As the weather gets warmer, you will soon be seeing those annoying mosquitoes. As you notice more of these insects with their itchy bites and their infuriating buzzing, you may wonder where they are coming from.
In this post, you will discover that they live in different environments at different periods in their life cycle.
Do Mosquitoes Have a Nest?
Mosquitoes don’t use a nest to live or breed. They are not social insects, such as ants or bees, and have no use of a nest.
However, they do favor certain conditions for living and breeding. As a homeowner, you can do your part to make sure they don’t thrive in your yard. But it’s not as easy as destroying a nest.
Most mosquitoes are active at dusk, dawn, or at night, although certain species do bite in the daytime. When they are not active, they search for shady, sheltered places to rest or sleep.
They prefer dark, slightly humid conditions and not direct sunlight. You may find them sheltering under small trees or bushes, in caves, holes in the ground, hollow logs, or holes in trees.
You can also find them hiding in human constructions like garages, barns, basements, somewhere in the house where it’s somber and calm. They prefer shady concealed places to sleep rather than open and bright situations.
As there are more than 3000 species of mosquitoes, they don’t all have the same preferences for their habitats.
Mosquitoes prefer warm, humid environments but are found all around the world except in Antarctica and Iceland. In tropical climates, mosquitoes can be active all year, and in temperate climates, with cold winters, adult mosquitoes will die or hibernate.
Some mosquitoes like living near people and will be found in your garden around trees, bushes, and long grass. Other species may be found further from human habitation, in forests or swamps.
Many mosquitoes lay their eggs directly in water, and others lay their eggs in damp soil. Wherever they lay their eggs, they need water to hatch.
Some mosquitoes lay their eggs in permanent water. This could be clean water or stagnant water that contains nutrients. Permanent water bodies remain for long periods of the year or all year round. These could be lakes, ponds, rivers, swamps, natural or man-made areas of water.
Permanent water mosquitoes may cause continuing problems during the clement season or even all year round in tropical climates; temporary water mosquitoes may emerge simultaneously in large numbers. This may occur after heavy rainfall.
Floodwater mosquitoes lay their eggs in damp soil or waterlogged ground. This could be damp areas in fields and meadows, floodplains along rivers or streams, temporary pools created after heavy rain, irrigated fields, or drainage ditches that fill after rain.
After laying the eggs, the soil drys out, the also eggs dry out and survive in the soil through winter and spring. When there is heavy rain, the soil is flooded, and this is the cue for the eggs to hatch.
Several common mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in containers. These could be natural (tree‐holes, bamboo, rock‐pools, etc.) or human-made (water tanks, bottles, tires, birdbaths, flowerpots, gutters, etc.).
The Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting several dangerous diseases, often lay their eggs just above the waterline of artificial containers. When it rains, the containers fill, and the eggs hatch.
Other mosquito species, notably the Aedes sollicitans, the eastern saltmarsh mosquito, and the Aedes taeniorhynchus, or the black salt marsh mosquito, can breed in saltwater.
Where do mosquitoes live during development?
The quick answer is in water.
You have seen above that mosquitoes lay their eggs in different settings, either in water or where the eggs will be in water at some stage. They need water to hatch. Once they have water, the eggs hatch quite rapidly, normally within 48 hours.
Larvae and Pupae
Once hatched, the larva lives in the water, breathing air from the water surface and feeding on microorganisms and organic matter found in the water.
As they grow, the larva outgrows their outer skin and molts four times. During the fourth molt, the larva changes into a pupa. The larval stage can last from 4 to 14 days, depending on species, temperature, and food.
In the pupal stage, no feeding occurs and is a resting stage similar to the cocoon stage in a butterfly.
The pupa needs to breathe and rests near the water surface but can dive deeper when they sense a change in light or a danger. This stage can last from 2 days to a week, and when complete, the pupal skin splits, and the adult mosquito emerges.
After the adults appear, they stay on the water surface for a short time to allow their bodies to dry out and harden. They then fly off to feed on nectar, and in a day or two, they will mate. The females will then look for a blood meal to develop their eggs, and the cycle will start again.
How to combat mosquitoes in your yard and home.
Mosquitoes need water to breed and they can go from eggs to adult in about 8-10 days, although this can change with species and conditions.
Not all mosquitoes transmit diseases, but it is still good to take some simple steps to protect you and your family.
- Remove any sources of standing water around your property; this could be old tires, plastic sheets, unused pools, flower pots, children’s toys, buckets… anything that can contain water. Mosquitoes only need a tiny amount of water to breed, so generally, keeping your garden clean and tidy is good practice.
- For birdbaths and pet drinking bowls, empty and refill at least once a week.
- Bigger containers that can’t be emptied, such as rain barrels, should be tightly covered. For other water bodies that can’t be drained, like ponds, you can add a larvicide.
- Cutting long weeds and bushes may reduce the number of places adult mosquitoes can find shelter.
- If you work outside, you are at greater risk so protect yourself with repellents, protective clothing, and even a hat with a head net.
- Fit screens on your doors and windows to stop the mozzies from entering your house.
Mosquito control is the best defense, against the threat of mosquito borne diseases, such as West Nile virus, dengue or Zika virus. Play your part and make your locality a safer more enyoyable place to live.