Where Do Mosquitoes go in Winter?

March 10, 2013

Where do Mosquitoes go during winter?

Mosquitoes do not fly south for the winter they stay right here in some form or another.  Some mosquitoes overwinter as eggs, some as larvae, and others, the adults, simply survive the winter.

The Asian tiger mosquito the ones that look like mosquitoes on steroids deposit cold hardy eggs in the fall in moist areas and these eggs are programmed to hatch in spring when those areas are flooded and temperatures are warmer.

Most mosquitoes survive winter in the adult stage in a sort of hibernating state, called diapause.  After mating in the fall, the females fatten up on nectar (not blood) so they have resources for the winter.  These pregnant mosquitoes are spending the winter in animal burrows, hollow logs, tree holes, under bark, in storm sewers, and in sheds, barns and crawlspaces.  These are the first mosquitoes you see in the spring and they are looking for a blood meal so they can lay their eggs.  I saw some of these today as the temperature went up to sixty degrees or above. 

Now there are a few mosquitoes that use another method to survive the winter.  They spend the winter as larvae, submerged and relatively inactive in very cold standing water.  When the water warms up as spring breaks upon us these larvae will complete their development and soon become the adult blood suckers we dislike.

Now, we can do something about these larvae by simply walking in our yards and looking for standing water.  Puddles, overlooked buckets, plastic containers, even toys can have water that these pests have survived the winter in.  Let’s not forget to clean out the downspouts and gutters as water easily collects there also.

The one nice thing about mosquitoes is that it is a sure sign of spring to see them in the air or on your arm.

Thanks to Pinto & Associates, Inc. the producers of Techletter and Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations – Seventh Edition for information used in this article.

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