Scientific Name: Culicidae
Lifespan: Between 10 and 100 days
Problem: Itchy bites, rapid breeding.
Mosquitoes thrive best in tropical weather, but are also found throughout the US. Many species rest during the day in dense vegetation such as tall grass, weeds, and shrubs. Some mosquitoes lay eggs in water, while others lay eggs in moist soil.
In order to breed, mosquitoes need water. They can breed in any standing water, but are particularly drawn to standing water with lots of organic debris. Nasty water is a common place to find mosquito larvae. When looking for standing water, remember that just a few ounces of water can produce a significant number of mosquitoes, and it takes as little as a tablespoon of water to start the process.
Recommend that customers eliminate all sources of standing or stagnant water by emptying water-holding items like trash can lids, spare tires, and tarps. Water in planters, bird baths, and pet dishes should be routinely refreshed. Rain barrels should be covered with screens, ditches and gutters kept clear, and swimming pools should be treated regularly.
While removing standing water is a useful first step in reducing mosquito populations, it by itself does not solve the problem. Mosquitoes can easily breed next door in the neighbor’s yard, or further down the street. Adult mosquitoes are likely to invade regardless of the breeding suitability of the area.
Mosquitoes are responsible for disease transmission. West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, and Zika are all illnesses that are spread by these pests. All of these illnesses bring serious symptoms and may even be fatal. And even if a mosquito does not carry a disease, it may still cause personal harm. Mosquito bites often become itchy, red, and swollen, and if a person is allergic, a severe reaction may occur or an infection may set in.
Routine monthly mosquito services are best started in March or April and last until September or October. All mosquito services are conducted outside. The Mosquito service is usually scheduled for ANYTIME. Scheduled appointments are usually only required if there are pets in the yard or if only a portion of the yard is accessible (locked gate, etc.).
Females of all mosquito species typically bite during the daytime. Asian tiger mosquito bites are not necessarily painful, but they can leave an itchy, red bump on the skin. Males typically do not bite and primarily feed on plant nectar.
Mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animals because of the diseases that they are known to spread. They are known as “vectors” for several harmful diseases such as Malaria, Zika and Dengue. It is believed that as a result of this, mosquitoes are responsible for about 1 million deaths every year!
Our pets are also at risk from the threat of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry heartworm disease which can seriously affect the health of your pet, and can even kill dogs.
According to the American Mosquito Control Association, there are over 3,000 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world. West Virginia has the fewest species, with 26. There are about 60 different species in Ohio. Florida has 80 and Texas has the most with 85.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the body chemistry of some people over others. Mosquitoes are attracted to a combination of body heat, odor, the carbon dioxide that humans and animals emit when they breathe, and lactic acid, an element found in sweat.
Mosquitoes are much more active when the moon is full. A full moon can actually increase mosquito activity by up to 500 percent. This is because mosquitoes use visual cues to find their next meal, which is easier to do when the moon is full.
Those who breathe more, including larger people, pregnant women and physical exertion in the yard are even more attractive, as are active or fidgety people. Body heat can also lead to mosquito bites. Mosquitoes use heat sensors around their mouthparts to detect the warmth of your body.
Only female mosquitoes bite – the protein and other compounds in your blood provide mosquitoes with a feast that is essential to help them produce and develop their eggs. They can drink up to three times their weight in blood. On the other hand, male mosquitoes only feed on plant juices.
The average mosquito has a relatively short life-span – they live less than two months. Males live 10 days or less while females can live up to eight weeks.
When it comes to flying, mosquitoes are one of the slowest insects, flying only at 1 to 1.5 miles per hour (compared to the honeybee, which flies up to 15 miles per hour).
Mosquitoes also can’t fly very far – most fly no more than one to three miles, and often stay within several hundred feet of where they were hatched. They generally fly below 25 feet, but some species have also been found at heights of up to 8,000 feet.
Water is essential for breeding. A female mosquito must deposit her eggs in water, and they develop very quickly. It only takes a tablespoon or more of water, so any standing water found in your yard or on the property should be regularly dumped.
Female mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs at a time. Usually, the eggs are deposited in clusters on the surface of stagnant water, or they are laid in areas that flood regularly. Female mosquitoes will lay eggs up to three times before they die.
Mosquitoes don’t have teeth. A female mosquito will “bite” with a long, pointed mouthpart called a proboscis. They use the serrated proboscis to pierce the skin. While one tube in the proboscis draws blood, the second pumps in saliva containing a mild painkiller and an anti-coagulant.
The bumps from mosquito bites are caused by their saliva. Most people have minor allergic reactions to the saliva, causing the area around the bite to swell and itch.
CULEX MOSQUITOES (SCIENTIFIC NAME: CULEX PIPIENS)
Mosquitoes are one of the most bothersome summertime pests. There are over 3,000 types of mosquitoes in the world, and at least 170 of them can be found in North America. Out of these thousands of mosquito species, only a couple are known to feed on human blood, including the Culex genus. This genus of mosquito (sometimes referred to as common house mosquitoes) encompasses several species which are capable of transmitting diseases such as West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis.
Common house mosquitoes are most commonly found in warm and wet environments. These hospitable conditions are ideal for these pests to find hosts to feed on, as well as lay their eggs. Culex mosquitoes hunt by detecting body heat and the carbon dioxide that humans exhale. After feeding on a host, it can take several days for the female to digest the blood meal and then she will seek out a body of still water in which to lay eggs. Culex mosquitoes are able to breed in any form of stagnant water, including ponds, marshes, floodwaters, storm drains, old tires and water in tree holes. Females will lay eggs in “rafts” of as many as 300 on the water’s surface. Once the eggs hatch, the insects spend their larval stage submerged in water, feeding on particles of organic matter, microscopic organisms or plant material. It then develops into a pupa before finally emerging from the water as an adult. In warm weather, this developmental cycle takes about two weeks.
Culex mosquitoes, as well as other species, are most active at dawn and dusk. Although mosquitoes are generally attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide, studies have shown that other factors such as blood type and the presence of naturally occurring bacteria on skin can make some people more appealing than others. Additionally, dark colored clothing and perfume have been known to also attract Culex mosquitoes.
Although mosquito bites typically result in just an itchy welt, Culex mosquitoes are known to transmit a number of diseases, including West Nile virus and several encephalitis diseases. Although most people do not show symptoms, West Nile virus can cause fatigue and fever. There is no treatment for West Nile Virus, so prevention is the best way to stay safe from any and all mosquito-borne diseases and other illnesses.
YELLOW FEVER MOSQUITOES (SCIENTIFIC NAME: AEDES AEGYPTI)
Yellow Fever mosquitoes originated in Africa and were most likely brought to the new world via ships in the early 1900s. Their distribution continues to increase worldwide, making them one of the most widespread mosquito species. As their common name suggests, yellow fever mosquitoes are the primary vectors of yellow fever, a prevalent disease in tropical South America and Africa.
Female adult yellow fever mosquitoes primarily feed on humans, as a blood meal is required to produce eggs. These mosquitoes are active around the clock – biting during the day, and at dusk and dawn. Like other mosquitoes, male yellow fever mosquitoes do not bite. Instead, they feed on plant nectars.
Yellow fever mosquitoes live in tropical, subtropical and some temperate climates. They often inhabit shaded containers with standing water to lay their eggs. Yellow fever mosquitoes also breed in flowerpots, spare tires, baby pools, drainage ditches and other objects where water collects.
The bite from a yellow fever or Aedes aegypti mosquito can result in an itchy, raised bump on the skin. More concerning, though, is that this type of mosquito is a vector of numerous diseases, including dengue fever and chikungunya. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have most recently been implicated in the global spread of Zika virus.
ASIAN TIGER MOSQUITO (SCIENTIFIC NAME: AEDES ALBOPICTUS)
Asian tiger mosquitoes, also known as forest mosquitoes, are an exotic species that get their “tiger” name from the single white stripe down the center of their head and back. Originally from Southeast Asia, this daytime-biting insect can transmit harmful diseases like Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya and dengue fever.
Asian tiger mosquitoes are unique in that they typically feed during the daylight hours, unlike many other mosquito species that feed only at dusk and dawn. In warmer regions, Asian tiger mosquitoes are active year-round. However, they are known to overwinter in temperate climates. Like other mosquito species, only females require a blood meal to produce eggs.
In warm regions, Asian tiger mosquitoes are active year-round. However, they are known to overwinter in more temperate climates. The female lays her eggs inside items that can hold at least a half inch of stagnant water, such as tires, flowerpots, birdbaths and clogged drains. That means something as small as a bottle cap can hold enough water for larvae (the immature form of insects) to develop! Breeding sites are likely to be close to where the adult mosquito can be found.
Asian tiger mosquitoes can transmit numerous diseases including Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), West Nile virus, and dengue fever. This biting insect is also the primary vector for Chikungunya, a virus similar to dengue fever. The disease originated in southeast Africa and was first described in Tanzania in 1952. It has since spread throughout the Americas, the Caribbean islands, and most recently in the United States.