The Life Cycle of Mosquitoes
February 26, 2023
Imagine a warm summer evening with friends and family in your backyard. Maybe you’ve got the grill going, the kids are running around playing, a light breeze hits, and everything feels at peace.
That is, until you feel something on your arm—a mosquito. An hour later, you catch yourself feverishly scratching a very itchy and irritating mosquito bite.
But what happens to the mosquito after this interaction? Does it die after it bites? Learn more about a mosquito’s life cycle, their different life stages, why they bite, and how long they live.
What are the stages of the mosquito life cycle?
Like most insects, mosquitoes develop over different stages. The Aedes aegypti mosquito (also known as the yellow fever mosquito), is one of the most common germ-spreading mosquitoes in the United States. The Aedes mosquito has the following common life cycle.
- Egg: hatch submerged in water within 1 day–5 years, but can survive up to 8 months waiting for water to cover them
- Larva: 7-day stage generally (but up to several weeks), similar to a caterpillar where larva molt several times before becoming a pupa
- Pupa: a 2–3 day transitional phase (but up to a few weeks) in which they grow wings and other new organs
- Adult: Females lay eggs, and the cycle continues
This life cycle usually happens over the course of only 8 days. Females generally lay eggs right above the water line on walls. Females can lay up to 100 eggs at one time.
Adult female mosquitoes are the ones that bite humans because they need the nutrients in our blood to help them lay their eggs. Both male and female mosquitoes drink nectar for normal sustenance.
Other common mosquitoes in the U.S. are Culex mosquitoes and Anopheles mosquitoes. The Culex mosquito has the same life cycle described above, but its cycle can sometimes take 2 to 4 weeks to complete if it’s not in the dead of summer. The Anopheles mosquito also goes through the same stages as the Aedes mosquito. Its cycle can take 10 to 14 days.
Which blood type are mosquitoes most drawn to?
According to a study conducted in 2019, mosquitoes seem to prefer type O blood. This is because of the specific proteins on the surface of the red blood cells, called antigens. In 2004, scientists tested which antigen attracted mosquitoes the most. The results showed that H antigens were the winner—and people with type O blood secrete H antigens in their tears and saliva.
While mosquitoes prefer type O blood, they still bite people of all other blood types. Mosquitoes are also attracted to a combination of carbon dioxide, heat, and normal bacteria that are found on skin.
No matter your blood type, it’s best to cover up outdoors in summer and be extra vigilant with mosquito spray during warmer months. Mosquitoes can transmit diseases like West Nile Virus, yellow fever, encephalitis, or malaria, so it’s important to protect yourself and speak with a doctor if you have any concerns.
Why do mosquitoes exist?
Mosquitoes have an important purpose in our ecosystem and natural food chain, and there are two main reasons they exist:
- Mosquitoes eat flower nectar and pollinate plants that we rely on
- Other animals (like hummingbirds, bats, turtles, and dragonflies) eat mosquitoes as a food source
Pest control professionals can help
Hawx Premium Pest Control treats pests like mosquitoes and many more—then works to prevent them from being an annoyance. If pests come back between treatments, so will we, at no additional cost. We offer mosquito control for your current problems and preventative treatments to treat mosquitoes before they become a problem.