Expert Answer

Q: How do mosquitoes survive cold winters?


Depending on the mosquito species and sometimes the climate, they can successfully overwinter in the egg, immature or adult state.  This dormancy takes place in all places where the year round climate doesn’t support year-round development.  We refer to this period of arrested development as diapause.  

The species that overwinter as adults lower energy requirements and find a tree hole or other cavity that will likely remain frost-free to spend their winter.  Many species overwinter as eggs.  These insects remain dormant during cold temperatures and then hatch when the climate becomes more conducive for survival in the spring. 

Most mosquito management programs include some level of surveying, larviciding, and adulticiding.  Adulticides alone are known to reduce mosquito populations when adults are actively feeding and breeding.  However, populations can be further reduced by incorporating source reduction (dumping birdbaths, buckets, or other containers that hold water, unclogging rain gutters, clearing excessive vegetation etc.) and larviciding.  As always, read and follow label instructions to ensure proper use, safety, and efficacy of the products used. 

With heighted mosquito awareness due to mosquito transmitted Zika and other diseases, it is also important to educate clients on their role in source reduction and bite prevention.  For more information on Mosquito Life Cycles and Bite Prevention, visit the National Pest Management Association’s website.