How Long Do Mosquitoes Live?

Summer brings us joy, but it also brings us pesky mosquitoes. Buggers got you down? Here's the lowdown on how long mosquitoes live.

There’s nothing more enjoyable than spending some time outdoors and coming back inside only to realize you’re suddenly extremely itchy from mosquito bites. We’re totally kidding! But it may seem inevitable, especially during warmer seasons, that you’ll become the apple of a mosquito’s eye.

Even when you’ve tried just about every mosquito repellent and planted every mosquito-repellent plant under the sun, all while remembering how to keep mosquitoes away, it can seem like these little flies just won’t quit.

So how long do mosquitoes live, anyway? You’re in luck, as these guys come and go—problem is, it’s a never-ending cycle.

How long do mosquitoes live?

According to the American Mosquito Control Association, the lifespan of these insects really varies by species, with the majority of mature female mosquitoes living just two to three weeks. However, some female mosquitoes can live up to 100 days. And some types of mosquitoes are known to survive in places like garages and attics for up to six months.

Something else that impacts how long mosquitoes live: the seasons. In winter, for instance, male mosquitoes typically die off, as temperatures below 50 degrees are not suitable for mosquitoes. However, female mosquitoes survive in colder weather by hibernating.

In the fall, females will burrow into hollow logs or cracks in the ground and enter their form of hibernation. “They can hibernate for up to six months in freezing or waterless conditions,” says Jayme Bella, founder and CEO of Greenerways Organic. “They delay their development, typically for months, and carry on with life only when there is enough water or warmth for their needs.”

What is the lifecycle of a mosquito?

After a female mosquito bites, aka gets a blood meal from you or another human, she lays her eggs in stagnant water or in an area that’s prone to flooding, per the pest control experts at Terminix. This sets the life cycle of new mosquitoes into motion.

It can take anywhere from four days to four weeks for a mosquito to develop from an egg to an adult mosquito, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Mosquito eggs hatch in water, producing a larva, or what’s known as a “wriggler.” The wriggler lives and feeds in the water, then develops into the third stage of the life cycle, called a pupa or “tumbler.” The tumbler lives in the water but doesn’t eat.

The answer to the question “how long do mosquitoes live?” is dependent on how long it takes the adult mosquito to emerge from its pupal case, which relies on the temperature of the water, food and the species of mosquito in question. Once it does, it’s ready to fly and, yes, possibly wreak havoc on your next barbecue, picnic or morning jog.

How long does a mosquito live after biting someone?

Male mosquitoes don’t bite, but female mosquitoes do—they need fuel to reproduce, after all. There’s a myth that a mosquito will die quickly after biting someone, but that claim is false, according to Mosquito Squad. They say the female mosquito mouth has the ability to continuously feed on blood, which means a mosquito can easily move on after biting someone. So as long as they’re buzzing around, they can bite—if they’re not squished first.

How to protect yourself from mosquitoes

The question of how long mosquitoes live may be up to us, their victims, and how well we protect ourselves from their bites. Without our blood, mosquitoes are toast. If you find yourself heading out on a buggy day (or visiting the most mosquito-infested city in America), here are some tips for protecting yourself:

  • Dump standing water (think pool covers and clogged rain gutters) where eggs can develop into full-blown insects.
  • Wear clothing that covers the skin (long-sleeve shirts, pants, etc.), or invest in some mosquito-repellent clothing.
  • Use mosquito repellent.
  • Put mosquito-repellent plants in your garden and outdoor areas.
  • If you notice tons of mosquitoes out one day, consider staying indoors to avoid them.

Alas, even when we try our best to avoid mosquitoes, we eventually get bit. Don’t worry, though—there are ways to soothe a mosquito bite, like using the Bug Bite Thing to get relief from the itch.

Additional reporting by Kelly Kuehn.

Sources:

Yellow Fever, Malaria or Zika Virus Infected Mosquito Insect Bite on Green Backgroundnechaev-kon/Getty Images

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