While everyone dreads the end of warmer months as the next season draws near, the start of winter signifies a drastic change in terms of mosquito infestation in many households.
Mosquitoes are one of the most hated insects across the globe. They not only bring itchy bites, but they are also the primary culprit for many deadly diseases, such as dengue fever and malaria.
The question remains: Do mosquitoes die come winter season?
Sadly, the common belief that mosquitoes die in the cold winter months is not true. According to scientists, fossil evidence shows that the current mosquito retains the same biological features as its ancestors from over 40 million years ago. In simpler terms, mosquitoes have been around since the dinosaurs and mammoths were here, and managed to outlast both species. It’s hardly surprising that they can brave through a few cold months.
Perhaps this misconception about mosquitoes in winter started because on average, homes experience a smaller number of mosquito infestations during the cold season. This is because the mosquitoes are too busy doing something more important than hanging out in your house.
What Happens to Mosquitoes in the Winter?
A male mosquito can only live up to ten days. It dies shortly after mating, which makes it rare for them to live through the fall season. On the other hand, female mosquitoes can survive all the way to winter, when they cease activity and enter a period of dormancy.
Like how bears hibernate in winter, female mosquitoes spend the cold months hiding in safe places that can shield them from harm. Hollow logs and animal burrows are the usual suspects for mosquito homes in the cold weather. The mosquitoes stay in their restive state for six months, essentially sitting out the whole season.
Mosquito Eggs in Winter
The mosquito eggs that resulted from mating during the fall can also survive winter. Mosquito eggs are mostly aquatic in the first three stages – egg, larva, and pupa. The eggs are laid by their mothers in moist soil, where they lie in a deep sleep until spring comes. Once the eggs feel favorable temperatures in the weather, they start to hatch.
The evolution of mosquitoes during the three stages normally take 5 to 14 days, depending on the temperature and the type of species involved. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If the eggs were laid in a region under extreme cold and not enough water, the eggs can enter a state of diapause to survive.
Diapause is different from hibernation because in this state, the mosquitoes force their bodies to delay any development and slow down metabolism to a screeching halt. The mosquitoes will only allow their bodies to resume progress once there is enough warmth in the environment for them to survive. It’s basically a forced holiday leave so that they live on.
What Happens After Winter
Once spring arrives, the weather again becomes warm enough for mosquitoes to survive. The female mosquitos that stayed in for the winter return and households will surely notice their comeback.
If a female mosquito hibernated without laying her eggs, she will most definitely need blood. The blood contains proteins that her eggs need to develop, and so it’s a desperate time for the mother as she sets off to find blood food for her unborn babies. Luckily, it coincides that people like to welcome spring weather in short sleeves and skimpy clothing, which makes it easy for the mosquitoes to find a target and feed.
Where Mosquitoes Can’t Go
Mosquitoes are good at adapting, but even they cannot survive extremely harsh temperatures. There are no mosquitoes in Antarctica, Iceland, and other polar or subpolar islands. These places have an exceedingly cold climate that can easily freeze out mosquitoes if they stay an extra second outside.
In mid-winter, Iceland tends to warm up to temperatures enough to sustain mosquito life. However, the temperature quickly changes back to freezing levels before anything can emerge from the pupa stage, making it impossible for mosquitoes to completely survive.
Protect Yourself at All Times
The best way you can protect yourself from mosquito infestation is to be prepared at all times. Do not wait for summer or spring to come before you have this problem addressed. Call the experts right away, so they can find and eliminate the source of mosquitoes immediately.
Rocklin Pest Control offers the best pest control management programs. For 13 years, we have proven our top-notch service and unparalleled expertise in the industry. Call Rocklin Pest Control today to learn more about our services!