Mosquitoes have four separate stages in their life cycle. They begin as eggs that are laid atop bodies of water either singularly or in clusters called “rafts”. The eggs then hatch underwater and are called larvae. Larvae go through four stages of their own called “instars” before molting into pupae. It is in the pupal stage that the adult mosquito begins to form. Within a few days the cycle will be complete with the adult emerging on the surface of the water.
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Mosquitoes feed primarily on nectar but the female must take a blood meal before she can produce her eggs. The male mosquito does not need a blood meal and therefore does not bite. Females only mate once, after which they are capable of producing eggs on their own (with the help of another blood meal of course). Female mosquitoes typically live for about a month, but can produce up to 1,000 eggs in their lifetime.
There are over 60 different species of mosquitoes in Ohio. It is important to remember that not all mosquitoes carry diseases and most prefer not to bite humans. There are however, several species known to carry diseases such as West Nile virus, La Crosse and St. Louis encephalitis. Here are some common vector (disease carrying) mosquitoes in Ohio.
- Culex pipiens primary vector for West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis; active in the evening.
- Aedes triseriatus vector for La Crosse encephalitis; active during the daytime.
- Aedes albopictus vector for Chikungunya; active during the daytime. Disease is not present in Ohio but is of concern because this aggressive mosquito is an excellent disease vector
For more information about mosquito borne diseases, please visit the CDC's website.