for smaller, confined areas, and bug zappers for larger area coverage.
Smoke also repels them. Experiment to find the ones that work best for your family’s situation.
Personal mosquito protection. Whenever you will be in areas where mosquitoes may try to feed on you, be sure to protect yourself and your family.
- Try to avoid going outdoors as much as possible in the early morning or early evening (these are peak mosquito times).
- Wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever possible.
- Apply mosquito repellent on any exposed skin. Green personal mosquito repellents like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Natural Insect Repellent™ are good if you're wanting to manage insect pests safely.
- Treat personal items (e.g., pants, socks, boots, tents, etc.) with mosquito repellent.
When Does Mosquito Season End?
How do you know when you don’t have to worry about mosquitoes anymore? Temperature. As it gets cooler, you will notice a decline in the number of mosquitoes. Non-hibernating mosquitoes will begin to “keel over” as the temperature goes back down toward the 50° F mark (at about 60° F mosquitoes become lethargic and less mobile). Hibernating mosquitoes will seek harborage in convenient spots, like animal refuges and hollow logs. As a rule of thumb, the first frost is usually a solid sign of mosquito season’s end.
Be Ready For Mosquito Season – Whenever It Starts
When does mosquito season start in your state? Whether in February, June or any other time, you can prepare and do what you need to in order to keep these pests away. If you are faced with a really heavy infestation, it may be a good idea to call a professional. In the meantime, at least you can do what you can to make it more bearable for you and your family!
What do you do to prepare for mosquito season? Leave us a comment below!