How Long Does a Mosquito Live

Have you ever wondered what the life of a mosquito is like? Learn more about how this pesky insect lives and breeds in order to better understand how it can be stopped. A mosquito goes through four individual stages during its lifecycle. It lives first as an egg, then as a larva, then a pupa and finally as an adult.

The Egg Stage

Female mosquitoes seek out standing water or damp soil that will soon be flooded with water in which to lay their eggs. For some mosquito species, the eggs float on the surface of stagnant water and stick together to form a sort of raft. Each mosquito egg "raft" can contain up to 200 individual eggs. Other species simply lay single eggs. Some eggs are left all winter before hatching. However, most mosquito eggs hatch within 48 hours.   

The Larval Stage

Mosquito eggs hatch into mosquito larvae. These larvae live in the same water where the eggs were laid and come to the surface to breathe. Some species of mosquito larvae are equipped with siphon tubes for breathing while others attach to plants to get necessary air. Organic matter and microorganisms in the water become the mosquito larva's main form of sustenance. While the larvae eat and live, they shed their skins four times to grow larger. After the fourth molt, the larva becomes a pupa.

The Pupal Stage

During the pupal stage, mosquito pupae stop eating and no longer molt. However, they do still move and respond to changes in the light during this resting stage of development. The mosquito pupal stage is very similar to when a caterpillar is in a cocoon during its transformation into a butterfly. Inside the pupa, a fully grown mosquito is developing. Mosquito species common to the Southern U.S. only stay in the pupal stage for about two days during the warmth of the summer. At the end of this metamorphosis, the skin of the pupa splits to allow an adult mosquito to emerge.

The Adult Stage

After the new adult mosquito emerges, it takes some time to rest on the surface of the water. This gives it time to dry and allows its new body parts to harden. This is a necessary step because, in order for the mosquito to be able to fly, it has to allow its wings to fully spread out and dry. New adult mosquitoes begin feeding on blood and mating just a couple of days after they emerge. Then they lay eggs and the lifecycle begins again.

The time it takes for each life stage of the mosquito greatly varies depending on the species and the temperature. An entire life cycle can last just four days or an entire month. Generally, the warmer the weather, the faster the lifecycle of the mosquito goes.

After learning more about the mosquito's life, it's easy to see how essential it is to clear away any stagnant water left lying around your home. Still water is absolutely essential to a mosquito's young life and breeding potential. Deny them the opportunity to establish themselves in your yard by being diligent about checking for water after heavy rains.

Another great way to prevent adult mosquitoes from being attracted to your home is by utilizing the effective mosquito prevention services from MosquitoNix. Learn more about all of the services and products we offer by visiting our mosquito control services page.