Mosquitoes are one of the most annoying creatures on Earth. They come out at dusk and can ruin an evening outside in a matter of minutes.
Mosquito bites itch, swell up, and may even become infected if they aren’t handled properly. You can even get mosquito bites while sitting inside your home with all doors and windows closed!
People often wonder whether mosquitoes sleep or not? It’s true that mosquitoes don’t have eyelids but do they really need to sleep as people do? All living things require some form of rest; even plants need time to rejuvenate themselves after periods of activity.
Overall little is known about the sleep of mosquitoes. There haven’t been many studies, although it is known mosquitoes do sleep or rest. Different species may sleep at different times of the day; many mosquitoes are active at night and rest during the day.
Where Do Mosquitoes Sleep?
Where they rest will also depend on species and where they prefer to take their blood meal. Some mosquitoes prefer to feed in forests or in rural areas, others in houses and around residential areas.
Outside they will look for sheltered places such as long grass, thick weeds, on the leaves of bushes, holes in the ground, hollow trees or logs, animal burrows, caves, or culverts. They also use man-made structures like barns, sheds, garages, and in your house.
In certain climates, the resting place during the day may be different than at night. For example, in Africa, the Anopheles albimanus was found resting in rock crevices and other natural sites during the day and at night was found resting on walls and fences.
Weather conditions may also cause a mosquito to change its resting habitats. A mosquito usually found resting in vegetation may move to cooler animal burrows or barns in a hot dry spell.
Where Do Mosquitoes Hide in Your House?
Have you noticed that there don’t seem to be any mosquitoes when you go to bed? You scan the walls and ceiling – no mosquitoes! Then when you turn out the light almost straight away, you hear the annoying high-pitched buzzing.
This is because, in the house, they hide or rest in cool dark places such as behind or under furniture, in dark corners, behind doors, on the lower part of a wall, or in cupboards.
Research into the resting behavior, carried out in Mexico, to find out where Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) mosquitoes were resting in houses produced some interesting results.
- “Aedes aegypti adults predominantly rested in bedrooms (44%), followed by living rooms (25%), bathrooms (20%), and kitchens (9%).”
- 87% of mosquitoes were found resting below about 5 feet (1.5m)
Similar results have been found in other studies in Peru and Thailand.
So if you have a problem with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes searching or spraying below a height of 5 feet and possibly not bothering with the kitchen could bring some good results. A system of treatment, spraying a residual insecticide on lower walls, under furniture, etc., was tried in Australia with excellent effectiveness.
When Do Mosquitoes Sleep?
Common species tend to bite at different times. Some mosquitoes feed around dusk, dawn, or at night; others are active in the day.
The Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian tiger mosquito, and the Aedes aegypti are inclined to bite during the day, especially in the morning and early evening. The Culex pipiens or common house mosquito is more likely to bite in the evening or at night.
As they bite at different times, they also sleep or rest at different times. All mosquitoes will not be very active during the hottest moments of the day. The heat of the day and sunlight can quickly dehydrate a mosquito. They will pass the hot daylight hours in the cool, humid places mentioned above.
Aestivation and Diapause Prolonged Sleep Periods
These two states are similar to sleep but for prolonged periods.
Aestivation is a state of prolonged sleep similar to hibernation but occurs in summer during hot and dry conditions in tropical regions. The Anopheles gambiae mosquito, responsible for transmitting malaria, has been shown to aestivate during the dry season of 7 months in Africa.
The anopheles population disappears during the hot, dry season but reappears in large numbers a few days after rainfall. Knowing these mosquitoes aestivate could be important in the fight against malaria. Long-lasting or residual insecticides could be used indoors at the start of the dry season to reduce the population of aestivating mosquitoes. This would reduce the future generations and hence malaria transmission.
Diapause is similar to hibernation in mamals. Adult female mosquitoes go into the state of diapause to survive cold winter weather in temperate climates. When they go into diapause is triggered by the reducing day length (photoperiod) and temperature in autumn. The mosquito genera with adult diapause are Anopheles, Culex, and Culiseta.
In some species, it’s not the adults that go into diapause, but it can be the eggs or larvae. The female mosquitoes lay eggs in the autumn, then die, the mosquito eggs hatch the following spring. The genera of mosquitoes with embryonic diapause are Aedes, Anopheles, Psorophora, and Ochlerotatus.
Mosquitoes Sleep Position
One of the main reasons to think that mosquitoes sleep is their resting position, which is different from their active position.
In the sleep or rest posture, the mosquito lifts its hind legs, and the abdomen is moved closer to the resting surface and is set at a different angle. However, this angle can vary with different species.
The Aedes and Culex resting position is horizontal or parallel to the resting surface. The Anopheles resting position is 45° against the surface.
Mosquitoes are sneaky pests that we don’t need in our life. You have probably seen them lurking around the house, and you may have seen them sleeping without knowing it.
If you search a little behind or under furniture or in cupboards, you will find them having a rest or sleeping. A little insecticide spray in these areas may give you a mosquito-free night.
If you’re thinking about how to keep mosquitos at bay this summer without having harsh chemicals sprayed inside your home, there are a few things you can try.
- Install screens on doors and windows, or if you already have screens make sure they’re no tears or gaps.
- Sleep under a mosquito net. This will only protect you at night, but this is when mosquitoes are most annoying.
- Use an electric fan. The airflow can disrupt their flight and disperse the CO2, making it harder for them to find you.
- A mosquito trap that uses CO2 to attract mosquitoes
- Eliminate any breeding grounds in your yard. Make sure there is no standing water; even a tiny amount is enough for mosquitoes to breed.
- Keep your garden well-trimmed, as we have seen in this post, mosquitoes like shady areas to rest. Keeping your garden well-trimmed will give them fewer resting places.