Mosquito Life Cycle
Life Cycle Stages
The length of the mosquito life cycle varies between species and is dependent upon environmental conditions such as temperature and moisture. However, the life cycle of all mosquitoes is comprised of the egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages.
Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar alone, while females extract the blood of hosts in order to develop and nourish eggs. Most mosquitoes lay their eggs directly into water. Others lay their eggs near bodies of water but not within them.
Eggs will hatch into larvae within 24 to 48 hours. Larvae soon grow to become approximately 5 mm in length. Most larvae breathe through air tubes. Larger larvae can be seen floating just above the surface of infested waters. Larvae and pupae usually cannot survive without water. If a water source evaporates before the larvae and pupae within it transform into adult mosquitoes, those young often will die.
Within seven to ten days, larvae enter the pupal stage. Pupae are also visible upon the surface of the breeding site. After a mosquito is fully developed, it will emerge as an adult from its pupal case. At this time, the new adult stands upon the water and dries its wings to prepare for flight. Adult female mosquitoes will then seek an animal on which to feed. Females are capable of flying for miles if necessary and can lay over 100 eggs at a time.
Encounters & Concerns
Where will a homeowner encounter the eggs, larvae, and pupae life cycle stages? Encounters with potential mosquito developmental sources can be places where you might not expect. Almost any source of water found on a homeowner’s property can support these developmental stages, and unless a homeowner is diligent to inspect their property, adults are going to be a problem.
Adult mosquitoes creating problems on your property may have come from a water source miles away, but also may have come from a water source located near your home. For example, two areas of concern that might not occur to homeowners are stopped up gutters that hold water and corrugated plastic downspout extensions that direct water away from the house.
Mosquitoes are notorious for their involvement in disease transmission, creating annoyances, interfering with outdoor recreation activities, and even ruining a good night sleep. Another concern related to bites is the possibility of secondary infections of mosquito bites that are scratched and become infected with bacteria.