In most parts of the country, the mosquito population drops precipitously once the weather drops, which could make it easy to believe that all of those pests die off during the winter. For all the reasons that someone may be sad to see the summer end, getting away from mosquitos and the myriad diseases they carry is not one of them.
The question, though, is where do all the mosquitoes go during the winter months? How can they torment us so completely when it’s hot and humid and then disappear without a trace at the first sign of cool weather?
The answer lies in the life cycle of the mosquito, which works in a such a way that, no matter how much preventative pest control you may do, adult mosquitos will be ready for sucking our blood and leaving those itchy welts on our skin every summer.
The Mosquito Life Cycle
Put as simply as possible, mosquitos do not die during the winter, but how a mosquito survives depends entirely on the species. Regardless of species, however, the life cycle of the mosquito explains why it’s possible for them to survive. As is the case with many birds and insects, it all starts with an egg.
As outside temperatures begin to fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit consistently, adult female mosquitoes deposit their final batches of eggs in water-holding “rafts” that hold just enough moisture to help these eggs enter a state of diapause, which suspends their development until the weather gets warm. Come spring, when the temperatures rise and consistent rainfall resumes, the eggs are re-submerged in water and then hatch.
After the egg hatches, the larval mosquito will live in the water and come to the surface to breathe. They will shed their skin four times as they grow, developing siphon tubes and hanging upside down from the water surface to develop.
After their fourth molt, the mosquito enters the pupal stage, which is a resting, non-feeding stage of the insect’s development. Similar to metamorphosis in butterflies, this is when the adolescent mosquito turns into an adult.
Once the pupa has transformed completely into an adult mosquito, it rests on the surface of the water just long enough for its new body to harden. Then, the wings spread and dry, and the mosquito is free to begin blood feeding and mating a few days later.
What Homeowners Can Do to Stop Mosquitos From Returning after Winter
The best way to minimize the impacts of mosquitos near your home is to minimize the amount of standing water you’ve got, especially after the snow melts and the spring rains pick back up. Unclog gutters, making sure all water has a place to drain, and keep trash cans closed and tightly sealed.
Or, if you feel as though the problem has gone beyond your capabilities, consider calling a mosquito control company like Action Pest Exterminating. We can help limit your mosquito problems so that once the winter freeze ends, those bloodsucking pests don’t immediately ruin your first few weeks of summer.