How Long Do Mosquitoes Live?

By: Peter
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Mosquito life cycle - How long do mosquitoes live?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. Most adult female mosquitoes, which are the mosquitoes that bite, can live for about two weeks to a month. However, this can vary greatly, as you will see below.

What is the Lifespan of an Individual Mosquito?

An adult mosquito can live from just a few days to several months, depending on the species, sex, and environmental conditions.

You might include the time they spend as eggs, larvae, and pupae in the overall lifespan. Mosquito eggs will usually hatch within about 2 days, then develop into larvae, pupae, and adults.

The length of time each stage lasts depends on species and temperature. The whole cycle can be completed in a period as short as a few days or as long as several months.

Most mosquitoes live only in the summer when the weather is warmer, and they die in the winter when the cold weather comes. Their eggs can survive the winter or dry conditions and hatch when the warmer spring weather or wet weather comes along.

However, the fertilized females of some species can even survive winter. They go into a state similar to hibernation, called diapause. When the weather starts to get cooler in the autumn, they will eat extra sugars to increase their weight. Then find a shelter, holes in the ground, hollow logs, caves, sheds, or basements, to pass winter.

They can overwinter in these shelters for several months until the weather starts to get warmer. They then venture out and become active again. The female will search for a blood meal to develop the eggs she has carried throughout the diapause.

The Mosquito Life Cycle

Most common mosquitoes will develop from eggs to adults in about 7 to 10 days. This will depend on climatic conditions and can be as long as a month.

Let’s consider some of the species we may find in our homes or gardens.

Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito)

  • Females lay eggs on the inner walls of containers but above the waterline. The mosquito eggs can survive winter and drying out for up to 8 months.
  • The eggs hatch when they are covered with water, and the mosquito larva appears. They are also known as wrigglers.
  • The larvae feed in the water and develop into pupae after as little as 5 days. The mosquito pupae live in the water but don’t feed.
  • The pupae develop into adult mosquitoes. The adult mosquito emerges from the pupa and flies away. The pupal stage typically lasts 2 to 3 days.

Culex pipiens and Culex quinquefasciatus

The life cycle of the Culex species is very similar to the Aedes accept they lay their eggs in the water. Most eggs hatch within 48 hours.

How Long Do Female vs. Male Mosquitoes Live?

Female mosquitoes live longer than males. A male that only feeds on plant nectar will typically live for about a week. In which time, if he’s in good health, he will mate with a female or several females.

A female can live for up to a month or two. This depends on avoiding predators, such as birds, bats, or dragonflies, and staying alive despite us humans’ best attempts to kill them with traps, insecticides, and even a slap as they are trying to bite us.

Strong winds can also eliminate mosquitoes. After strong winds, you may notice there are no mosquitoes around. Then a few days later, there will be swarms of insects.

This is because heavy rainfall is often associated with winds. This can cause floods or replenish water sources. Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, but others lay their eggs on dry ground, prone to flooding. When those eggs are covered with water, the mosquitoes will hatch and develop into adults in about a week if conditions are right.

How Long Can Mosquitoes Live Inside a House?

Mosquitoes can survive in a house for a period of a few days to a month or more. Most mosquitoes will enter your house looking for a blood meal. Once they have bitten someone, they will probably find a way out to lay their eggs outside.

But if there is a water source in the house suitable for her eggs where the larvae can develop, you may have a constant mosquito problem.

A mosquito may enter your house, bite you, and lay eggs in any water she finds. This could be a decorative plant pot or saucer with no drainage holes, drains in showers that are rarely used, drip pads in fridges, AC units or dehumidifiers, or pet drinking bowls that aren’t regularly cleaned.

To avoid any problems, empty and clean any of the above water sources once a week. Remember, some mosquitoes lay their eggs on the sides of containers above the waterline; that’s why it’s important to clean these containers thoroughly.

If possible, keep the mosquitoes outside by using screens and eliminate any stagnant water in your yard to keep their numbers down.

You can find more fascinating facts about mosquitoes here.

Why Does the Female Mosquito Live Longer than the Male Mosquito?

Female mosquitoes live longer than their male counterparts. When mosquitoes emerge from the pupal stage, they want to eat and breed.

A male mosquito will feed and search for a female to mate with within the first days after emerging. They may have to wait 24 hours or more for their reproductive parts to develop. Then they will find a female by the sound of her wing beat, which usually takes place in a mating swarm. The male and female will join together, and the sperm will be transferred to the females.

After successfully inseminating a female, the male can mate with other females but will usually only live a few days after completing their role.

The females will generally only mate once but will be capable of producing several batches of eggs. They need the extra protein provided by blood meals to produce the eggs.

The females live longer due to their reproductive role – to develop, carry, and lay eggs.

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Peter spends most of his time outside in his large garden. He has been fighting mosquitoes for a few years trying different traps and repellents without using agressive chemicals.

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