Mosquito - Frequently Asked Questions
How many species of mosquitoes are there?
Currently, 54 species have been identified in Connecticut, 200 in North America, and over 2,500 species worldwide.
Do all mosquitoes feed on humans?
No. Of the 54 species in Connecticut, less than half are considered pest species to humans and livestock.
Why do mosquitoes bite humans?
Mosquitoes do not actually "bite" humans; they "feed" on them. Female mosquitoes require protein to produce their eggs and obtain this protein from the blood of humans and other animals.
Do male and female mosquitoes both feed on humans?
No. Because male mosquitoes do not lay eggs, they do not require protein. Only the female mosquito requires a source of protein to produce eggs.
Where do mosquitoes breed?
A mosquito’s life cycle has four stages – egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Mosquitoes need water to breed because all mosquitoes spend their larval and pupal stages in water. Therefore, mosquitoes can always be found around water. This is why it is important to prevent stagnant water from standing around your home and apply a larvicide to areas where stagnant water cannot be removed.
How long do mosquitoes live?
Most adult mosquitoes wind up as food for birds, dragonflies, or spiders. Others succumb to the effects of wind, rain, and drought. Those that survive those threats may persist for as long as 2 to 3 months and adults that hibernate can live as long 6 to 8 months.
Where do mosquitoes go during the winter?
Mosquitoes are cold-blooded creatures and do not generally feed in temperatures below 50 degrees F. In Connecticut, some adult mosquitoes become inactive with the onset of cold weather and enter into hibernation before the first frost. Other mosquitoes die in the fall but have winter-hardy eggs, which hibernate as embryos.
How do mosquitoes spread disease?
Only in the last century has it been known that mosquitoes are capable of spreading disease. The diseases are often viruses that are picked up by the mosquito when it feeds on an infected host. When the mosquito feeds on another host, it can spread the virus.
What type of diseases can mosquitoes carry?
Mosquitoes are known to carry diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dog heartworm, and viral encephalitis. Mosquitoes do not transmit AIDS.
How can mosquitoes be controlled?
Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways. Source reduction activities include:
- Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property.
- Empty standing water from used or discarded tires that may have accumulated on your property (e.g., tire swings).
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left out of doors.
- Clean clogged roof gutters on an annual basis, particularly if leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Turn over wheelbarrows and do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths.
- Change water in birdbaths and wading pools on a weekly basis.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in water that collects on swimming pool covers.
Why are mosquitoes able to survive pesticide spraying?
Pesticides, such as resmethrin, are designed to kill adult mosquitoes within 5 to 30 minutes of contact. Contact is more reliably achieved after sunset and overnight when most mosquitoes are airborne. When contact is made, insecticides like resmethrin are approximately 90% effective so some mosquitoes do survive spraying. Insecticides are not designed to kill mosquito larvae so non-adult mosquitoes will not be affected and new hatches of adults may need to be addressed.
How can I protect myself from mosquito-borne diseases?
The best way is to avoid being fed on by mosquitoes. This can be accomplished using personal protection while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Examples of such protective measures are:
- Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
- Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
Where can I go for more information?
DEEP’s Mosquito Management Program at 860-424-3011.
Content last updated April 5, 2019.