Mosquitoes are perhaps the most reviled outdoor pest on the planet and with good reason due to their incessant biting and bothersome itch after they have feasted on your blood. To make matters worse, mosquitoes are vectors for potentially deadly diseases, such as West Nile virus, Zika, malaria and many others.
Although there are many highly effective insecticides available to treat against them, living with mosquitoes is a fact of life for anybody dwelling in a humid, moist region. If there is any consolation, mosquitoes do not live very long—but due to their massive reproductive behaviors, you can always count on droves of mosquitoes to be around in the warmer months of the year.
What is the average lifespan of a mosquito? Mosquitoes from conception to death vary in lifespan; males typically only live upwards of 7 to 10 days, while females can live from 40 days to two months depending on ambient, regional temperatures.
Mosquitoes are a parasitic insect and their lifespan is dependent upon mammalian blood. If it were only the case that the worst attribute of a mosquito bite is a bothersome itch, you could probably just overlook their existence as a fact of life—but mosquitoes cause hundreds of thousands of human deaths per year due to the transmission of deadly diseases.
These insects multiply at a rapid, constant rate and a female can lay upwards of 500 eggs per lifetime—ensuring that an endless supply of mosquitoes will continuously thrive in a region. Although it is important to know the lifespan of a mosquito, the fact becomes a moot point due to this incessant reproductive behavior.
The mosquito lifespan has many stages and it is important to the know the timeframes to better understand their longevity.
What are the Four Stages of the Mosquito Life Cycle?
Mosquitoes have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, adult. To begin, it is important to remember that mosquitoes require water to reproduce; stagnant water in either lakes, streams, rivers, ditches, and any standing rainwater collected around the home are the requirements to produce mosquitoes.
Have you ever seen mosquitoes hovering over water and bobbing up and down above it? Females just fly over the water, bobbing up and down to the water surface and dropping eggs single handedly on the surface of the water.
As soon as adult males and females mature to their final life stage, their first act is to mate, with a female possessing the ability to produce upwards of 500 eggs which must gestate in water.
Any matter that is saturated with water, such as mud, water-logged trees and leaves, and even soil in areas that feature consistent rain can be used as an egg habitat for mosquitoes. The eggs can hatch in only a matter of days and in some cases, immediately.
Mosquitoes will also deposit eggs in safe areas prior to the first freeze after a hot season, ensuring that new batches that have dried out are ready to hatch once humid temperatures resume.
The eggs drift on top of water in a state known as diapause and can be incredibly hard to see with the naked eye. Once hatched, the larva stage begins.
Mosquito larvae are aquatic creatures that feed on algae, bacteria and other microorganisms in the water. Certain mosquito species will even eat each other. They spend most of their time hanging upside down at the surface, sucking in oxygen from breathing tubes located in their tails.
This is the only time that mosquitoes will feed on other substances other than human and animal blood. Because mosquitoes are cold-blooded and rely on external heat sources to warm their bodies, development depends on the temperature; the warmer it is, the faster the mosquito larvae will grow, and you can usually see mosquitoes at this stage due to their moving across the water.
Most larvae develop over about a week or so, shedding their skins – known as molting – four times on the way to becoming mosquito pupae. The molting stages are called instars. By the fourth one, each mosquito larva is almost a quarter inch long. They swim through their water-based home by propelling themselves about with force much like a maggot.
The pupa stage sees the mosquito feed less and mostly remain dormant at the surface of the water for a few days before splitting one final stage of development into an adult.
Adult mosquitoes mate within the first few days after emerging. The male mosquitoes sometimes must wait for about a day for their reproductive parts to fully develop. They locate females by listening for the sounds of their wings, which run about 250-500 beats per minute.
The mosquitoes join, and the males pass sperm to the females, perpetuating the mosquito life cycle. Once their job is done, male mosquitoes live three to five days; the females tend to mate only once, but live considerably longer, depending on how much warmth and moisture is in their environment and under ideal conditions, they may last upwards of a month or two.
How Long Do Mosquitoes Live?
As previously mentioned, mosquitoes live for 7 to 10 days if male and upwards of two months if female. It is important to point out that a lot of this has to do with how warm and moist the weather is in any given region. If you live in an environment that is warm and humid year-round—then you can count on mosquitoes never going away.
Mosquitoes also will lay eggs in safe areas over the winter months, which essentially means that if you live in a region that is warm and humid, you can expect to deal with mosquitoes in the spring, summer, and early autumn months.
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How Long Do Mosquitoes Live Indoors?
If mosquitoes find themselves into your home, you may wonder how long do mosquitoes live in your house for? Mosquitoes cannot reproduce without blood and only female mosquitoes actually bite humans and animals, so if you ever see mosquitoes inside of your home—which is inevitable if you frequently open windows and doors—and you are not being bitten, it could be males inside of your home and a simple flying insect repellant will kill them.
Like bed bugs, mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide in humans and animals and will seek this out both indoors and out. Mosquitoes can live their average lifespan inside of your home of 7 to 10 days for males and 40 to 60 days for females and this is amplified if the mosquitoes are breeding in drains and water and/or sewer piping; the same applies if trying to decide how long do mosquitoes live in your car.
How Long Does a Mosquito Live for After Biting Someone? How Many Times Can One Mosquito Bite You?
Female mosquitoes can bite and suck blood through their proboscis multiple times in their life span. Blood is required to produce eggs and a female mosquito will typically bite a host multiple times to develop her offspring. A mosquito needs animal blood to receive protein and ensure that their eggs will fully develop, so there is no limited number of times that a mosquito can bite you! But there are variations depending on the mosquito species in question.
Some mosquito species can produce at least a few eggs without having any blood meal; if they get a blood meal, they will be able to produce a big batch of eggs. Another group of mosquito species require one full blood meal to produce a batch of eggs. The mosquito can sense when its gut is full of blood and stops feeding, withdraws its proboscis and flies away to digest the blood meal which provides the raw materials for synthesizing the yolk protein to be deposited it in the developing eggs.
Another group of mosquito species will need more than one blood meal to produce a batch of eggs. Typically, the bite of the mosquito is a single insertion of its proboscis to fill it to satiation; if it needs a second bite it will be days later when the mosquito may decide to bite you again.
Do Mosquitoes Die if They Don’t Get Blood?
If you are wondering how long mosquitoes live without blood, the answer may surprise you. As previously mentioned, male mosquitoes do not feed on blood, they solely exist to impregnant females and in their week-long lifespan, typically feed on plant nectar—which is also what females feed on when not scouring for blood.
When assessing how long do mosquitoes live without food, it is important to remember that female mosquitoes only need blood for reproduction, their other food sources come from plant nectar as well as water. A mosquito can live their entire lifespan without blood—but this goes against the DNA triggers in females, who will seek it all costs to ensure the next generation.
At What Temperature Do Mosquitoes Die?
Mosquitoes require warm, moist, and humid weather to thrive, but they have mechanisms available in humid regions that also experience freezing temperatures. Typically, mosquitoes will die as soon as the first freeze of thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit is observed in a region. Males continuously die after one week of life, but females will also hibernate inside of wood and soil until the spring—surviving on stored nectar and juices to survive the winter by going into a state of diapause.
Some females may choose to deposit their eggs over freezing water where the eggs will also go into diapause until the temperatures begin to warm.
Do Mosquitoes Die in the Winter? How Do They Survive Cold Temperatures?
Mosquitoes will typically die off after the first freezing temperature is observed; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all mosquitoes will die. Females can go into a state of hibernation and will typically lay their eggs in water—where the eggs will survive the cold and hatch in spring. The bites will stop during the cold months, but some females will hibernate, and their eggs will hatch just as soon as the freezing temperatures subside.
When the warm weather returns, if the female mosquito hibernated and has eggs to deposit, the female must find a blood meal. Remember, the female needs the protein in blood to help her eggs develop. In the spring, when you reemerge outdoors wearing short sleeves, is exactly the time when newly awakened mosquitoes are out in full force looking for blood.
Once a female mosquito has fed, she will rest for a couple of days and then lay her eggs in whatever standing water she can find. Under ideal conditions, females can live about six to eight weeks. Usually, females lay eggs every three days during their adulthood—but if a female decides to undergo a state of diapause during the winter—her lifespan can exceed six months or more.
Mosquitoes are incredibly resilient insects who may have short life spans, but their incredible reproductive techniques ensure that they will never be eradicated. The four life stages of the mosquito are egg, larva, pupa, and finally, adult. From egg to adult only lasts for a matter of days before a fully formed adult mosquito is flying about seeking blood to continue the next generation. Males do not feed on blood and live only 7 to 10 days, whereas females consistently feed on blood to nurture their eggs with protein to adequately develop. Both genders live on water and plant nectar for survival, but animal blood is crucial to ensuring their species does not die out.
Mosquitoes can live inside of your home and car, but these are not their preferred locations. Mosquitoes can live their entire lifespan without blood, but females will actively hunt for it to produce offspring. Winter temperatures will ensure that mosquitoes remain dormant; however, females do not necessarily die in winter. Ultimately, the mosquito has a short life, but their skills at reproduction ensure longevity.