Have you ever wondered why mosquitoes rarely bother you during winter, although these pesky-winged insects come in huge swarms in summer? Turns out, most species of those tiny bloodsuckers die, while others enter a stage called diapause. We’ll discuss it further in this article.
The Science Behind How Mosquitoes Survive Winter Temps
Mosquitoes are cold-blooded insects, which means they cannot regulate their body heat and their temperature is the same as their surroundings. They function best at 26 degrees Celsius and become lethargic when the temperature drops below that. That’s why when the outdoor temp is lower, you’ll notice lower mosquito activity.
If you’re wondering, “Do mosquitoes die in the winter?” the answer is yes, they do. When temperatures dip below 10 degrees Celsius, most of these tiny winged insects die. That’s why you still see a sudden increase in their population in the spring and summer. Not all mosquitoes die in the winter, however. If they did, the ecosystem would take a hit.
So, how do mosquitoes survive winter temperatures that are lethal to them? Note that mosquitoes have been around for millions of years, which has allowed them to develop survival strategies. Two of their adaptive mechanisms for winter are diapause and quiescence. Let’s discuss them further below.
Different Tactics Mosquitoes Use to Stay Alive Through Freezing Weather
Diapause and quiescence are two types of mosquito dormancy. Dormancy is a physiological phenomenon defined as a suppressed metabolic activity or suspended development in an organism. It can be triggered by climactic signals, like a drop in temperature.
Mosquitoes, specifically the eggs and adult females, enter diapause when exposed to unfavorable seasonal changes. The insect’s metabolism and physical development slow down once it enters the state of diapause. In this state, they become more tolerant to adverse environments, food shortages, and even toxic chemicals. This means mosquitoes will likely survive a pest management program when they are in this state.
Quiescence is quite similar to diapause, but this adaptive trait of mosquitoes is non-seasonal. It is also triggered by unfavorable environmental conditions, like low humidity. It’s more common when the temperature goes beyond what’s ideal for mosquitoes.
Understanding the Life Cycle of a Mosquito Year-Round
You may wonder why we’ve only previously mentioned female mosquitoes and their eggs. It’s because male mosquitoes have a relatively short lifespan, approximately ten days. They typically die after mating, which is why they don’t make it to winter. Here is other crucial information about the mosquito life cycle that could help you in controlling their population.
- Adult female mosquitoes lay eggs in moist ground or standing water.
- Mosquito eggs hatch within a day or two.
- Larvae develop into pupae within just 10 days.
- 48 hours after developing into pupae, it becomes an adult mosquito.
Where Do Mosquitoes Go During the Colder Months, and How Can You Prevent Them From Invading Your Home?
Where exactly do mosquitoes go in the winter? Where do they seek refuge from the cold?
Mosquitoes typically take shelter in warmer and darker places. Common hiding spots include hollow logs, tree cavities, and even underground burrows. They are also known to seek refuge in cellars, basements, and other dark, sheltered areas in human dwellings. Adult female mosquitoes will go to these places before entering diapause state.
Water also plays a significant role in mosquitoes’ winter survival, specifically in eggs. Mosquito larvae and pupae can withstand cold conditions by remaining in water bodies that don’t freeze entirely, such as stagnant ponds, wetlands, or underground stormwater drains.
Additionally, some species lay eggs in winter-resistant containers like tree holes, where their offspring can survive until warmer weather arrives. Overall, mosquito behavior in winter revolves around conserving energy, avoiding freezing temperatures, and waiting for the return of more favorable conditions, making them less of a nuisance during the colder months.
Natural Ways to Repel Mosquitoes in the Warmer Seasons
Mosquitoes survive harsh winter conditions, so expect to see them when the warmer season begins. Here are a few ways to minimize the bites and damage mosquitoes can do once they go out of their winter hiding places:
Plant Mosquito-Repelling Herbs
Certain plants, like citronella, lavender, basil, and rosemary, can naturally repel mosquitoes. Planting these herbs in your garden or keeping potted versions near outdoor seating areas may help keep mosquitoes at bay.
Check and Seal Any Possible Entry Points
Mosquitoes can enter your house through tiny holes and gaps around your property. So, before the mosquito season begins, make sure to fix all possible access points like broken or damaged door screens.
Use Mosquito Nets
When camping or sleeping outdoors, mosquito nets can provide a physical barrier to keep mosquitoes away. Mosquito nets may be old-fashioned, but they remain effective in keeping mosquitoes at bay.
Remove Standing Water
Eliminating sources of standing water around your home is crucial to mosquito control. Regularly check and empty containers that may collect rainwater. If there are gutters or unused swimming pools, keep them clean. If you want to get rid of any mosquito eggs on your property, consider hiring experts in mosquito control near you.
Make Your Lawn Unattractive to Mosquitoes
Aside from standing water, mosquitoes are attracted to dark and humid areas with a lot of shade and moisture. These conditions are present in an unmaintained lawn. So if you want to have some peace when summer comes, make sure your lawn stays in its best shape.
Wear Protective Clothing
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when going outdoors, especially during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Loose clothing made of tightly woven materials will also keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Get Professional Help
Getting professional help is the best mosquito control method you can use. Experts know what to do and what products to use to get rid of those insects. When hiring a mosquito control expert, consider choosing an organic company so you don’t have to worry about the safety of your pets and family.
What Happens When It Gets Too Cold and Why Should We Care About Mosquito Survival Rates?
Mosquitoes are known for their irritating bites and potential to transmit diseases, such as West Nile virus, Zika virus, and malaria in some parts of the world. Despite all that, it is still important to pay attention to their survival rates for these reasons.
First, understanding mosquito survival is essential for public health. Monitoring their populations can help guide mosquito control efforts and aid in predicting disease outbreaks. Second, mosquitoes play a role in ecosystems as pollinators and prey for other animals. While they might be a nuisance to humans, they are a vital part of the food chain for many species of birds, bats, and insects.
Therefore, no matter how much we loathe these little insects, their presence still matters, just not in our backyards.
Don’t Let Mosquitoes Become a Problem. Call LawnMart for Reliable Mosquito Control
Mosquitoes may be out of sight in winter, but they are all around us. They lurk in the dark, waiting for the temperature to rise and the weather to become favorable. When that happens, LawnMart is here to help. We have mosquito experts who can eliminate or control the population of those pesky insects in your yard. We’ll make sure they don’t ruin your summer.
Contact LawnMart today to find out more about how we do mosquito control the natural way.