When temperatures drop below 50° Fahrenheit, there is a decrease of mosquitoes that makes us wonder if they are dead. Unfortunately, mosquitoes have adapted to every weather condition known to man, dating as far back as the Cretaceous period. So, what hope do we have for the colder months to eliminate mosquitoes? Even though they’ve adapted to cold weather, the winter months still slow down insect reproduction and causes many to go into hibernation, with only a few that die off.
Do Mosquitoes Hibernate?
Some adult females will lay eggs before their death in the hole of a tree or within water that will freeze during the winter. These safe havens allow the eggs to wait until the appropriate time to complete their life cycle. Research has shown that mosquito eggs can survive for years anticipating the right conditions to hatch. They are real survivors.
Other adult mosquito females can survive the winter and delay egg-hatching until the spring. Just as we can sense the weather changing and prepare ourselves for winter, so does the female mosquito. The female will mate for the last time before hibernation and feed only on the sugar from plants to store fat within her body. This stored fat allows the mosquito to enter hibernation and lay her eggs as soon as the weather conditions are perfect.
When temperatures are around 50 °or lower, mosquitoes go into diapause, which is vital to the species survival during the colder months. Diapause is a period of suspended development that some animals undergo during harsh environmental conditions. For mosquito females, it allows eggs to remain unhatched during the winter.
The Effect of Disrupting Mosquito Hibernation
A study at Ohio State University examined the effects of disrupting the mosquito’s dormancy cycle to find the link to their development and survival. The study focused on the length of sunlight to imitate the weather, longer hours of light for summer, and shorter hours of light for winter. Within this environment, the researchers were able to manipulate their dormancy. Disrupting a mosquito’s dormancy state for just four days resulted in 80% of the population's death within three weeks.
Research on mosquitoes is coming a long way, and it’s only a matter of time before there is a way to be ahead of their reproduction. To help prevent mosquitoes from hibernating in your yard during the winter, remember the 7T’s of mosquito control.
Protect your yard throughout the spring, summer and fall months. Contact your local Squad today!