If you’ve ever spent time outside on a warm summer evening—or late at night, early in the morning or even midday—you might have asked yourself: Do mosquitoes sleep? Unless it’s the dead of winter, there never seems to be a time when mosquitoes aren’t out in droves. Surprisingly, the question of whether mosquitoes actually do sleep and how is still being researched. That said, scientists believe that mosquitoes at least enter into a sleeplike state. During these periods, they aren’t active, which means they aren’t out looking for victims to bite.
So, then why does it seem like mosquitoes never sleep? The reason is actually pretty simple. There are several species of mosquitoes found in the United States, each of which is active at different times. This means that during mosquito season, you run the risk of mosquito bites almost any time you go outdoors.
There are thousands of species of mosquitoes in the world, and about 175 of those can be found in the United States. However, you’re more likely to encounter some species than others. These are mosquito species which are the most common in the U.S.:
- Common house mosquito: This mosquito is found in most states in the top two-thirds of the country. It breeds in still water like ponds, as well as in bird baths, low spots in the yard that don’t drain well or even piles of wet leaves that stay damp after a rain. House mosquitoes carry diseases that can make people very sick, including malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and West Nile virus. These pests are typically most active in the evening through to the early morning.
- Southern house mosquito: As you may have guessed from the name, the southern house mosquito lives in the southern part of the United States. This mosquito is similar to the common house mosquito, and both are in the Culex family of mosquitoes. Like the common house mosquito, the southern mosquito is active in the evening into the early morning.
- Asian tiger mosquito: This mosquito is named after its black body and legs, which have white, stripe-like markings. This mosquito species can carry and transmit the Zika and West Nile viruses as well as dengue fever. These mosquitoes are typically most active during the day.
- Yellow fever mosquito: These mosquitoes are often found along the Gulf coast. Like the Asian tiger mosquito, they are most active during the day. They can breed both outdoors and indoors inside planters and vases, old tires, hollow tree logs and other spots where water collects.
How To Prevent Mosquito Bites
There are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of being bitten by mosquitoes when spending time outdoors. You can use spray repellent, for example. Or, if you’re spending time on an outdoor deck or patio with a ceiling fan, turning the fan on can help. This is partially due to the fact that mosquitoes aren’t very strong fliers, so the breeze can make it difficult for them to fly towards you.
Though it may seem uncomfortable to wear long sleeves and pants when it’s warm, clothing can offer you protection. This is because it can be difficult for mosquitoes to bite through your clothes. Also, many people swear by white or light-colored clothing as a way to prevent bites. The theory behind why this could happen is that mosquitoes find their victims by sight as well as heat, smell and carbon emissions. Mosquitoes seem to see darker objects more easily than lighter ones, so light-colored clothing could make you less of a target.
Since mosquito season in some states stretches from March through the fall, it’s helpful to do what you can to avoid being bothered by mosquitoes every time you step outside. You can reduce mosquito populations around your home by dumping out standing water from planters, tires, children’s toys and other items outside after a rain. Resolving drainage issues in your yard will also help, since doing so can prevent the formation of puddles. Raking up dead leaves and underbrush will also prevent mosquitoes from breeding in these damp areas.
To get rid of mosquitoes indoors, similar rules apply. Make sure your house plants are well-drained and don’t have any standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs. If you open your windows, make sure they have screens that are fit tightly and are free of tears or gaps. Don’t leave exterior doors open unless there’s a screen door or storm door in place—and again, it should fit well, with no gaps or tears that could let mosquitoes through.
If your mosquito problem is keeping you from enjoying your outdoor spaces, it’s best to make an appointment with a pest control specialist. Controlling mosquitoes on your own can be very difficult. Even if you stay on top of yard work, keeping window screens in perfect condition and never letting water collect is a lot of work. Another reason why it’s so hard to get rid of mosquitoes on your own is that most do-it-yourself methods focus on killing off or repelling adult mosquitoes, but don’t target these pests in other stages of their life cycle—namely, their eggs, larvae or pupae.
A professional can use a combination of products and techniques to eliminate these pests in all stages of their life cycle. This will reduce the number of active adult mosquitoes while also preventing them from reproducing, which will keep their numbers low in the longer term.
Although many people have basic knowledge of mosquitoes, homeowners still end up with other questions about these pests. Some that you may have asked yourself include: how fast can a mosquito fly, and, how far?
How Fast Can a Mosquito Fly?
Many people are curious about the flight patterns of mosquitoes and how they reach our yards. These are wise questions to ask, because even if you do everything in your power to keep mosquito populations low in your own yard, they can still fly over from your neighbors’ yards to bother you. Mosquitoes can fly one to one-and-a-half miles an hour, which means you can outrun them—but it’s still pretty speedy for a tiny insect!
As for how far they can fly, Asian tiger mosquitoes don’t typically fly far. They can only fly about 300 feet, but that’s still far enough to move from one yard to another. Other varieties of mosquitoes can fly farther, up to a mile or more. As for height, they can fly up to about 25 feet in the air, which is more than two stories high. This is why even upstairs windows need screens if you live in a two-story home and you like to open the windows for fresh air.
Fortunately, mosquitoes aren’t motivated to fly far if there is no food source available to them. This is why it’s still important to keep your own yard treated and trimmed. Stray mosquitoes from nearby, untreated yards can still become a nuisance for you and your family. Pests won’t be drawn to your yard if there isn’t any food or water there for them, so they will be less likely to bother you—though it can still happen.
Hiring a pest control professional to address a mosquito infestation will benefit you, but it will also likely help out your surrounding neighbors, since there will be fewer mosquitoes around in general. Furthermore, a professional can advise you on steps you can take on your own to keep mosquitoes away. They can also set up a regular pest treatment schedule with you, to treat your yard throughout mosquito season so you can enjoy getting some fresh air in peace.
In the fight against mosquitoes, you may be looking for other ways you can reduce mosquito populations. Are there any natural predators that can help lower your mosquito population?
Do Chickens Eat Mosquitoes?
Chickens eat grub larvae, ants and other pests, so it makes sense to wonder if chickens eat mosquitoes as well. Yes, chickens do eat mosquitoes, but they don’t eat anywhere near enough of them to make much of a dent in a typical backyard mosquito population. So, unfortunately even if you keep a whole flock of backyard chickens, you could still have a rampant mosquito infestation. Chickens and other mosquito predators like bats and birds just aren’t enough to be an effective natural pest control solution.
If you do have a mosquito problem in your yard, here are a few steps you can take to keep their populations as low as possible:
- Rake and bag dead leaves. Mosquitoes breed in water, and certain types of mosquitoes can breed even in a very small amount of water that collects in damp leaves.
- Keep your lawn cut short and any bushes or other landscaping trimmed. When mosquitoes rest (or sleep, as the case may be), they tend to hang out in tall grasses or overgrown bushes. Keeping your yard neatly trimmed cuts down on the spaces where mosquitoes like to congregate.
- Get rid of any standing water. This means dumping out water from pots, planters, kids’ toys and other spots in your yard after a rain. It also means addressing drainage problem spots, including low spots in the yard where water collects and has a hard time staying dry.
- Use fans outdoors, if you have them. Mosquitoes aren’t strong flyers, so using a ceiling or box fan when you’re spending time on a porch or deck can help keep them from landing on you.
- Use repellent spray when you’re outside to keep mosquitoes away.
- Wear long, light-colored clothes outside to make yourself less visible to mosquitoes.
The best way to prevent mosquito bites is to hire a pro to help you keep mosquitoes away from your yard. Pest control professionals have access to proven products and techniques to keep mosquitoes from bothering you. These professionals can create a customized pest treatment plan that fits your needs.
ABC Can Offer You Relief From Mosquitoes
While there are things you can do on your own to limit the number of mosquitoes buzzing in your ear and around your family when you are in your yard, the best way to get relief is to contact the professionals. At ABC Home & Commercial Services, we create custom treatment plans to address even the toughest mosquito problems. Additionally, we use different strategies and techniques to control these pests throughout their life cycle, so you can keep your mosquito population low.