Mosquito Life Cycle
The mosquito life cycle is composed of four stages: Eggs, Larvae, Pupae, and Adult.
Stage 1: Eggs
Adult, female mosquitoes lay their eggs in a variety of aquatic habitats. In order for the eggs to develop, most females need a blood meal. With each blood meal, the female can lay several hundred eggs. Some mosquitoes lay their eggs in a raft on the surface of the water, like you see in the image above, while others lay them singly on moist soil or the walls of artificial containers. After 24 to 48 hours, the eggs will hatch and release larvae. It only takes a small amount of water to attract a female mosquito, making some traps designed to attract gravid mosquitoes a viable option for species, like Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Female mosquitoes come into the trap to lay eggs near the water, but instead encounter a killing agent.
Stage 2: Larvae
Mosquitoes spend as little as 5 days in the larval stage. Depending on the availability of food and environmental conditions, they could spend weeks or even months in the larval stage. Mosquito larvae breathe using a siphon that penetrates the water’s surface. In this stage, mosquito larvae are eating organic content in the water, and go through 4 instars, growing at each molt. During this time, the water can be treated with different larvicides to prevent the larvae from developing into the next stage of the mosquito life cycle.
Stage 3: Pupae
Relative to the larval stage, mosquitoes spend much less time in the pupal stage (approximately 1-3 days). Pupae breathe using ‘trumpets’ that penetrate the water’s surface. Unlike the mosquito larvae, pupae are a non-feeding stage and instead, focus entirely on transformation. At this stage, the water can still be treated with certain products that provide quick mortality.
Stage 4: Adult
Once the mosquitoes have reached the adult stage, they will feed on sugar sources, such as nectar. Only the female mosquito will seek out a blood meal so she can successfully develop her eggs. The life span of mosquitoes varies widely, but can range from weeks to months. A female mosquito can lay several batches of eggs during her life. Adult mosquitos can be controlled through the use of adulticide products applied through handheld, backpack, truck-mounted, and even aerial sprayers. To prevent the development of insecticide resistance, products with different modes of action should be rotated regularly.