When the heat of summer finally starts dying down, one trade-off for the loss of warm weather is less time swatting at mosquitoes. Since these bloodsucking pests are most prevalent in the summertime, you might think they all simply die off during the winter. However, this isn’t the case. So, where do mosquitos go in the winter?
While it’s true that mosquitoes can’t function properly if the environment is colder than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, these insects have a number of ways of outlasting the winter months. They’re simply a bit less active in warmer areas, and in colder regions, they may survive by hibernating or investing their energy in laying eggs. Regardless of how mosquitoes survive in your region, a good pest control company can help keep these pests away from your home.
Mosquito Life Cycle
To understand how mosquitoes spend the year, you first need to know the mosquito’s life cycle. Although the details differ slightly by species, female mosquitoes lay eggs on damp surfaces, preferably near a source of water or directly in the water. When the eggs get wet, they can develop into mosquito larvae that live in the water. Most larval mosquitoes become pupae within about five days. Two to three days later, they emerge from the water as adult mosquitoes.
The whole process takes between five to 40 days, varying by species. After that, the adult mosquito may have a lifespan of anywhere from a week to several months. Male mosquitoes tend to live shorter lives than adult females, who can produce between 50 and 500 eggs in a single brood and may lay up to 10 broods in a lifetime. Thus, a single female can produce many mosquitoes within weeks.
Reproduction, Hibernation, or Shelter
Where do mosquitoes go in the winter? It depends on the type of mosquito. The various species of mosquitoes have several different ways of outlasting cold temperatures. First of all, mosquito eggs are hardier than actual mosquitoes and can survive without food or water for up to eight months. Thus, even if you succeed in killing an entire population of adult mosquitoes, a new generation may be protected by dry, cold weather.
Some mosquito species can even undergo a form of insect hibernation called diapause. As with hibernating mammals, the weather’s cooling triggers mosquitoes to begin to store up nutrients and eventually lower their metabolisms enough that they can lay low all winter in hollow logs, animal burrows, or other crevices.
Diapause is more common in pupae, which can survive beneath the surface of frozen water than adult mosquitoes. However, species native to temperate climates have evolved to be reasonably tolerant of cold. Some can even survive freezing temperatures.
There’s one more shelter option: A human’s home has everything a mosquito needs to overwinter the colder months. During winter, taking shelter indoors gives mosquitoes warm temperatures, water, and a blood meal whenever they want it.
Warmer weather and the presence of water can both serve to awaken mosquitoes from diapause or trigger eggs to hatch and pupae to resume growth. The actual start of mosquito season will depend on where you live.
For example, it may begin as early as February in south Texas and Florida. However, it usually takes a few weeks to a few months to reach peak population levels.
How to Keep Mosquitoes From Laying Eggs in Your Outdoor Gear
Mosquito bites aren’t just uncomfortable; mosquitoes themselves can pass on blood-borne diseases like malaria or the Zika virus. While this is thankfully rare in the US, it’s still a good idea for homeowners to take steps to keep mosquitoes away. One of the most common prevention methods is getting rid of standing water sources in and around your home. Pooling water is where mosquitoes reproduce.
To eliminate breeding grounds, check gutters, flower pots, outdoor trash cans, and other places where water might pool. Unfortunately, water features like birdbaths are often prime breeding grounds, so you may consider keeping these far away from inhabited areas of your property. If mosquitoes continue to be a problem, look into mosquito-repellent landscaping options like planting marigolds or using cedar mulch.
Our Recommendations for Professional Mosquito Control
Of course, there are times when it’s time to call in the professionals for effective elimination. Here are a few of the top pest control companies that can do this for you using high-quality equipment and products.
Our top recommendation for mosquito control, Hawx Pest Services, is available at 15 locations in 12 states across the US. Find out whether the company serves your area by calling 1-818-273-1741 or filling out this quick form.
If Hawx isn’t available where you live, Terminix is also an excellent choice. This nationwide company offers both prevention and control of mosquito problems. Request a free quote by filling out this easy form or calling 1-866-569-4035.
Another nationwide provider, Orkin, prides itself on training its technicians, who will customize mosquito control methods to fit your home’s needs. Call 1-877-868-1416 or fill out this simple form to see how much an Orkin plan could cost you.
Bulwark Exterminating has 25 urban centers throughout the country, providing quick mosquito control. Find the one closest to you by filling out this online form or calling 1-844-567-2094.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our pest control recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. We review pest control plans, navigate the provider website, speak with customer service representatives by phone and online chat (if available), request quotes, and analyze customer reviews for each provider. We then score the provider against our review standards for plans and services, reputation and customer responses, customer service offerings, workmanship guarantees, financing, and availability to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.
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