What Happens to Mosquitoes in Winter?

One good thing about the end of summer and the beginning of winter is the disappearance of mosquitoes. Many people are sad to see the warm weather leave as the cold weather sets in, but the lack of mosquitoes in the air is definitely an upside to winter. 

But have you ever wondered what happens to the mosquitoes in your yard when winter comes around? A common belief is that mosquitoes simply die off in the colder months of the year. However, this is not always the case. 

The Mosquito Life Cycle

To understand what really happens to these insects when the temperatures outside drop, we have to first understand their life cycle. Most mosquitoes go through four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, one of the most common species of mosquito in the United States, overwinter in the egg stage. 

So what does it mean to overwinter? This means that female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes lay their eggs prior to temperatures dropping in the winter. Mosquitoes only need half an inch of water to lay their eggs in, which is why getting rid of any standing water in your yard or outdoor space is a crucial part of mosquito control. 

The adult mosquitoes will eventually die off after breeding and laying eggs; however, their eggs can survive throughout winter by going into a state of diapause, meaning their development is paused for a few months. When temperatures eventually start to rise again, the eggs will resume development and hatch.

Adult Mosquitoes in Winter 

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), whether or not a mosquito lives through winter depends on its species. Some species can overwinter as adults by hiding in places like logs or holes in the ground (NPMA). 

By finding warm places to hibernate during the colder months of the year, female mosquitoes can delay laying their eggs until spring comes around again. This overwintering process, for both adults and eggs, means mosquitoes can get a headstart in the spring when it comes to invading your backyard. 

Preparing for Mosquitoes Ahead of Time

At Mosquito Authority, we take every step possible to ensure your home is mosquito free– and it stays that way. Here are some tips on mosquito control in the winter and preventing mosquitoes from surviving the cold months:

Get rid of any standing water in your yard

Mosquitoes need water to breed and lay eggs, but they do not need a lot. Because these insects can lay eggs in as little as half an inch of water, it is important to get rid of anything in your yard that could collect and hold water.  

Declutter your yard

There are a lot of items that can hold water if left out in a yard, including tire swings, trash can lids, and wheel barrels. Remember to consistently empty these items of any standing water and replace birdbath water frequently.

Use mosquito repellent

When spending time outdoors, make sure to apply mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Mosquito Authority takes all aspects of mosquito control seriously, from ridding your yard of these pests to ensuring they don’t have places to breed. Contact us for more information on our services and find a Mosquito Authority location near you!

Covid-Safe Holiday Tips

2020 has been a long year for everyone, which is why we all deserve to enjoy the holiday season! Unfortunately, our celebrations will most likely look a little different this year due to the spread of COVID-19. However, that just means we have to find new ways to enjoy the holidays!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are plenty of precautions you can take that will minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19 while still celebrating this season. Here are some tips for a COVID-safe holiday season:

Host a virtual gathering

While virtual Secret Santa parties or Christmas dinners might not be your preferred way of celebrating the holidays, they are relatively COVID-safe. If you can’t see family or friends over the holidays due to the pandemic, you can still make it special by seeing them over a phone or laptop. Virtual gatherings pose little risk for contracting COVID-19, which makes them a viable option for holiday celebrations.

Wear masks and stay outside where possible

If you do decide to see people over the holidays, make sure you follow the proper COVID precautions. The CDC recommends hosting outdoor rather than indoor gatherings and always wearing a mask to reduce your risk of contracting the virus. You should also bring hand sanitizer wherever you go, whether you are doing some last-minute Christmas shopping or attending a gift exchange. 

Have a “drive-by” party

For months now, people have been opting to have “drive-by” parties in lieu of birthday parties and holiday gatherings. If you’re itching for some human interaction during the Christmas season (who isn’t?), consider hosting a “drive-by” party where friends and family can celebrate from the safety of their own vehicles. Sit out on the front porch or sidewalk and enjoy the festivities!

Prepare homemade dishes and deliver them in advance

The pandemic is unfortunately forcing many people, especially those at high-risk for contracting COVID, to celebrate the holidays alone or somewhat isolated. If you know of someone who is spending this holiday season by themselves, consider delivering them a home-cooked meal or a traditional family dish. Just be sure to make a contactless delivery and take proper COVID precautions! 

Keep it in the family

For some, the holidays aren’t the same without family. If you plan on getting together with your family over the holidays, try to keep the gathering small and maintain social distancing guidelines with those you do not live with. While the CDC does not provide a specific number for gatherings, they do recommend limiting the number of attendees as much as possible.

Opt to shop online

Online shopping has become more and more popular over the years and is a relatively COVID-safe option for Christmas shoppers. Instead of shopping in crowded stores, try ordering your Christmas presents online to eliminate the potential risk of in-person shopping. If you do opt to go to physical stores, don’t forget to wear a mask and practice social distancing!

For more information on COVID-19 guidelines during the holidays, visit the CDC website.

Species Spotlight: Deer Tick

Did you know there are 90 species of tick in the United States and roughly 850 worldwide? With many of these species being vectors for diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, knowing how to prevent ticks around your home is crucial. 

To be able to understand and practice proper tick control, it is important to educate yourself on these arachnids. Knowing how they spread disease, where they live, how they find hosts, and more is vital for protecting yourself and your family from ticks. 

One of the most common species of ticks in the United States is the Ixodes scapularis, also known as the blacklegged tick and commonly referred to as the deer tick. Read on for more important information about this species of tick:

Where do they live? 

Blacklegged or deer ticks usually inhabit the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, or north-central areas of the United States. 

How long do they live?

Like most other tick species, the deer tick goes through four stages throughout its life: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged larva, and adult. This entire life cycle usually lasts around two years. The deer tick is most likely to bite humans as a nymph and as an adult female.

Are they dangerous to humans?

There are several tick species that spread disease to humans, and the deer tick is one of them. Diseases transmitted by these ticks include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, B. miyamotoi disease, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and Powassan virus disease. Some of these illnesses are serious and can even result in death. Humans are considered “accidental hosts” for these ticks, as they prefer to feed on large animals.

Are they dangerous to animals?

As their name suggests, the deer tick’s preferred host is a deer. When an infected deer tick feeds on a deer, however, the host animal usually does not become infected with the disease. 

When are they active?

Deer ticks in the adult stage of life are typically active October through May. However, they may be active for longer or shorter periods of time, depending on the weather. As long as temperatures outside stay above freezing, there is a chance these ticks are active.

How do they find their hosts?

Because they cannot fly or jump, ticks rely on other methods of finding hosts. The majority of ticks find their hosts through a process known as “questing.” When a tick is questing, it holds onto a leaf or blade of grass with one pair of legs and waits with another pair of legs outstretched. When a potential host walks by, the tick then latches onto it. These arachnids usually quest at knee-height. Deer ticks prefer large hosts such as white-tail deer or other mammals.

What do they look like?

Deer ticks are known for having a brownish color but can sometimes be more reddish or rust colored. Adult male deer ticks are usually smaller than females and brown in color, while adult females are bigger and can vary from red to brown. 

How do I protect myself from deer ticks?

As with all ticks, there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your family from deer ticks. Some common tick control methods include:

  • Clearing your yard of leaf litter
  • Mowing your lawn often and keeping grass/bushes short
  • Keeping playground equipment away from trees and yard edges
  • Stacking wood in dry areas
  • Hire a professional tick control company

Ticks are not only a nuisance but also health risk to you and your family. A key component of keeping your life tick-free is hiring a professional pest control company. At Mosquito Authority, we offer tick control services with no contracts and no commitments to ensure your family is safe from ticks and the diseases they carry.

To find your local tick control company, click here.