Order Diptera, Family Culicidae
Biology, Elimination, Disease
Mosquitoes are among the most common biting pests of people, often carrying diseases which affect humans, pets, livestock and wildlife. St. Louis Encephalitis, Equine Encephalitis and the West Nile Virus are just three such diseases transmitted to humans via mosquito bites. Dogs can also be affected by this flying pest in the form of heartworms.
Mosquito Biology and Habits
This flying pest can be found in most parts of the world, from the
tropics to artic regions. Mosquitoes are the only means of transmission of certain
casual agents of malaria, yellow fever, dengue, filariasis and some types of encephalitis.
Eggs are laid on the surface of water, either singly or in groups (or rafts) of
30 to 300. Larvae live in water but must either surface for air or obtain oxygen
from the underwater portions of plants. The larvae eat other mosquito larvae and
obtain air from the water surface through an abdominal siphon. These immature
insects go through four instars (usually in a 4 to 10 day period) before forming
into pupae. This pupa also lives in water and is also active. This stage can
last for 1 day or as long as a few weeks. Males usually emerge first, waiting nearby
for the females to emerge.
Generally, the peak biting periods of mosquitoes occur just before and after dark, and again just before dawn. However, each species has its own peak period of biting activity. Male mosquitoes do not bite, but feed on the nectar of flowers and plant juices. At other times, outside the biting periods, adult mosquitoes can be found resting in grass, shrubbery, or other foliage.