Many parts of the country have been hit with extremely cold temperatures this week due to the polar vortex. While it’s difficult to stay outside for just a few minutes in negative temperatures, we have seen several questions regarding how the cold affects mosquito populations and if they can survive.
Sorry everyone, but the polar vortex isn’t killing off all mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have been on this planet for millions of years so it isn’t surprising that they’re pretty adaptable and can withstand extreme temperatures. Don’t get me wrong, some mosquitoes will die due to freezing cold, but not all.
While some larval mosquitoes may make it through the winter, the vast majority of the pests are in one of two life stages if they are going to survive the cold months: eggs or adults.
Mosquito eggs are very resilient and can lay dormant for years before hatching. All they need to mature is standing water and warmer temperatures. If eggs were laid in low ground, for instance, they will go dormant throughout the winter months. When temperatures rise again and the area is flooded with standing water, the eggs will then begin to mature again.
Adult mosquitoes, if they are to going to live through the summer, must prepare for months of hibernation. Not unlike other animals who hibernate, mosquitoes increase their weight through feeding as they will not seek meals in the winter.
When the temperatures drop, mosquitoes will find shelter to protect them. These include hollowed out wood, storm drains and inside homes and sheds. One 20th century researcher, J. Turner Brakeley, noted that if mosquitoes were able to find their way into heated areas, they would not go into a full hibernation like those in colder environments.
Brakeley found mosquitoes would curl up with their legs underneath their bodies when in hibernation, presumably to try to maintain some body heat.
So there we have it. I may be happier to go through the polar vortex temperatures if I knew it meant a summer without mosquito bites, but that simply is not the case. When the weather warms up again this spring, the mosquitoes will be back in full.
If you have an active mosquito population on your property, we at Mosquito Squad are happy to help you fight the bite! Our mosquito control treatments will reduce the numbers of mosquitoes by 85-90%! The mosquito spray that we utilize kills adult mosquitoes on contact and provides continued protection for up to three weeks. At that point, we would recommend another treatment.
If you have any questions, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.