The adult stage of the mosquito life cycle is the fourth and final phase and the most troublesome to humans.

We look at a few facts about adult mosquitoes and how to repel them in the short article below.

Quick Facts

  • Some mosquito species don’t bite humans at all and instead stick to birds or other animals.
  • Female mosquitoes are the only ones that bite.
  • Only certain species of mosquitoes, such as the Aedes aegypti mosquito, carry diseases.
  • Aedes aegypti have tell-tale white markings on their legs and thorax that distinguish them from other species. 

Life Cycle

We’ve already explored the three earlier stages of the mosquito life cycle (eggs, larvae, and pupae), so let’s quickly look at how long the adult mosquito lives and their role in the life cycle.

Adult mosquitoes can live anywhere from one week to several months, and certain species can remain dormant in cold weather and re-emerge once the weather heats up again.

Adult mosquitoes can breed just about anywhere, and many prefer common items, like tree holes (holes in the trunks of trees), tire swings, and yard clutter for their breeding grounds. 

After breeding, female mosquitoes enjoy a blood meal and then lay eggs in or near standing water, directly on the ground, or at the bases of plants.  These eggs will only hatch in water, and the cycle begins all over again.

Food Source(s)

Interestingly, male mosquitoes survive on nectar from flowers and other plants, and it’s only the females that feed on blood—giving them the nutrients they need to lay healthy eggs. 

And they don’t only attack humans—mosquitoes also feed on birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals.

Health Impact

For most of us, mosquito bites are just mildly annoying.  However, for people who are allergic to mosquito bites, the annoyance can last for days, and that little welt can turn into a blotchy red mark as big as a quarter.

In addition, several mosquito varieties carry diseases that are transmitted to humans through biting, such as West Nile Virus or the Zika Virus.

Once bitten, do your best not to scratch the bite, no matter how itchy!  This can actually spread bacteria around. Instead, wash the bite with soap and water, and then rub or spray an anti-itch treatment on the affected skin.

If you have any of the following symptoms after a mosquito bite, seek medical attention right away:

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing

Adult Mosquito Control

You can do several things to prevent getting bitten in the first place, such as wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts, using mosquito repellents with around 25 percent DEET, and not being out at mosquito mealtime (dawn and dusk).

It might not be practical to stay indoors during the summer and wear long clothing if you go out, so here are a couple of other things you can do to repel/prevent mosquitoes:

  • Keep your yard mowed and free of plant overgrowth to reduce breeding grounds.
  • Eliminate the clutter in your yard—these items create mosquito-friendly areas.
  • Using citronella products, mosquito-repellant plants, and fans—though these have limited effectiveness.
  • Finally, pesticides containing pyrethrin/pyrethroid are effective against adult mosquitoes.  Foggers can be used for indoor areas.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia, “Mosquito.”
  2. Wikipedia, “Aedes Aegypti.”
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Mosquito Life Cycle.”
  4. The Environmental Protection Agency, “Mosquito Life Cycle.”
  5. WebMD, “How to Treat Mosquito Bites.”
  6. Popular Mechanics, “How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Yard.”

Other Stages of Life Cycle

Learn more about other stages of a mosquitoes’ life cycle: