Researchers believe that mosquitoes originated in South Africa and spread around the world before humans. We estimate that there are more than 170 species of mosquitoes in the US and more than 2700 species around the world.
Mosquitoes have evolved to mostly operate during the evening and night times. While you may find an odd mosquito during the day, they mostly come out to breed and feed at night. Mosquitoes are most common in summer. Their breeding seasons start in early spring and continue till the end of autumn. Their activity is the lowest during winter.
Let’s take a more detailed look at mosquito lifecycle and activity in this piece.
Daily Mosquito Activity
Dawn and Dusk Mosquitoes
Many varieties of mosquitoes operate during dawn and dusk. These are times when the temperature is mild, and the sun is on the horizon. It is neither too cold, nor too hot and give the mosquitoes the perfect temperature for feeding and breeding.
Two common species that operate at this time are Culex and Anopheles mosquitoes. These varieties of mosquitoes prefer to come out during the evening, as the sun begins to disappear. They remain active until the sun begins to rise in the morning.
These mosquitoes prefer outdoors and fly around the porch, patio or lawn. They become a nuisance during a barbecue or while you are working on your car in the evening. Some of them may make their way inside your home through open windows.
Although these species of mosquitoes are most active during the early morning or evening hours, they can continue to be active during the night. This happens particularly on nights that are warm and humid.
These mosquitoes are particularly active in the early hours of the evening, and their activity goes down as the night wears on. This is because these mosquitoes must feed when they first get active, or they die out. Once they’ve fed and become full they bite less and fly away to breed.
Be aware, though, a mosquito that manages to find its way inside your home may bite people throughout the night multiple times because it has easy access to food.
As noted above, the most common types of house mosquito are most active during the night. They mosquitoes avoid daylight at all costs because long term exposure to sunlight out in the open can dehydrate and kill them. They are kind of like vampires, only much smaller and less lethal.
The night species of mosquito stays in cool, shaded and wet areas during the day. They mostly live in the gutters and drain areas that have plenty of moisture and shade. They come out at dusk to feed and bite. They are not as active as the evening mosquitoes when they first come out and get more active around midnight. After a night of activity, they start looking for places to rest before dawn.
These mosquitoes are very good at hiding. They have adapted to get more active later when their prey is sleeping. Their bites start early in the evening and carry out throughout the night. That’s why it’s important to keep these mosquitoes out of your home. If a few of them get inside, they will bite and hide repeatedly throughout the night.
There are a few species of mosquitoes that are more active during the day in summer and spring. For example, the Aedus mosquitoes that are common in the South East states like Georgia prefer to come out during the day.
These species feed on human and animal blood. They can carry several diseases and bacteria that can cause fever in humans. Apart from causing disease, these mosquitoes cause itchy bites that can cause small bumps and rashes on your skin. People with particularly sensitive skin will find this variety a real nuisance.
You can avoid daytime mosquitoes with some simple techniques. One effective way is to sit near a fan. These mosquitoes find it difficult to fly in strong air flow, so they will avoid flying into the path of the fan air. This can work in hot summer days when these mosquitoes are most active.
Another thing you can do is to wear the right clothing. These mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colored fabrics, particularly blue or black clothes where you will find a lot of them buzzing around. Lighter colored and white clothing is almost like mosquito camouflage and makes you harder to spot. It is also suitable for summer when they are most active.
You may have heard about “mosquito season” from many people. It is a widely held belief that mosquitoes tend to get active around May and continue until August. While there is some truth here that mosquitoes are active during this time, it has more to do with temperature levels than the time of the year.
For example, if we get a particularly warm spring right off the bat in March, mosquito activity can start as early as April. If the weather remains warm and moist throughout the summer, you can expect a larger number of mosquitoes to invade your home.
On the other hand, if the cold winter extends into March and April, mosquitoes may remain in hibernation and only begin to grow in numbers in late June.
Mosquito Temperature Preference
The number to be careful about, in this case, is from 60°F to 100°F. This is the temperature where mosquitoes begin to get active and operate.
You see, during the cold winter months, most mosquitoes of various species die off. A limited number survive by hibernating in damp, warm places. When spring returns, the snow begins to melt. Mosquitoes become active again at this time and come out of hibernation or incubating eggs.
Most species of mosquitoes in the United States are active during the warmest summer months. When the temperatures reach 80°F or higher – which usually happens by June – you will see a lot more mosquito activity.
We should note that when temperatures get too high, you will see a drop in mosquito activity. Most species of mosquitoes in the US can only survive in temperatures up to 100°F. If the mercury rises higher than that and stays so for several days, it can dry out the mosquitoes and kill them. This is why the number of mosquitoes often drops in extended periods of hot summers.
Some mosquito species in Africa and India have adapted to higher temperatures and can stay alive even up to 120°F.
What to Do Before and During Mosquito Season
There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of mosquito bites.
Remove Standing Water Sources
First, understand that mosquitoes require moisture to stay alive and water to breed. A female mosquito can lay hundreds of eggs in any size of standing water body, regardless of how big or small it is.
If you have an old planter in the backyard, an open swimming pool, a birdbath on the deck or left cans of paint in your shed, they can all become breeding grounds for a wave of mosquitoes. Open gutters and muddy ground near any drain leakage can also provide a nesting ground for mosquitoes.
If you have uneven surfaces in your lawn that collect and hold rainwater, they can also become a place for mosquitoes to lay eggs. Make sure that you eliminate all these sources of standing water to lower the mosquito populations around your property.
Mosquito Activity Times
Second, you need to understand mosquitoes operating times. Most species do not remain active throughout the entire day. Most of them are active in the evening, at night or at dawn time. At these times, the sun is not too hot and the air temperature is not too warm to affect mosquitoes.
It is best to avoid going outdoors at these times to reduce the chance of getting bit by a mosquito. Female mosquitoes bite people early in the evening to obtain the blood that they need for reproduction. So stay indoors if you can.
You should also keep all doors, windows and other possible entrances into your home shut at these times. Mosquitoes begin to appear an hour or so before sunset, so shut your doors and windows before that time.
It is understandable if you cannot simply avoid spending time outdoors during these hours. To lessen your chances of a bite, you should consider wearing full-sleeved clothes and long trousers that cover your legs all the way to the ankle. Make sure to keep moving around and do not be stationary if you have mosquitoes around you while outdoors.
Use Bug Sprays and Mosquito Repellants
Thirdly, you may want to use bug sprays inside your home to kill or drive away mosquitoes. Most commercial bug sprays contain approved insecticides or natural repellants such as lemongrass and oil of eucalyptus that can help deter mosquitoes.
Remember though, these sprays are not foolproof, and some mosquitoes can still get through. You can also use natural repellants on your body and clothes that can drive mosquitoes away.
Mosquitoes are dangerous. Unlike other pests that are good at hiding, mosquitoes will attack you head on even when you are awake. Most mosquito species come out at night when you are asleep, further increasing their chances of feeding on you and your loved ones.
The good news is that they are only active at certain times of the day and become a problem during spring and summer. By following some effective precautions and remedies, you can keep yourself and loved ones safe from mosquito bites.