As evening approaches and the air cools, the unwelcome hum of mosquitoes becomes all too…
Mosquitoes are the bane of human existence when it comes to itchy bites and transmitting deadly diseases. They are found all over North America and are a significant concern for public health.
One thing that makes mosquitoes particularly challenging to control is their affinity for water. In this article, we will explore why mosquitoes like water, their common breeding grounds, breeding seasons, and how to deter them from standing water.
Why do mosquitoes like water?
Mosquitoes like water because they need standing water to breed.
Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, and the larvae and pupae develop in the water until they become adult mosquitoes. Mosquitoes require standing water to lay their eggs because the eggs need a moist environment to develop.
Mosquitoes actually have tiny sensor hairs (bristles) that enable them to smell odor particles in the air. With these bristles, mosquitoes can smell the presence of water from over 100 feet away, making their sense of smell stronger than their eyesight.
Common mosquito breeding grounds
Mosquitoes are attracted to and breed in any standing water, including small puddles, stagnant ponds, ditches, and even in containers like flower pots, bird baths, and gutters.
Here are some of the most common breeding grounds for mosquitoes:
Ponds and lakes – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of still water. Ponds and lakes are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Pools – Even though pools are chlorinated, chlorine is not guaranteed to kill mosquitoes in the amount typically found in pools.
Swamps and marshes – are also excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes. They are usually full of stagnant water, and the humidity makes it an ideal environment for the eggs to hatch.
Rainwater barrels – Rainwater barrels are commonly used to collect water for gardening. However, they can also be a breeding ground for mosquitoes if they are not adequately covered.
Bird baths – Bird baths are a common source of standing water in residential areas. They are a popular breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Other water receptacles – Flower pots, cups, troughs, etc., also provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Breeding Seasons of Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes breed throughout the year, but their breeding activity increases during the warm and wet months. Summer months are the peak mosquito breeding season in North America.
Mosquitoes require warm temperatures to develop, and standing water is abundant during the rainy season, providing the perfect environment for mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes can breed within two days of laying their eggs, and the entire breeding process can take as little as a week.
In tropical climates – like Florida, mosquitoes will breed year-long, which makes them a constant threat.
How Long is the Mosquito Lifecycle?
The mosquito life cycle from egg to adult mosquito is typically between 6 and 21 days depending on conditions and the sub-species. However it is not unheard of for mosquito eggs to lay dormant for over a year until proper conditions are met.
How to Identify Mosquito Eggs
There are several species of mosquitoes that live in North America, and each species has unique characteristics that make their eggs distinguishable from one another. However, mosquito eggs even in great numbers are typically very small and hard to spot unless with a magnifying glass or trained eye.
Common mosquito species found in North America and how to identify their eggs:
Aedes aegypti – Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, is a common mosquito species found in the southern United States. Their eggs are small, black, and oval-shaped. They are usually laid in clusters of 50 to 100 and can be found on the surface of standing water.
Aedes albopictus – Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian tiger mosquito, is another common mosquito species found in the southern United States. Their eggs are also black and oval-shaped, but they have a white, rafty surface that makes them easy to identify. The eggs are usually laid in small groups and can be found in a variety of water sources, including bird baths, flower pots, and discarded containers.
*Aedes Albopictus eggs look nearly identical to Aedes aegypti.
Culex pipiens – Culex pipiens, also known as the common house mosquito, is a widespread mosquito species found throughout North America. Their eggs are elongated and light brown in color. They are usually laid in small groups of 100 to 300 and can be found on the surface of stagnant water.
Anopheles quadrimaculatus – Anopheles quadrimaculatus is a mosquito species found in the eastern and southern United States. Their eggs are oval-shaped and dark brown to gold in color. They are usually laid in small groups of 30 to 200 and can be found on the surface of still water.
How to deter mosquitoes from water
Now that we know why mosquitos like water, here are some effective ways to deter mosquitoes from breeding in water:
- Remove standing water – Your best option to keep mosquitoes from breeding is to remove the standing/stagnant water. Make sure to drain any stagnant water around your home, including in flower pots, bird baths, and gutters.
- Cover surfaces with standing water – Cover your surfaces like pools, rainwater barrels, etc., to prevent mosquitoes from accessing them. You can use a tight-fitting lid or cover the opening with a fine mesh screen.
- Use mosquito dunks – Mosquito dunks are an effective way to control mosquito larvae in standing water. These dunks contain a bacterium that kills mosquito larvae without harming other organisms in the water.
- Create moving water – If you have a use for standing water like a pond or bird bath, consider adding a fountain pump or water pump to create moving water which will greatly deter mosquitos from laying eggs.
- Use mosquito-repellant plants – There are a number of plants that repel mosquitoes through their strong scent and oils. This is a great way to simultaneously beautify your home/garden and discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs on your property. You can also use tea tree oil.
- Utilize a pest control service – A reliable pest control company like Mozzie Dome can deter mosquitoes from your yard and surrounding home for weeks with proper treatment. Utilizing environmentally conscious and EPA-approved repellant sprays with up to 95% effectiveness.
In conclusion, mosquitoes like water because they need it in order to breed, and standing water provides an ideal environment for their eggs to develop. The best way to prevent mosquito breeding is to eliminate standing water from your yard where possible, maintain your swimming pool, consider products like mosquito dunks and pest control services, like us!