Mosquitoes not only irritate and annoy people, but they also can transmit many disease-causing organisms to humans and animals.. Mosquitoes are also responsible for transmitting heartworm in dogs.

To control mosquitoes effectively around the home, it helps to know about their lifecycle. There are different control strategies for different life-cycle stages.

Mosquitoes have four distinct stages during their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. They can complete this life cycle in as little as to 10 days, depending on food availability, weather conditions and the species of mosquito.

Egg stage: Mosquito eggs may be laid individually or in clusters on the surface of water or individually in dry locations that are subject to periodic flooding. Some mosquito eggs can remain dormant in dry conditions for many months.

Larva stage: Mosquito eggs hatch into larvae called wigglers, which are seldom more than 1/2 inch long. Wigglers have a small head, an enlarged thorax center body section) and a long cylindrical abdomen. Wigglers live in the water. Most of them feed on microscopic plants, animals and organic debris suspended in the water.

Pupal stage: Mosquito pupae do not feed. They spend most of their time at the water surface and tend to move only when disturbed. They are sometimes called

tumblers because of their tumbling motion in water when disturbed. 

Adult stage: Unlike the other stages, adult mosquitoes live on land and are winged. The males feed only on nectar, plant juices and other sources of liquid

carbohydrates. Female mosquitoes also feed periodically on nectar, plant sap and other sources of plant carbohydrates for energy.

However, females of most mosquito species require a blood meal as a source of protein before they produce eggs.

Adult mosquitoes typically live for about a week to a month, but this can vary, depending on a number of environmental factors. Some species spend the winter as mated females that may live up to 6 months or more. Some adult mosquitoes seldom travel more than 200 yards from the breeding sites; other species can travel for more than a mile. This ability to travel long distances can create problems in management.

How to reduce mosquito problems

• Reduce standing water that provides breeding sites. Eliminate containers such as old tires, buckets, cans and bottles that collect and hold rainwater and become good breeding sites for mosquitoes. Drain

water from flower pots, bird baths, rain gutters, rain barrels, birdbaths, pet dishes, livestock watering troughs, etc. at least once a week.

• Empty your plastic wading pool weekly and store it indoors when not in use.

• Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets.