With the cooler fall air moving in, you may have noticed fewer mosquitoes buzzing around when you’re enjoying the outdoors. But where did they go? Being informed can actually help you combat their pesky return come spring. Read on to find out how!
We often hear how important water is to the life cycle of a mosquito, but temperature is also really important. Mosquitoes are cold blooded insects which means they can not control their own body temperatures. During warmer months mosquitoes are very active but as the weather begins to cool they begin to slow down, with less flying and biting. In fact, even their actual life cycle takes longer to complete when the temperature is not warm enough!
The ideal temperature for mosquitoes is 80 degrees, they begin to slow as the temps dip below 60 degrees and when the thermometer hits 50 degrees they either die off or go into something called diapause. This is a state where insects delay their development and slow their metabolism to survive the unfriendly climate.
Learn More: Diapause vs. Hibernation: Key Differences
Female mosquitoes will search for dark and warm areas to shelter in like trees, the ground or even a basement or attic of a home. This is where they will reside until the climate becomes ideal for insects again. They are not “sleeping” but in a suspended state, and can stay this way for up to six months until the weather improves. Male mosquitoes on the other hand have a short life span of about 10 days and most don’t even make it to those crisp fall days. The few that do, simply die off when the temperature becomes too cold.
Learn More: Difference Between Male and Female Mosquitoes
The fall season is also when the female mosquitoes lay their eggs. Each female mosquito will lay between 100 and 300 eggs in areas with standing water. This includes plants, moist soil and any containers holding at least a half-inch of water. These eggs will remain dormant in this water, even when frozen, and will hatch when the weather warms up again and there is enough rain.
It is important to remember that it is not just the mosquitoes that survive this stretch of cold weather. Some of the viruses and diseases that these insects carry also return when the eggs hatch and the female mosquitoes come out of their diapause state.
Learn More: Mosquito Borne Diseases
So, while you may only be considering mosquito control when they are out and about, it’s equally important to take steps as “mosquito season” comes to an end in your location. Take the time to check for standing water in items like buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots and trash containers. Limiting the opportunities for mosquitoes to lay eggs in and around your home will benefit you come spring!
For more tips on mosquito control in and around your home check out the CDC’s guide.