Mosquito Facts:


Mosquito Life Cycle: The mosquito goes through four separate and distinct stages of its life cycle and they are as follows: Egg, Larva (go through 4 stages of growth, known as instars), pupae, and adult. Each of these stages can be easily recognized by their special appearance. There are four common species of mosquitoes thriving in Valley County. They are Aedes, Anopheles, Culex, and Culiseta.





















  1.  Egg: In the case of Culex and Culiseta species, the eggs are stuck together in rafts(illustration above) of a hundred or more eggs. Anopheles and Aedes species do not make egg rafts but lay their eggs separately. Culex, Culiseta, and Anopheles lay their eggs on water while Aedes lay their eggs on damp soil that will be flooded by water. Most eggs hatch into larvae within 48 hours depending on temperature.

  2. Larva: The larva (larvae - plural) live in the water and come to the surface to breathe. They shed their skin four times growing larger after each molting. Most larvae have siphon tubes for breathing and hang from the water surface. Anopheles larvae do not have a siphon and they lay parallel to the water surface. The larva feed on micro-organisms and organic matter in the water. On the fourth molt the larva changes into a pupa.

  3. Pupae: The pupae stage is a resting, non-feeding stage. This is the time the mosquito turns into an adult. It takes about two days before the adult is fully developed. When metamorphosis is complete, the pupal skin splits and the mosquito emerges as an adult.

  4. Adult: The newly emerged adult rests on the surface of the water for a short time to allow itself to dry and all its parts to harden. Also, the wings have to spread out and dry properly before it can fly. The egg, larvae and pupae stages depend on temperature and species characteristics as to how long it takes for development. For instance, Culex tarsalis might go through its life cycle in 14 days at 70 F and take only 10 days at 80 F. Also, some species have naturally adapted to go through their entire life cycle in as little as four days or as long as one month.



Mosquitos Facts:

  1. Only female mosquitoes bite animals and drink blood. Protein is needed from the blood, so the eggs can me laid. Male mosquitoes do not bite, but feed on the nectar of flowers.
  2. Mosquitoes hibernate. They are cold-blooded and prefer 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, while others lay their eggs in freezing water and die. The eggs keep until the temperatures rise, and they can hatch.
  3. West Nile virus came to the U.S. in 1999. Scientists first identified it in a feverish woman in Uganda – the West Nile district – in 1937. There were large outbreaks of the virus reported in Israel, South Africa, and Romania up through the late '90s. The virus first appeared in the United States in 1999 with an epidemic in New York 
  4. The female’s saliva contains an anti-coagulant that lets her more easily suck up her meal. The saliva induces an allergic response from her victim’s immune system; that’s why your skin gets an itchy bump.
  5. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide (CO2), lactic acid and other chemicals found in our breath and sweat, and they also sense the heat emmited from our through infrared radiation  at 50 - 70 feet.
  6. Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest “animal” in the world. The Anopheles mosquito, in particular, is dangerous because it transmits malaria, which kills more than one million people every year, primarily in Africa. Alexander the Great is believed to have died of malaria in 323 B.C.Anopheles mosquitoes are the only mosquito which transmits malaria to man.




















Habitat: 

  1. All mosquitoes must have water in which to complete their life cycle. This water can range in quality from melted snow water to sewage effluent and it can be in any container imaginable. The type of water in which the mosquito larvae is found can be an aid to the identification of which species it may be. Also, the adult mosquitoes show a very distinct preference for the types of sources in which to lay their eggs. They lay their eggs in such places such as tree holes that periodically hold water, tide water pools in salt marshes, sewage effluent ponds, irrigated pastures, rain water ponds, etc. Each species therefore has unique environmental requirements for the maintenance of its life cycle.
  2. The feeding habits of mosquitoes are quite unique in that it is only the adult females that bite man and other animals. The male mosquitoes feed only on plant nectar. Some female mosquitoes prefer to feed on only one type of animal or they can feed on a variety of animals. Female mosquitoes feed on man, domesticated animals, such as cattle, horses, goats, etc.; all types of birds including chickens; all types of wild animals including deer, rabbits; and they also feed on snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads.
  3. Most female mosquitoes have to feed on an animal and get a sufficient blood meal before she can develop eggs. If they do not get this blood meal, then they will die without laying viable eggs. However, some species of mosquitoes have developed the means to lay viable eggs without getting a blood meal.
  4. The flight habits of mosquitoes depend again on the species with which we are dealing. Most domestic species remain fairly close to their point of origin while some species known for their migration habits are often an annoyance far from their breeding place. The flight range for females is usually longer than that of males. Many times wind is a factor in the dispersal or migration of mosquitoes. Most mosquitoes stay within a mile or two of their source. However, some have been recorded as far as 75 miles from their breeding source.
  5. The length of life of the adult mosquito usually depends on several factors: temperature, humidity, sex of the mosquito and time of year. Most males live a very short time, about a week; and females live about a month depending on the above factors.