There are four life stages a mosquito goes through before reaching maturity. Gaining an understanding about these life stages can help you to effectively prepare for and prevent a mosquito problem within your home. The life cycle is the same for almost every mosquito, but there are a few variations depending on the species and other factors such as climate and water temperature.
Mosquitos lay hundreds of eggs every few days, usually after a blood feed. They usually do so at night and the eggs can be nearly impossible to see because they are dark in color. The most important factor when a mosquito lays a set of eggs is that there is a watery environment nearby.
This could be a swimming pool, bath tub, shower or pond. Typically, when a mosquito lays her eggs, the eggs attach themselves together to form ‘rafts’ which then float on water. These rafts are about ¼ inch long. There are, however, a few species of mosquito such as Ochlerotatus and Aedes that lay eggs one by one on wet soil or similar environments. Within 48 hours, the eggs hatch into larvae.
Larvae is what occurs after the eggs hatch and they are approximately 5mm in length. These are sometimes referred to as ‘wigglers’ due to the style of movement. Larva inhabits water, hanging upside down under the surface to breathe via their siphon tubes located within their tails. Anopheles larvae are devoid of a siphon, so lay just underneath the surface of the water to get an oxygen supply.
Coquillettidia and Mansonia larvae fix themselves to plants. They do this in order to gain an air supply through the plant. The larvae consume microorganisms and organic matter to survive. They are cold blooded, so rely on heat from the water to grow. The warmer the water, the more rapidly this stage develops. They shed their skin 4 times, and each time they increase in size. After the fourth shedding, the larva changes into a pupa. This is a good stage within the life cycle to use poisons and insect killers as they prevent the larvae from being able to breathe. The stage of the cycle lasts about 10 days.
The pupal stage is when a mosquito transforms into an adult. It is also referred to as the ‘resting stage’. The pupal are mobile, and respond to light and movement, but do not actively feed. Often they are referred to as ‘tumblers’ due to the way they fall into deep waters whenever a predator (such as a fish or bird) is nearby.
As they are lighter than water, the majority of their time is spent just above the surface of the water. They breathe through two tubes called ‘trumpets’. This stage of the life cycle takes about two days to complete, although it depends on the species and climate. After the resting stage, the pupal skin (or cocoon) comes apart and the adult mosquito emerges and goes to the surface of the water to sit for a while.
After the pupae have metamorphosed into an adult mosquito, it’ll rest on the surface of the water for a time allowing its skin to harden and dry out. Its wings will begin to spread and after a day or two, it’ll be able to fly and feed. Male mosquitos are able to breed as soon as their reproductive systems have developed, and die a few days after mating. From maturity to death, a male mosquito will only live about a week, with an aim to breed as much as possible. A female will live for over a month in ideal climates and will lay a batch of eggs after each blood feed.
It is important to have some awareness of the life cycle of a mosquito so that you can kill off a population before they reach maturity. It is usually during the larvae stage that effective extermination can take place. If you would like to learn more about our mosquito control services, contact us today!