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What Do Mosquito Larvae Eat?

mosquito larvae eating bacteria in stagnant water

If you have a mosquito problem in your home or yard, one of the best ways to control these pests is to target their larvae. While adult mosquitoes are the ones that bug most people with their itchy and painful bites, it is sometimes easier to get rid of these pests if you catch them earlier in their lives.

Female mosquitoes can lay eggs as often as every three days. They typically lay these eggs on top of any area of stagnant water that is protected from the wind. This might include areas like tree holes, abandoned tires, kiddie pools and water sitting in an ornamental pond. Mosquitoes can even lay eggs in as little water as the rain that can gather in an overturned bottlecap.

In the right conditions, the larvae typically hatch from the eggs about 24 to 48 hours after a mosquito lays them. However, if environmental conditions are bad, such as if it is almost winter or the water where they were laid dries up, then mosquito eggs can lay dormant until conditions improve. Once it warms up, starts to rain or the mosquito eggs get enough water, then they can quickly grow and hatch into larvae. Mosquito larvae look like small, fuzzy worms, and they have a tube called a siphon on one end of their bodies that they stick up out of the surface of the water to breathe and get oxygen.

The larvae can live in the water where they have hatched for around four days to about two weeks. In this time, they feed constantly, so they can grow and reach their next stage of life. They primarily use brushes near their mouths to filter through the water where they are living and eat microorganisms like bacteria, as well as fungi, algae and plankton. However, some kinds of mosquito larvae even eat the larvae of other mosquitoes. All kinds of mosquito larvae move around the water by wiggling back and forth to do things like reaching food, breathing and avoiding danger.

Once they reach their full size—about half an inch long—then the mosquito larvae go into the pupa stage. This is similar to the cocoon stage in the life of a butterfly or moth. After living in this pupa stage for about one to four days, then the adult mosquitoes emerge and take off flying in search of food—including people and animals to bite.

Even as adults, mosquitoes are very small insects, and their eggs, larvae and pupae are even smaller. This can make them hard to find if you try looking for mosquito babies on your own. That is one of the reasons that it is best to contact a professional for all your mosquito control needs.

Pest control specialists have the training and tools to know what to look for and where the mosquitoes are coming from, so they can help get rid of these pests before they become a bigger problem. Not only can they help you deal with current pest control issues, but they can also work with you to protect your family and pets from bothersome mosquitoes by helping prevent additional infestations in the future.

a mosquito biting someone

Do Dryer Sheets Keep Mosquitoes Away?

There are many ideas out there on how to keep mosquitoes away. Everyone from your neighbor to your mother-in-law might tell you about home remedies that their cousin’s friend’s teacher’s son swore works in the fight against mosquitoes.

One common method is to put a dryer sheet in your pocket to keep mosquitoes from biting you. The idea is that the chemicals in some dryer sheets, such as linalool and beta-citronellol, repel mosquitoes. Although some studies have shown that dryer sheets can help drive away other bugs like gnats, this method has not been scientifically proven to repel mosquitoes.

Another common DIY method is to use an oscillating fan or place citronella candles, coffee grounds or plants like lavender or basil near you while you and your family are outside. If you are in a small space, these methods might help repel some mosquitoes, but they are not effective in open areas and they do not work for longer-term mosquito control. Once you walk to a different area of your yard or blow out the candles, the mosquitoes will most likely come back.

A much more effective method of mosquito control is to get rid of or clean up areas in your yard or home where mosquitoes might eat, breed and live. For instance, it is important to clear out any area where water can gather and stand because mosquitoes can lay eggs in this stagnant water. Some examples of areas to clean up include:

  • Put away kids’ toys, toddler pools, buckets and lawn tools like wheelbarrows when you, your family or guests are not using them.
  • Clean out pets’ dishes as soon as they are finished eating and regularly clean out their water bowls.
  • Regularly check tire swings and other playground equipment for standing water.
  • To deal with mosquitoes indoors, install screens on your doors and windows, and make sure they are sealed tightly around the edges.
  • Get rid of old tires or any other type of junk sitting in your yard.
  • Check flat areas of your roof, sagging tarps and grill covers for standing water.
  • Regularly trim bushes, mow your lawn and clear away debris like grass clippings and raked leaves where moisture can gather.
  • Level out your yard and surfaces under jungle gyms to keep rainwater from accumulating in uneven or low-lying areas.
  • If your kids have a sandbox, make sure there are not pools of water in it and cover it when it is not in use.
  • Regularly change out water in bird baths, ponds and other ornamental water features.
  • Drain water that has gathered in saucers under potted plants, and regularly change out water in flower vases.
  • Avoiding watering your flowers, garden and grass too much or too often to reduce the chance of having excess water sitting around your yard.
  • Clear out leaves and other debris in your gutters and drains that might cause water to accumulate.
  • Keep covers on your trash can, compost bin and other containers.
  • Make sure chlorine is at the correct level in your pool, hot tub or any other lawn features that are filled with treated water.
  • For any containers that must remain open like a rain barrel or cistern, cover them with fine mesh screens.

Mosquito control can be difficult for homeowners to perform on their own because mosquitoes can hide in so many different areas. Additionally, most types of mosquito eggs are pretty hardy, which means that even if it gets cold or there is a drought, the eggs can typically survive until conditions improve. This means that even if you think you have gotten rid of mosquitoes, their eggs or larvae might still be hiding in your yard and waiting until the weather gets better to come out and interrupt your backyard festivities.

However, a trained pest control professional can take care of everything for you effectively and efficiently, so you do not have to deal with the trouble and trials of trying do-it-yourself mosquito control. Pest control professionals have the knowledge and tools to help you pick the best treatment option for the specific issues that you are dealing with.

These professionals can inspect your yard and help you deal with areas that might attract mosquitoes. They can also help eliminate pests that are already in your yard and help prevent them from coming back. To do this, some of the different methods of mosquito control that professionals offer include treating areas where adult mosquitoes might gather with a variety of substances, depending on your family’s needs and the kinds of pests that have invaded your home. They can also apply larvicide in areas where water cannot be drained to help target mosquitoes at the larva stage—even before they grow into biting and pesky adult mosquitoes.

a spider in a web

Do Spiders Eat Mosquitoes?

Many types of spiders eat mosquitoes, flies, fleas, cockroaches and other kinds of insects that you might not want in your home. Because of this, some spiders can be a useful friend in your fight against mosquitoes and other pests. However, like other animals that eat mosquitoes, each spider can only eat so much.

While a spider might be able to help you kill a mosquito or two, they likely cannot get rid of all the pests that are bugging you. Mosquitoes reproduce very quickly, with female adults often laying hundreds of eggs each week, so it is best to use other methods of mosquito control as well. If you have a mosquito problem in your home or yard, the best thing is to contact a pest control professional. These specialists have the expert training, skills and tools to take care of all your pest control needs, so you don’t have to deal with it.

ABC Can Reduce Mosquito Populations Around Your Property

Instead of dealing with home remedies for mosquitoes, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our professionals are highly trained and can create a pest treatment plan that best fits your needs. That way, you and your family members can feel more comfortable in your home and yard.

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