Mosquito Season – When are Mosquitoes Most Active?
As a family, the mosquito is one of the oldest creatures inhabiting the planet. They are prolific breeders and found on every continent. They are even found in geothermal-heated areas of Antarctica. So it’s no wonder they can be a nuisance.
Mosquito types number in the thousands and play unique roles in the animal kingdom. Some carry disease and feed on the blood and sugary fluids of vertebrates. Others perform vital natural services in large eco-cycles.
In the northern hemisphere, the most active months for mosquitoes to feed and reproduce are April through October. Early on, water sources are abundant. In cooler autumn months, mosquitoes increase their activity to prepare for winter dormancy. In the southern hemisphere, the coinciding months are August through March. Some equitorial regions have thriving mosquito populations all year long.
As a rule, almost every society on earth is “plagued” by a mosquito season and can learn to control their numbers through discovering how these pests behave, thrive and survive. Interestingly, elemental conditions have to be “just right” in order for mosquitoes to actively mature and reproduce. This is the key to controlling their numbers.
What Are The Perfect Conditions For Mosquito Season?
The three natural elements that result in active mosquito season colonies are:
2. Warm Temperature
3. Food Source
Virtually 100% of all mosquito larvae need to spend time growing in stagnant water. Even when putrefied, standing water is a hotbed for clusters of mosquito egg deposits. Mucous holds large clusters of mosquito eggs together near the water’s edge to provide protection and take advantage of the second most important need of a mosquito, heat.
Temperate to hot air and water surface speeds up the gestation process of mosquito eggs and the development of young mosquitoes. An amazingly adaptive creature, mosquitoes have developed reproductive survival mechanisms. In some varieties, eggs can be frozen in ice for years and remain dormant until temperatures warm up. Other varieties of mosquito eggs can rest completely dry and nearly lifeless until coming into contact with a moisture source. In this way, mosquito eggs can be more like dried seeds than active fauna.
Third, food must be present for mosquito reproduction and growth. Throughout its entire life cycle, a mosquito takes in organic matter to help with growth functions. In early stages, a soft body allows for nutrient absorption. Adult mosquitoes feed on microbiological matter in the case of the male, or blood and body fluids in the case of the venom and mandible-possessing female. The mandible is the long and penetrating stinger that is the hallmark of what everyone associates with these little bloodsuckers.
Life Cycle And Reproductive Habits Of Mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes do not consult calendars, nor plan the best times to reproduce. If the three conditions mentioned above are present, it is mosquito season! Spring through autumn in all regions will see active mosquito outbreaks. Harsh winters tend to stop hatches, kill breeding adults and eliminate food sources.
It depends on the variety, but mosquitoes have an adult lifespan that can vary from a few days, to four or five months. From the laying of eggs to adulthood, the mosquito’s development takes between four days and two weeks. Mosquitoes go through a common four-step development and emerge as adults ready to feed and reproduce. This is why nearly every mosquito seen is completely bent on drawing blood!
During breeding, male mosquitoes gather in huge swarms and circle in the air releasing pheromones to attract females. The females fly into the clusters and the males deposit genetic material mid-flight. Within a day or so, the female is ready to find a standing water source and lay eggs.
When Are Mosquitoes Most Active, And How Are They Controlled?
If an adult mosquito is alive, it is most certainly active! There really is no way to take the feeding and reproduction impulse away from these insects. Instead, local and regional conditions must be monitored and changed in order to create the least conducive areas for mosquitoes to thrive.
Remember, moisture, heat and food are what initiate “mosquito season.” Take these steps to reduce their numbers.
1. Eliminate pools of water near dwellings. This includes objects holding rainwater, long-lived mud puddles, water in clogged gutters, backed-up culverts, and pools collected by vapor barriers.
2. If water sources like ponds, reservoirs, holding tanks and seasonal lake beds cannot be eliminated, set up refillable traps to catch active adults once they emerge and are looking for their first meal.
3. Introduce carnivorous predators. Certain other midges and insects like dragonflies eat mosquitoes as a dietary staple. These “patrols” can greatly reduce mosquito numbers.
4. Be aware that mosquitoes are hatching constantly but have, in general, four-day to two-week seasons.
5. In extreme cases, or where mosquito-borne disease is identified, toxins like Pyrethrins can be broadcast in the air or water to eliminate and neutralize the most active hatches.
It’s hard to control the mosquito which is one of nature’s great survivors. Taking steps to eliminate and alter areas around your home that are perfect for mosquito reproduction is the best tool for reducing their numbers. Mosquitoes reproduce exponentially, but removing the conditions they are always drawn to will eliminate them at equally exponential rates!