Everyone loves a dead mosquito. The disease-spreading pesky insects are best after an open hand splat. We can keep them away with sprays and torches, but mother nature kills them off, too.
Though they populate with ease in the water, they are not always impervious to cold weather. That’s good news. The bad news is that some of them have a type of natural “anti-freeze” in their system.
And, some stay cozy and warm under inches of snow. So, you may be asking what temperature kills mosquitoes. And, how do some of them survive the winter?
Here’s everything you need to know about how some skeeters batten down the hatches in winter.
What Temperature Kills Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are found worldwide, except in Antarctica. Different species adapt to varying ecosystems (forests or urban) and a wide range of climates (tropical, temperate, polar).
Research suggests that the Aedes albopictus in the south of the USA had more trouble overwintering than the same species in the north. This shows that some species can adapt rapidly to climatic conditions.
The mosquitoes we most want to die are the females. Male mosquitoes don’t bite or lay eggs.
Of the 3500 strains of the insects, most start shutting down at temperatures of 50 degrees and lower. Being cold-blooded, they can’t regulate their own temperature, so they are affected by the cold.
In certain species, the shorter autumn days trigger a state similar to hibernation in other animals. Their metabolism slows as they wait for the return of warmer weather.
Some females don’t go down without leaving their offspring, though. They can lay their eggs in water (even if it’s frozen) before perishing. A mass kill of mosquitos would take several days of sub-zero temperatures.
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Though low temperatures can kill the insects, what keeps them warm may surprise you.
For the skeeters who prefer to wait it out for warm weather, there’s a variety of cover they can use. Like their disgusting cousin, the tick, they can burrow under leaf litter and snow to stay warm.
They can move to interiors such as outbuildings or attics, too. Most of us would not notice them as they may not be active in searching for food (your blood) during this time.
The females that mean to hibernate are hearty and consume nectar to “fatten up” before winter sets in. These survivors can live for several months.
Most other blood bandits live less than seven weeks.
Why Don’t All Mosquitoes Freeze?
Most male mosquitos will die in freezing weather. But, females have the equipment to keep going.
As we fill our cars with anti-freeze, mosquitos generate glycerol. This will replace some of the water in their system. Glycerol also reduces ice forming within their cells, so damage cannot occur.
The biochemical also lowers the temperature at which fluids will freeze. This allows survival at much lower temperatures. It would take several days of sub-zero temperatures to kill most of them.
Mosquitoes Stick Close to Home After Winter
Whether the female vampires live or die in winter, they’ll lay their last batch of eggs when the cold comes.
Those hundreds of eggs enter a state of “diapause”. This state suspends growth until warm temperatures return. They need only 1/4 inch of water and a little time to hatch.
Once they have water, they will begin their lifecycle. They’ll live about ten days in the water and then when the larvae complete the pupal stage, the adults will fly off. They will mate and then look for a blood meal.
Experts tell us they don’t go far. Most mosquitoes cannot fly long distances or fly very high. Many species stay within a few hundred feet from where they hatch.
Are There Mosquitoes That Bite in Winter?
For those who live in moderate weather, the irritating nippers can strike from the inside.
Humans who live in the Southern US find mosquitos in their house most often during the winter months. Outdoor temperatures have a fuller range, and insects prefer indoors where it’s evener.
Though they may not be as active, they might still bite sometimes. Doctors report West Nile Virus cases as late as the middle of December in pockets of the balmy south.
So, you can get bitten by mosquitoes sheltering in your house. And if you live in an area where the temperature rarely falls below 50°f in winter, the mosquitoes might still be active even though you may not think it’s still the mosquito season. Accordingly, you can get bitten in winter, although it’s quite unlikely.
Do Mosquitoes Die In Hot Weather?
Although you may often think of a mosquito dying when the weather is cold, sweltering and dry weather can also cause mosquitoes to die. Generally, mosquitoes can handle high temperatures, but they need water to breed.
Small ponds or shallow bodies of water may dry up, killing mosquito larvae and pupae. As a water body heats up, the larvae develop faster but result in smaller mosquitoes. The larvae that develop too fast may eventually die. Research for some species of mosquitoes has shown that above certain temperatures, no new adult mosquitoes appear from the breeding grounds.
Studies of adult Aedes aegypti suggest that their lifespan reduces as the temperature rises -11 days at 77°f (25°c) and 5 days at 95°f (35°c). At the same time, their egg-laying capabilities decrease at higher temperatures. So extremely high temperatures aren’t good for mosquitoes.
Annoying, Persistent, and Deadly
Mosquitoes date back to the Jurassic period, and there’s no end in sight. Like cockroaches, they may survive past any human intervention.
They’re not only annoying and itchy but deadly, too. Saliva from an Aedes species mosquito bite can have dangerous contents. The Zika Virus, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and canine heartworm can be present.
The Anopheles breed is the most fatal mosquito. This mosquito transmits malaria through a parasite in its system. Estimates are a million deaths per year, making it the most dangerous “animal” in the world.
This isn’t anything new, either. Historians believe Alexander the Great met his demise this way in 323 B.C.
What Can Kill Mosquitoes for Good?
Mosquitos do have natural predators. Though many believe bats eat them, they don’t, or at least not in great quantities. But, birds and dragonflies eat adult insects.
Fingerling fish eat the eggs and larvae of mosquitoes. Some natural items will keep them at bay, such as fire pits and sprays. For water features around the home, sprinkling coffee grounds will kill the eggs.
Preventing them in the first place will help keep your home safe. But, keeping the female adult insects away is essential too. They need 2 1/2 times their body weight in blood to develop their eggs, and they’re not picky about from where it comes.
Have some measures in place to rid your home of them. This will ensure you and your family do not become a tasty mosquito buffet. Year-round.
What Attracts Mosquitoes in the First Place?
Because the female mosquitoes are all about reproduction, they look for life-giving blood. It’s this steady diet that helps in their egg production. Since it comes from humans, each sign we give them signals dinner.
They attract to the carbon dioxide we breathe out, smells like sweat, and thin skin areas like faces and ankles. As we know, light sources can bring them in too.
Mother nature knows what temperature kills mosquitos. We can’t say there is any specific temperature that will kill mosquitoes. They adapt very well to the climate they live in. I’m afraid they will always be there to bug us after a cold or mild winter.
But, you can take charge without changing North American weather patterns. Keeping your yard clean and eliminating standing water is the first step you should take. Water containers that can’t be emptied regularly should be tightly covered. Larger areas of water can have a larvicide added to them to prevent breeding.
Zappers and traps can both attract and kill insects without any pesticides. Safe and effective, they let you enjoy your home rather than share it with untoward guests. Check our reviews for the best products for you.