Mosquitoes

Aedes aegypti
Anopheles quadrimaculatus (common malaria mosquito)

Mosquitoes

Physical Features


Mosquitoes, like all insects, have three body parts, six legs, and antennae. They have a pointed abdominal tip and clear wings with dark scales. Aedes females are typically dark with white markings and banded legs. The piercing-sucking mouthparts (proboscis) are shorter than the palp, feelers. The proboscis and body move in two axes. Anopheles mosquitoes lack scales on their bodies having hairs instead. Males have bushy antennae compared to females. The piercing-sucking mouthparts (proboscis) and palp (feelers) are equal length, and the proboscis and body move in one axis.

Life Cycle


Complete metamorphosis

Eggs are laid on the surface of water and hatch in 1 to 3 days. In temporary water environments, the Aedes female may lay eggs well in advance of the water’s presence, and the eggs hatch once water occupies the cavity. Anopheles will lay eggs in larger bodies of water surrounded by vegetation, and their eggs will have floats on either side of it. Larvae are aquatic, filter feeders and develop in 7 to 10 days. Pupae float on the water’s surface like a raft for 1 to 3 days then an adult emerges completing development from egg to adult in 10 to 16 days. This process begins to repeat within 28 hours after the adult emerges, but females will not lay eggs without taking a blood meal. Males need nectar and plant juices. The adult lives less than one month. Fertilized females will overwinter, emerging on warm days to feed, and lay eggs in the spring.

Habits


  • Diet: Nectar, plant juices, blood
  • Activity: Aedes – near breeding sites. Anopheles – 2 miles from the breeding site. Most species fly higher than 5 feet.
  • Preferred Climate: Humid, temperate climate.
  • Defense: Release an anti-coagulant into wounds preventing blood from clotting so they can suck their food more easily.
  • Cautions: Principal vectors of Yellow Fever, Dengue, West Nile Virus and Encephalitis. Any body of water regardless of size is a potential site for the egg to pupa development. Females will bite.
  • Home Invasion: Mosquitoes may come through openings in the home to find a breeding site or
    food. Encounters will most likely be in yards.

Helpful Hints


  • Reduce the amount of standing water
  • Clear away any items that are potential water carriers.
  • Recommend regular pest control service plan.

Interesting Facts


The construction of the Panama Canal was delayed not only by financial setbacks but by diseases: Yellow Fever and Malaria, spread by mosquitoes to canal workers. Fumigation was a treatment method used.

Symptoms


Bumps and itching will occur after a couple of hours.

Nesting Sites


They nest and breed in standing water. So find all the places where water can accumulate on your property.