How Big Can Mosquitoes Get?

Life Cycle of Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes develop into adults by complete metamorphosis, a process that involves four different life stages – egg, larva, pupa and adult.

How big are mosquito larvae?

Of the life stages, only the mosquito larvae stage grows, doing so by molting and shedding their “skin” as they grow from small 1st instar (stage) larvae that may be as small as ⅛ inch long, to 4th instar larvae that are about ½ inch long.Adults and pupae do not molt and therefore do not grow in size.

Magnified picture of mosquito

Magnified picture of mosquito

What is the size of a mosquito?

How big are mosquitoes?

The size of mosquito adults are species-specific, meaning size depends upon the species and also somewhat by the nutritional conditions of the larvae’s aquatic environment.

In general, adult mosquitoes are relatively small insects that generally are about 0.15– 0.4 inches long, although some species can be less than 0.1 inches long. However, most mosquito adults commonly encountered are close to the same size.

Examples of some common mosquito adults and their respective sizes include:

Biggest Mosquitoes in the World

Mosquitoes belonging to the genus Psorophora are exceptionally large when compared to other most other mosquito genera. One of the largest species among this group is Psorophora ciliata, a floodwater-inhabiting mosquito that is about as long as the diameter of a quarter.

The mosquito recognized as one of the largest in the world is the Australian elephant mosquito Toxorhynchites speciosus, which is about 1.5 inches long. Fortunately, this mosquito is not a blood feeder.

Mosquito Size & Blood Meals

Do female mosquitoes get bigger after consuming a blood meal? Anyone who has watched a female mosquito take a blood meal knows the answer is yes.

However, the increased size of her abdomen as it fills with blood is only temporary and the female returns to her normal size after digesting her blood meal.

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes

From repellents such as aerosols, creams, lotions, and sticks to traps, zappers and natural remedies, there’s a variety of ways to repel mosquitoes. Although protection from non-professional treatments generally lasts a few hours — after which time reapplication is necessary — here are the most common ways to help keep mosquitoes away:

Citronella Oil

Commonly used in candles, torches, and mosquito coils, this oil produces smoke that’s effective when used as a mosquito repellent outdoors. With calm winds, citronella can be a successful deterrent. However, citronella is not as effective as mosquito repellents applied directly to clothing or skin.

Repellent Sprays

Apply mosquito repellents in moderation and only to exposed skin or clothing. Mosquito repellents should never come into contact with the eyes or mouth and should not be ingested under any circumstances. Do not use mosquito repellents on or near open wounds and irritated skin. Use caution applying repellants to small children. Pregnant women should consult a doctor before use.

Traps

Traps that use propane as a heat source and carbon dioxide as an attractant are intended for large populations. These traps simulate human exhalation, thus intercepting mosquitoes before they reach humans. Traps powered through electrical cords are less expensive and are designed for use in smaller areas. Mosquito traps can be effective in killing mosquitoes, giving homeowners a sense of satisfaction. However, they often attract more mosquitoes into the area and ultimately do little to reduce the overall population.

Electric Control & Zappers

Although mosquito control devices are commonly marketed to treat heavy mosquito populations, they have not been proven effective. These devices electrocute insects that approach them. They produce unpleasant sounds and require frequent cleaning. Because these devices utilize an electrical charge, they should be kept away from children, pets, and foliage.

When used in conjunction with a mosquito control program, repellents are the most effective way to combat different types of mosquitoes and diseases spread by mosquitoes. Consult with an Orkin Pro who is armed with the tools and knowledge to develop a plan to significantly decrease breeding sources as well as the male and female mosquito populations around your property.

To learn more about mosquito control and help prevent future infestations, contact your local Orkin branch.

Resources

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