Mosquito Facts

Mosquitoes have four distinctive life stages, with the first three stages being spent in the water.

Egg Stage
An adult female lays about 100-400 eggs in clusters called rafts, which float on the surface of the water, or eggs may be laid singly on the surface of the water or the waters edge depending on the species of mosquito. Within 2-3 days the eggs hatch into larvae.

Larval Stage
The larvae come to the surface to breathe through a tube called a siphon and feed on small organic particles and microorganisms in the water. Larvae are found in a wide variety of standing water sources including neglected swimming pools, ditches, storm drains, rice fields, irrigated pastures, tree holes, log ponds, snow pools, ponds, artificial containers, and even discarded car tires. Larvae their skin or molt four times during the next several days or weeks. On the fourth molt it changes into a pupa.

Pupal Stage
The pupa cannot eat. It breathes through two tubes on its back. The adult mosquito grows inside the pupa and in several days, when it is fully developed, it splits the pupal skin and emerges to complete the life cycle of the mosquito. The newly emerged adult mosquito rests on the surface of the water until it is strong enough to fly away and feed.

Adult Stage
The newly emerged adult mosquito rests on the surface of the water until it is strong enough to fly. Female mosquitoes require a blood meal to lay eggs. Male mosquitoes do not feed on blood. Diseases are transmitted when female mosquitoes feed on an infected host and then feed on an uninfected host.

Fast Facts

  • All mosquitoes must have water to complete their life cycle.
  • Mosquitoes do not develop in grass or shrubbery, although adults frequently rest in these areas during daylight hours.
  • Only the female mosquito bites to obtain a blood meal. The male mosquito feeds only on plant juices.
  • Female mosquitoes are attracted by heat and carbon dioxide to hosts such as humans, mammals, and birds.
  • The female mosquito may live as long as three weeks during the summer or several months over the winter in order to lay her eggs in the following spring.

Where do mosquitoes live and breed?

  • Mosquitoes rest in tall grass, weeds, and brush near inhabited locations such as homes and other buildings.
  • Mosquitoes breed in stagnant, standing fresh water oftentimes found around the home.
  • In tin cans, buckets, discarded tires and other artificial containers that hold stagnant water.
  • In untended pools, birdbaths, clogged rain gutters, and plastic wading pools that hold stagnant water.
  • In storm drains and catch basins in urban areas.
  • In septic seepage and other foul water sources above or below ground level.
  • In agricultural irrigation.

What can I do to reduce mosquitoes breeding near my house?

  • Whenever water stands for four to seven days, mosquitoes can multiply. Eliminating even small amounts of standing water eliminates mosquitoes.
  • Dispose of empty cans, buckets, flowerpots, old tires, trash cans, etc.
  • Clear clogged roof gutters.
  • Change water in bird baths and fountains at least once a week.
  • Flush sump pump pits weekly.
  • Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
  • Drain swimming pool covers.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate stagnant water that collects on your property.
  • Clip tall grass or weeds standing near the house or where people use the yard. Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds.

What can I do to avoid being bitten?

  • Check and repair all screens and screen doors.
  • Minimize outdoor activities between sunset and sunrise when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Avoid mosquito habitats such as areas with heavy underbrush or standing water.
  • When outdoors, wear clothing that covers the skin, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Consider spraying clothing with repellents containing permethrin, since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
  • On exposed skin, consider applying a repellant that contains DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. More information on these products can be found here: CDC Mosquito Repellant Recs 2005