One of the most annoying insects when being outdoors is a mosquito. Part of the Culicidae family, with over 3,500 species, some feed not only on mammals, but also on birds, certain fish, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. Although many do not feed on blood, those that do are a nuisance because of the itchy inflamed area they leave. The more serious concern are the diseases many of these species can carry such as West Nile virus, Zika virus, malaria, yellow fever, Chikungunya and many more.
Standing water allows these insects to thrive through their four stages of life, from egg to larva to pupa and then adult. Mating happens almost immediately once they become an adult with eggs fully developed in 2-3 days in an ideal climate. Different species prefer different wet environments for their eggs, from in or around stagnant water or salt water to on aquatic plants. Depending on the species, those living in warmer tropical climates evolve through their stages of life in 5-40+ days. Those living in weather changing climates with freezing weather can naturally delay their growth for months and causes them to hatch at different times. An adult can lay between 100-200 eggs during the adult lifecycle and typically live 2-3 weeks but can live over a month.
Those that feed on blood sense their host via visual recognition, carbon dioxide and 1-Octen-3-ol, a chemical contained in human breath and sweat.
Preventative measures should be taken to keep the mosquitoes under control around your home. Avoid stagnant water around your home as this creates a breeding area for them. Decrease the available places for mosquitoes to lay eggs by turning anything not in use that can hold water upside down to avoid filling with water, keep swimming pools clean, treat ponds and ornamental pools. There are many natural resources to turn to when dealing with mosquitoes such as citronella plants, lavender, sage, peppermint, catnip and basil. Incorporating these natural repellents into your landscaping along with fans, citronella repellents, bug lighting and repelling lanterns will help deter these insects. Research should be completed prior to purchasing as these plants as they may repel or attract other insects or animals. Hiring a professional to check for hidden areas and treatment with insecticide, using mosquito traps, foggers and misting systems may be necessary for more severe infestations.