There are many nice things about cooler weather. Arguably one of the best things about cooler temperatures is finally getting a break from mosquito activity. For lots of us, this is a big relief after months of warm weather when mosquitoes are active and bite us every time we step outside. But, does the absence of mosquitoes mean that mosquitoes die in the cold?
The unfortunate truth is that many types of mosquitoes do not die when it gets cold out. Instead, they go dormant until temperatures start to rise again. Other types of mosquitoes do die, but not before laying their last batch of eggs near a water source. Then, when temperatures rise again, the eggs start to move through their life cycle and a new generation of mosquitoes is born.
Mosquitoes are cold-blooded, which means they can’t regulate their body temperature when outdoor temperatures get hotter or colder. These pests function best when it’s 80 degrees or warmer outside. They start to noticeably slow down when it drops below about 60 degrees. Below about 50 degrees, mosquitoes go into a state of diapause, meaning they can’t fly, feed or otherwise function well.
But that doesn’t mean they die off. Even a deep freeze doesn’t necessarily kill off mosquitoes—or their eggs. So, how do mosquitoes survive winter? Some types of adult mosquitoes go into a state of diapause. Diapause is similar to hibernation, but not as intense. During diapause, the mosquitoes will barely leave from under hollow logs or piles of leaves. These natural spaces and conditions provide enough insulation from the cold for these pests to survive the winter. This also explains why you might receive mosquito bites when it is warm for a few days in the middle of winter. It has warmed up enough that mosquitoes can function properly again.
How to Control Mosquitoes
Because mosquitoes will hide out in piles of leaves and other debris, regular landscaping maintenance helps a lot in the fight against mosquitoes. Cutting the grass, trimming back bushes and clearing away dead leaves, limbs and brush from the yard isn’t just good homeowner practice. It also leaves mosquitoes with fewer places to hide.
As we previously mentioned, another way mosquitoes survive the winter is through the eggs that female mosquitoes lay before it gets cold. Near a home, mosquitoes lay their eggs on the sides of containers that hold water. They lay the eggs at or just above the water line. For many species, these eggs don’t get damaged if the water freezes. They just go dormant until the ice thaws again in spring. When the temperature warms, and the water level rises enough to cover the eggs, they hatch into larvae that live and feed in the water.
Along with yard maintenance, dumping out standing water is another important part of mosquito control. Without water, mosquito eggs can’t hatch. Emptying out water that collects after a rain—or thawed water from snowfall or melted ice—will lower mosquito populations. This includes water that collects in bird baths, flowerpots, old tires and kids’ toys. It also includes water that pools in low spots in the yard, as well as the moisture that collects in piles of dead leaves. Clearing unused items and resolving drainage issues will help keep mosquitoes away from your yard since it will reduce the number of mosquito eggs that can hatch.
Getting rid of mosquitoes can be tough to do on your own. The more mosquitoes you have, the harder it is to get rid of them without professional help. Fortunately, a few common-sense steps like maintaining your yard and keeping it free of standing water and debris will help in the fight against these pests.
A reputable pest control specialist is the best resource for keeping these bloodsuckers at bay. A professional can treat your yard and also give you tips on how to repel mosquitoes. That way, you and your loved ones can spend time outside without being eaten alive.
How Do Mosquitoes Bite?
Anyone who has done yard work in summer, or spent time on an outdoor patio, is familiar with the annoying itch of a mosquito bite. Being covered in itchy bites can make you wonder, how do mosquitoes bite? The truth is the term “mosquito bite” is misleading. Mosquitoes don’t actually bite people, as they don’t have teeth.
They don’t even have mouths, at least in the usual sense. Instead, they have a special mouthpiece called a proboscis. The proboscis is long, thin and hollow—much like a needle or a straw. When a mosquito bites you, it uses its proboscis to dig into your skin. Then it uses it to find a blood vessel and suck up your blood.
Another interesting fact about mosquito bites is that only female mosquitoes bite people. The males of the species have the same proboscis mouth parts as females, but theirs aren’t strong or sharp enough to puncture the skin.
Both male and female mosquitoes use their straw-like mouth parts to feed on plant juices and flower nectars. This is their main source of nutrition—even for females.
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite?
Female mosquitoes don’t feed on our blood for their own nutritional needs. They need our blood for certain proteins it contains that help their eggs develop properly. That’s what mosquitoes are after when they land on your skin and bite you. At best, getting a mosquito bite—or lots of them—is annoying. These pests’ bites leave red, puffy welts that can itch for days. The bites can become inflamed or even infected if we scratch them too much. But, mosquito bites can be dangerous to the health of both people and pets in even bigger ways.
Mosquitoes are known carriers of diseases like Zika, dengue and malaria that can make people very sick. They also carry heartworms, infecting dogs and making them very ill. Dogs can also suffer from too many mosquito bites in the form of itchy rashes and hives on their skin.
These are just a few reasons to keep mosquito populations at bay in your yard. Even if these pests are nothing more than a daily annoyance during the warmer months, it’s still a good idea to do whatever you can to limit their populations. If you have a heavy mosquito infestation in your yard, a professional pest control plan can help restore your peace of mind along with your enjoyment of your outdoor space.
What Color Do Mosquitoes Hate?
If you spend time outdoors in summer, you may have noticed that you seem to get bitten either more or less when you wear certain types of clothing. Mosquitoes can be influenced by color, including the color of people’s clothes. So, what color do mosquitoes hate?
Mosquitoes are drawn to certain colors and tend to ignore others. Researchers have observed that mosquitoes seem to ignore certain colors, like white, green, blue and purple. Other colors like black, red and orange seem to draw them in. This might be based on the simple fact that mosquitoes can see people better in darker, more saturated colors.
It would be nice if we could just wear light-colored clothing and not suffer from mosquito bites. Unfortunately, the color of your clothing isn’t a reliable or effective way to prevent bites or control mosquito populations.
Using Clothes to Repel Mosquitoes
However, the type of clothing you wear can have a small effect on how many mosquito bites you get. Wearing long sleeves and long pants, for example, will protect your skin from mosquito bites more than wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, regardless of what color your outfit might be.
Still, mosquitoes can bite people through their clothes. They seek out hosts—meaning people or animals to bite for their blood—based on the smell of the carbon dioxide that comes off our skin. So, even if color is a factor in how well mosquitoes can see or track us, it doesn’t have a huge effect on whether or not they’ll bite us. The simple truth is that if there are mosquitoes around, they can find us and feed on our blood.
To keep mosquitoes away from you when you’re spending time outside, it’s a lot more effective to use a good repellent. Most professionals recommend products that contain DEET. You can spray the repellent on your clothes or skin to keep mosquitoes away.
Turning on a fan can also help since mosquitoes aren’t strong fliers. If you have a porch fan or set up a box fan outside, sitting in the path of the blowing air can help reduce mosquito bites.
In the end, though, these types of measures are just treating the symptoms rather than the disease, so to speak. The simple truth is, if your yard is heavily infested with mosquitoes, you will constantly be thinking, why do mosquitoes bite me so much? There isn’t much you can do to completely avoid being bitten other than staying indoors. Even that isn’t foolproof since many people have trouble with mosquitoes getting into the house and even laying eggs indoors.
If you have a mosquito problem, professional pest control is the best way to deal with it. A trained specialist can set up a customized treatment plan for your yard. They can recommend steps to keep mosquitoes away, like dumping out standing water and trimming your grass and bushes. And, they can return for regular treatments throughout mosquito season, so you can enjoy your yard without worrying about nasty bites.
ABC Can Reduce Mosquito Populations on Your Property
Don’t let pesky mosquitoes ruin your time outdoors. For a multi-tiered approach to mosquito control, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. We will create a pest treatment plan that best suits your yard and needs.