Whether you want to go on a walk, host a barbecue or take a boat out on the water, you probably have to contend with mosquitoes buzzing in your ear. There are ways to minimise your exposure with smart choices and sound information about the habits of these pesky insects.
Most people know that mosquitoes tend to congregate near water. However, this is only partially true. The fact is that water is where mosquitoes breed and lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae need to live in water to survive. In fact, throughout a mosquito’s life cycle, all primary development is completed in the water. When the adult mosquito finally matures enough to leave, it will eventually return to lay eggs of its own and start the cycle all over again.
Stagnant water is often preferable for breeding. The still waters allow the eggs to incubate undisturbed. This means that ponds, swamps and other wetlands are often overrun with mosquitoes during the breeding season. Mosquitoes are adaptable, which is why you may also find them breeding in other water sources around your home. Open containers of water outside such as watering cans or pools can attract these pests.
The exact breeding preferences depend on the type of mosquito. Although all mosquitoes seem the same, there are more than 3,000 types of mosquitoes throughout the world. This includes every continent except Antarctica. However, some species are more prevalent in North America.
One type of mosquito you have surely encountered is known colloquially as the house mosquito. These mosquitoes live farther north and have white stripes on their brown bodies. House mosquitoes thrive in stagnant, polluted water, which makes them common in more residential areas.
If you live farther south, you may run into the southern mosquito. This species thrives in tropical climates and is also found in stagnant bodies of water. Unfortunately, the southern mosquito is known to carry various diseases including West Nile Virus. You are more likely to encounter this mosquito at night.
Some mosquitoes are more aggressive than others. In particular, the Asian tiger mosquito is a prolific biter. This species has white stripes on its body. While other mosquitoes prefer the night, Asian tiger mosquitoes feed during the day. They also prefer clean water, and their eggs hatch quickly, making them difficult to control. Since these mosquitoes are not the best at flying, they often do not get far from their breeding sites.
Mosquitoes breed based on the weather conditions. For most mosquitoes, ideal breeding weather starts at 50 degrees. However, the temperature usually needs to get substantially higher to sustain a larger population. This is why mosquitoes are most noticeable during the hottest parts of summer. Activity tapers off as the weather cools. Mosquitoes look for a place to hibernate when the temperature falls below 50 degrees.