This is a three-part series discussing mosquitoes and mosquito control. But in order to plan an effective war strategy for killing and repelling mosquitoes, you've got to know your enemy first
. Part one of this series focuses on the immediate and the direct. How to prevent mosquito breeding—which, in turn, will help prevent mosquito bites—and how to provide mosquito bite relief for already existing bites.
The first thing you need to know about the enemy is that it never sleeps. The mosquito thrives year-round in the cold or heat. But they do have an Achilles heel—water. Mosquitoes can’t breed without water since it’s imperative to every stage of the mosquito life cycle.
Egg Stage- Only female mosquitoes feed on blood (and therefore bite). While males feed on a diet of plant fluids only, females require blood as a protein for egg-laying. And my goodness do they lay eggs. An adult female can lay a raft of eggs every third night of her lifespan, each raft being made up of a hundred or more eggs. The eggs, though laid individually, float together and conjoin to make a raft which looks like a speck of ash floating on top of the water. Eggs generally hatch in around 48 hours.
Larva Stage- In the larva stage, the mosquito attaches itself to the surface of the water for the roughly 7-14 days until it becomes a pupa. It hangs from surface by a tube that acts as a breathing mechanism. During this time they feed on organisms in the water and are described as looking like wiggling worms—thus their nickname “wigglers.”
Pupa Stage- The pupa stage lasts from 1-4 days during which the mosquito does not feed. When the pupal case splits, the adult mosquito emerges.
Adult Stage- The adult emerges from the pupal case to land directly on the water’s surface where its body chills, dries, and then hardens.
Of course, the mosquito life cycle dependence on water means they can breed just about anywhere water can be found: inside an old can or tire, pools and birdbaths, roof gutters, and potted plants. Virtually anything that can hold water will make and adequate breeding site for mosquitoes. As such, the best way to prevent the development of the mosquito population is to address the mosquito life cycle by removing any debris in your yard that can hold water.
Mosquitoes don’t travel far to feed, so if you have a mosquito problem, the source probably isn’t far away. Look for any places that water might collect—folds in tarps, pots and other containers—tip them over, and remove them entirely. Keeping your yard free of brush piles and any non-essential surfaces that can hold water is the best way to prevent mosquito breeding.
So address the source for mosquito breeding as well as your existing wounds! And read on in part two to come up with a mosquito combat strategy.