Where Do Mosquitoes Go in the Winter?
All through the summer, you swatted at mosquitoes and loaded up on insect repellent. But now, as you’re preparing for fall holidays and winter excursions, are you noticing a happy absence? That’s right — the mosquitoes are gone! There’s nothing we’re more excited to say goodbye to than the worry of mosquito-borne diseases and itchy welts. But did the mosquitoes disappear? Or simply die? Where do mosquitoes go in the winter?
Some Mosquitoes Die
Some mosquitoes do, indeed, die as the temperatures drop, but these mosquitoes aren’t the ones we wish would die. It’s the male mosquitoes that die before autumn ends, but males are not the mosquitoes that bite — they feed on plant nectar. The females are the ones who need your blood to produce eggs. And depending on the species, the female mosquitoes just go right on living — out of sight.
It’s not just bears and squirrels who sleep away the winter. Female mosquitoes also enter a period of inactive dormancy for up to six months. Before she goes into hibernation, however, the female mosquito lays her eggs so they can hatch when conditions become favorable in the spring.
Mosquito Eggs Through the Winter
A female mosquito looks for an optimal place to lay her eggs — and that could be in your very backyard (you’d never know it, either!). She looks for areas where the ground is moist and lays up to 300 eggs at a time. These eggs lie dormant until temperatures rise and enough rain falls in the spring.
What if you live somewhere where the ground freezes for most of the winter? The irritatingly resilient mosquito has a solution — it actually delays its development (for months, even) until there’s enough warmth and water. At that point, the mosquito can carry on its course of development until it’s another pesky mosquito ruining your summer barbecue next year.
When the weather warms up, if a female mosquito has eggs to deposit after hibernation, she’ll be on the hunt for blood so she can help her eggs develop. That means she’ll be looking for humans — who also will be emerging from their warm houses to enjoy the sunshine en masse. The conditions couldn’t be more favorable for the blood-thirsty mosquito. She’ll then go on to lay her eggs (remember — up to 300 at a time!) every three days during her adult life — which will likely last six to eight weeks. Yes, that’s thousands of mosquitoes from one female. And if that female was already infected with a disease like Zika, her offspring may carry it as well.
How to Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes During the Winter
Even though you likely won’t see many mosquitoes this winter, you can take precautions to protect yourself from the potential mosquitoes that could invade your property come spring.
Take a walk around your property and look for water-holding items. Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water in the fall, you’ll want to remove any potential for that standing water to rest throughout the winter months. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in as little as half an inch of water. Bring in flowerpots, old toys, tires, and anything else that will provide a welcome home to 300 or more mosquito eggs.
Unclog your gutters and inspect your home for leaky pipes and faucets (and fix any you find). You can also drill holes in the bottom of your tire swings or wheel barrels so water doesn’t get the chance to pool.
If you live in an area where it doesn’t get much colder than 50 degrees throughout the winter (Southern California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Hawaii, etc.), continue to apply mosquito repellent when you spend time outdoors.