Everyone hates mosquitoes and we all have a natural instinct to swat them dead. The only interaction we wish for with these pesky disease-spreading insects is the one after a perfectly-timed open hand splat. Of course, some people prefer torches and sprays instead of dirtying their hands.
However, sometimes good ole’ Mother Nature does the job.
Even though mosquitoes populate very quickly in water, they are never completely impervious to cold temperatures. On the other hand, the bad news is that a few mosquitos have been known to produce a natural ‘antifreeze’ inside their bodies.
For this reason, some mosquitoes have been found to look for a warm and cozy home under several inches of snow. This is probably why you’re asking, “At what temperature do mosquitoes die?”
Well, in this post you’re about to find out exactly what you came looking for along with some facts about how some of these skeeters tend to survive extreme temperatures.
The mosquitoes you wish were dead are, of course, the female species. If you were previously wishing for the male species to die as well, you probably didn’t know that these poor creatures don’t lay eggs or bite your skin out of blood-thirst.
Out of the 4000 species of insects, most of them start rolling over at 50 degrees or lower. However, some female species do not give up until they have given birth to their next generation.
Female mosquitoes can lay the eggs of their offspring in water (even if it is entirely frozen) before breathing their last breath. A genocide of mosquitoes could only be triggered by sub-zero temperatures over a period of several days.
So if you’re planning on moving to a place where no mosquitoes can survive, might we suggest Iceland?
Even though we have established that low temperatures can be deadly for mosquitoes, you might be surprised at how they keep warm.
Some mosquitoes prefer to wait it out until warm weather arrives again, and they make use of a variety of covers. For instance, their equally disgusting cousin, the tick, burrows under the snow, and leaf litter to stay warm enough to survive.
Mosquitoes follow suit and move to warmer interiors such as attics or outbuildings. The only reason most of us don’t notice them during this time is that they are inactive and not searching for food (blood) during hibernation.
Female mosquitoes are the most adamant upon survival because they hibernate with a hearty meal. They consume enough nectar preceding the winter months in order to ‘fatten up’ and as a result, they can easily survive for several months.
Sadly, most of the other blood bandits aren’t as far-sighted as the female mosquito and they are only able to live up to 7 weeks.
We’ve all appreciated the ‘why women live longer than men’ memes, but this is actually true for mosquitoes. Most male mosquitoes die like Han Solo in the Empire Strikes Back but female mosquitoes have unlocked the skills to keep going.
If you live in an area that receives heavy snowfall during the winter, you would be well-acquainted with how to antifreeze your car. Similarly, mosquitoes generate a substance called glycerol to replace some of the liquids in their body.
In doing so, the glycerol keeps their cells from freezing over so that they don’t incur any physical damages. This biochemical process also lowers the overall freezing point of fluids, thereby guaranteeing their survival in much lower temperatures than 50 degrees.
In a nutshell, glycerol is the reason it would take several days of unforgiving sub-zero temperatures to wipe out all mosquitoes in the vicinity.
It doesn’t matter whether nature’s female vampires survive the winter or not, they WILL lay their final batch of eggs as soon as the cold months approach.
These hundreds of eggs will automatically enter into a state of ‘diapause’ and they will remain in this state until they are welcomed by warmer temperatures. When the time arrives, all they will need is a ¼ inch of water and a few seconds to hatch.
Once these eggs hatch, these infant mosquitoes will stay submerged in water for nearly 10 days before starting out their lifecycle, out in the open. According to most experts, these mosquitoes won’t fly off too far because they cannot fly high or for long distances.
Since they are still young, these mosquitoes will stay within approximately a 100 feet radius of where they hatched.
For those mosquitoes that operate in moderate temperatures during winter, they will strike their hosts inside their homes.
For instance, people who live in Southern US will bear witness that they experience mosquito bites inside their homes during winter months. Since outdoor temperatures tend to reach extreme ranges, these insects prefer staying indoors for comfort.
Granted, they won’t be as active as they are during summertime, but they will still muster the strength to bite through your goose bump-riddled skin. You see, mosquitoes are cold-blooded creatures and during cold temperatures, they have trouble regulating their internal temperature.
Some doctors have reported cases of West Nile Virus in areas of the balmy south, as late as the smack dab in the middle of December.
Did you know that the earliest species of mosquitoes can be dated back to the Jurassic period? This is why it is safe to say that, there seems to be no sign of their extinction in the near future. Like cockroaches, these winged vampires may survive all the swatters and cold temperatures.
Mosquitoes aren’t simply annoying and itchy, because some of their bites can be deadly too. This is because of the fact that the saliva of a mosquito may transfer dangerous contents into the victim’s bloodstream.
Some common examples of these contents include:
- The Canine Heartworm
- West Nile Virus
- The Zika Virus
The Anopheles breed is considered to be the most fatal among all mosquito species. This is because of the fact that they transmit malaria through a parasite already present in their system. Some researchers have also concluded that they are the most dangerous ‘animals’ on the planet because their saliva causes millions of deaths per year.
Surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be because some historians believe this is how Alexander the Great met his maker all the way back in 323 B.C.
Mosquitoes are natural predators. Even though some believe that bats feast on them, it is safe to say that they fail to get rid of a large chunk of these critters. Similarly, dragonflies and birds also get their claws and beaks on some of the millions of adult mosquitoes in the air.
Since their larvae are underwater, they get introduced into the food chain with the help of Fingerling fish. Other than these, some natural remedies are known to keep them at bay such as mosquito sprays and fire pits.
If your home is prone to water ponds around its vicinity, you can also try sprinkling coffee grounds around your yard or porch. Doing so has been found to be effective against mosquito eggs.
Like most other home remedies, prevention is the cure to all problems. Preventing mosquito eggs can keep your home safe, however, keeping adult female mosquitoes away is of equal importance.
Adult female mosquitoes require 2 ½ times their gruesome body weight in blood on a daily basis and not surprisingly enough, they aren’t very picky about where they get it from. This is why you should have appropriate measures around your home to repel or kill them.
Without these measures, every winter, your family will become a nice buffet for winter-prone mosquitoes – and you will have mosquito bites all year round.
The easy answer: anywhere below 50 degrees. Even if some mosquitoes survive these crisp temperatures, their cold-blooded bodies will slow down. Eventually, these mosquitoes will migrate, hibernate or roll-over and die.
Still, scientists have come across a few species of mosquitoes that have adapted to cold climates. For example, some of these species can be found in arctic locations such as Alaska.
Of course, the mosquitoes you’re fighting a never-ending war with are tropical mosquitoes and once the temperature hits 45 degrees, they’ll start changing their habits.
The best-case scenario: these mosquitoes will die as soon as the thermometer drops to 50 degrees.
The worst-case scenario: the adult female mosquitoes may lay eggs one last time that will float about till the summer months bring along ideal temperatures for them to hatch.