If you’ve ever spent a beautiful evening in your yard, only to later discover that you’re covered in mosquito bites, you’ve likely wondered how many times a mosquito can bite. Was it just one mosquito that’s to blame for your current situation, or was it a whole swarm that descended on your property?
Simply put, a mosquito can bite as many times as she wants or can. There is no limit. Female mosquitoes (and only females!) feed on blood until they are full. If a mosquito is interrupted before filling up, she’ll just bite again. Once her abdomen is full of blood, she rests for 2 to 3 days and then lays her eggs. Most mosquito species live up to about three weeks. During that time, a female can lay up to five clutches of at least 100 eggs at a time. Unfortunately, this means that your mosquito problems aren’t going away after you initially get covered in bites.
Generally speaking, female mosquitoes need blood meals in order to produce eggs. There are only a handful of species that are able to store enough energy as larvae to reproduce at a later stage. Once a female mosquito has reached adulthood and mated, if she doesn’t have the energy needed to lay her eggs, she begins the hunt for her first blood meal. Then, within a couple of days after she has consumed human or animal blood, she will lay her first clutch of eggs.
However, not every species of mosquito mates more than once or lays more than a single clutch of eggs. Those that only mate once are likely to only bite once, too. On the flip side, mosquito species that mate more than once tend to bite more frequently.
While the actual bite isn’t particularly dangerous, mosquitoes are well-known transmitters of serious diseases. The two most prevalent mosquito-borne illnesses affecting Americans are the West Nile virus and the Zika virus. Most people infected with these diseases do recover, but either condition is capable of causing severe symptoms and can even be life-altering.
The West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne illness in the U.S. While birds are typically the host of this virus, West Nile can easily be transmitted to humans and other animals when a mosquito bites a bird and then bites another mammal. Because summer and fall seasons in the southern U.S. are long and perfect for mosquito breeding, the West Nile virus is a particular concern in these areas. Although some people won’t experience any symptoms, others fall seriously ill. More than 150 species of mosquitoes have been found to carry the West Nile virus, but by and large, the most common genus is the Culex.
A few years ago in the southern U.S., there was a surge of Zika virus cases. This virus is usually transmitted first by mosquitoes, but can easily spread from human to human through intimate contact. While most cases are mild and present no symptoms, the greatest risk is to pregnant women and their fetuses. The Zika virus has been known to increase the chances of miscarriage and to cause congenital disabilities and severe fetal brain defects.
Sadly, there are currently no preventative vaccines or medical treatments available for patients who contract either virus. This means protective measures are the only defense you have.
To make matters worse, mosquito bites can impact our furry family members. While there are a number of mosquito-borne illnesses affecting pets, the one we tend to think of first is heartworms.
When mosquitoes bite a host infected with immature heartworm larvae and your dog or cat becomes its next blood meal, your pet is at risk of becoming heartworm-positive as well. Those who’ve had to deal with heartworm treatment know this isn’t an easy issue to fix. It’s difficult on pets and can quickly become an expensive treatment cost for you. Not to mention the added worry for your pet’s well-being.
If you live in a warm, humid area of the U.S., it can be nearly impossible to simply avoid mosquitoes altogether. However, it’s important to be able to prevent a mosquito infestation on your property so you can protect yourself, your family and your pets from bites and any potential health risks these pests pose.
How To Prevent A Mosquito Infestation
To understand how to effectively prevent a mosquito infestation, you must first understand why these pests have come on to your property in the first place. Female mosquitoes track down humans and animals with specialized organs that can detect carbon dioxide and heat. These organs are very well adapted to finding us and can pick up on our carbon dioxide output from thirty feet away. Once a mosquito gets closer, it tracks our exact location by sensing the heat that we give off.
Additional factors that could attract a mosquito to you include the chemical makeup of your individual scent, the color of your clothes and how much you are moving around. Once a mosquito gets the blood she needs to lay her eggs by biting us, she won’t travel further than necessary to deposit the clutch. Depending on the species of mosquito, this female can lay up to 200 eggs after a blood meal.
So, having one or two female mosquitoes may not seem like a huge deal until you realize that these two female mosquitoes produce hundreds of new mosquitoes which can then just add to your current mosquito problem.
Although you physically can’t stop producing carbon dioxide or radiating heat, there are other things you can do to make yourself less appealing to these creatures. Here are some ways to prevent mosquitoes from biting you and your loved ones:
- Check your screens, and repair or replace any that have tears or rips to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
- Before you go outside, apply mosquito repellent, preferably a variety that contains DEET.
- Ensure your pet is protected as well. Do not use human mosquito repellents on animals, but ones specially designed for your pet. There are a number of products that actually are designed to target fleas, ticks and mosquitoes in a single application.
- Limit outdoor exercise during peak mosquito hours (dusk and early morning).
- If you’re going outside, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that covers as much of your body as possible. Avoid wearing perfume or cologne.
To prevent mosquitoes from sticking around your yard, consider taking the following proactive measures.
Eliminate Sources Of Standing Water
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, so you’ll need to be vigilant about eliminating any sources of standing water around your property to keep mosquitoes from reproducing closeby. Mosquito eggs hatch in about a week’s time, so you should be checking your property for stagnant water at least once a week. While you may pay attention to birdbaths, lawn furniture and buckets or containers, keep in mind that mosquitoes only need a small amount of water in which to lay eggs. That means you’ll also want to check your pet’s water bowls, plant saucers, pool covers, trash bins and other items where water may collect.
Additionally, any organic matter that is collecting in standing water, such as decomposing leaves in a rain gutter, is even more attractive to mosquitoes. This is because the organic matter acts as a source of food for the larvae. Lastly, you’ll want to address any drainage issues on your property that might result in pooling water, including broken sprinkler heads or other watering issues.
Maintain Your Lawn And Landscaping
Adult mosquitoes prefer to rest in tall grass, weeds and other vegetation. By keeping up with your lawn care schedule, you can eliminate potential mosquito nesting areas. As an added bonus, your yard will look neat and tidy.
Don’t Neglect Your Pool
As previously mentioned, mosquitoes tend to lay eggs in stagnant water, which can make your pool a perfect place for mosquito breeding if you aren’t keeping up with regular maintenance. Fortunately, there are some other steps you can take to keep mosquitoes out of your pool:
- Run your pool pump every few hours to make sure water is properly circulating
- Chlorinate your pool
- Keep organic matter, such as leaves and branches, out of your pool
Hire A Professional
Given all the work involved in constantly monitoring your property for any standing water, most homeowners wanting to eliminate mosquitoes opt for professional-grade treatments. The benefits of this approach are that an expert is often better equipped to locate mosquito breeding and resting areas and can continue to monitor populations to ensure you are getting results.
Typically, pest control companies offer plans which use a multi-faceted approach to target mosquitoes at each stage of their life. Your mosquito control professional may recommend using mosquito traps and misting stations to target adult mosquitoes, as well as larvicides and mosquito dunks to stop mosquito population growth.
While you wait for a specialist to arrive at your home, you can get started on controlling mosquitoes by paying particular attention to any areas where mosquitoes could be laying eggs. To be successful, you have to know where to look.
Where Do Mosquitoes Lay Their Eggs?
Depending on the species, you’re likely to find mosquito eggs floating in puddles, creeks and ditches, river inlets, lakes and other marshy areas. But it doesn’t stop there. These pests can also deposit eggs in rain barrels, ornamental ponds, swimming pools and even tin cans. In some cases, mosquito eggs can even survive in relatively dry conditions for several months before hatching.
Around your yard, the following can all be potential mosquito breeding areas:
- Rain gutters
- Old tires
- Buckets and pots
- Kiddie pools
- Potted plant trays
Wherever you find a bit of water standing, you can expect to see mosquito larvae squirming around if left unattended for over a week during the warmed months of the year. Additionally, though it isn’t as common, there are a few species that actually lay their eggs directly on damp soil.
Understanding the life cycle and reproductive habits of mosquitoes are an important part of an effective mosquito treatment plan, since targeting eggs and larvae is often the most useful way to slow the growth of a mosquito population. A skilled pest control professional can implement a set of measures to ensure eggs can’t mature into adults and that adult mosquitoes are controlled on your property.
ABC Can Help With Your Mosquito Problem
Constantly swatting mosquitoes can become so bothersome that you may choose to avoid your yard altogether. These pests are capable of breeding in minuscule amounts of water and their tiny size makes it easy for them to hide from us. Instead of working tirelessly to rid your yard of mosquitoes, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. We customize mosquito control solutions to our customers’ situations and target mosquitoes at each stage of their life. We can make spending time in your yard an enjoyable experience again.