- Color: varies depending on the species. Some species are solid brown, or also with stripes. Other species may have black bodies with silver or white bands on the their legs of body.
- Size: adult mosquitoes range from 1/8 to 1/4 inches.
- Mosquitoes belong to the order Diptera, or the flies. Like all flies, they only possess one pair of wings instead of two. Mosquitoes have very fine scales on their wings.
- Mosquitoes have piercing-sucking mouthparts, shaped into a long needle-like beak.
- The aquatic larvae are legless and have a pronounced head. Many species have bristles on the abdomen to assist with breathing from the water’s surface.
Habits of Mosquitoes:
- The larval stage of all mosquitoes are aquatic. Different species prefer to lay eggs in different types of aquatic habitats.
- The Asian tiger mosquito and the yellow fever mosquito lay eggs and develop in water inside artificial containers such as empty flower pots and unused tires.
- Other species lay eggs in a variety of natural habitats, including clean water or the edges of salt marshes.
- Only the female feeds on human blood, which serves as a source of nourishment for developing eggs.
- The larvae typically feed upon algae as they develop.
- Different species of adult mosquitoes will feed during different times of day, including in full daylight or only at dusk.
Damage caused by Mosquitoes:
- Mosquitoes are well known for their bites, which are often painful and can itch for several days.
- A number of diseases are transmitted by mosquito bites om in the United States including St. Louis encephalitis, western equine encephalitis and West Nile virus.
- In addition to threatening human health, many mosquito-vectored diseases also threaten wildlife populations such as birds.
- Standing water, such as used tires, old cans, abandoned swimming pools, and slow-draining puddles that may support mosquito larvae. Some mosquitoes only need 10 days to complete development.
- Adults are often found resting in shaded areas.
How to Control and Kill Mosquitoes:
- Removing breeding sites is the easiest way to reduce populations of container-breeding mosquitoes. Clean up containers and do not allow standing water to remain for multiple days in a row.
- Adult mosquitoes are drawn to lights at night. Relocate lights near people or switch to sodium vapor and/or yellow bug lights to reduce their attractiveness.
- When outdoors, use mosquito repellents such as sprays containing DEET.
- Mosquito larvae can be killed with tablets containing the bacteria Bti.
- Pest control companies can use pesticide to target resting sites used by adult mosquitoes.