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Mosquito Breeding Cycle

Mosquito Life Cycle

All mosquitoes have one common requirement—they need water to complete their life cycle. Some mosquitoes lay individual eggs on the sides of tree holes or discarded containers, or in depressions in the ground that will hold water. The eggs can lay dormant for several years. Some eggs will hatch when they are flooded by rainfall. Several flooding and drying cycles are usually required for all of the eggs to hatch that are laid by a particular female mosquito.

Other mosquitoes lay eggs directly on the surface of water. The eggs are attached to one another to form a raft or the individual eggs float on the water. These eggs hatch in 24-48 hours releasing larvae that are commonly called “wrigglers” because you can often see the larvae wriggling up and down from the surface of the water. Generally, the larvae feed on microorganisms and organic material in the water, but some mosquitoes prey on the larvae of other mosquito species and are regarded to be beneficial. In about 7-10 days after eggs hatch, larvae change to the pupal or “tumbler” stage in preparation for adult life. Female mosquitoes begin searching for an animal to feed on several days after emerging from water. Male mosquitoes mate with females one to two days after the females emerge. Males do not bite, but they do feed on plant juices.

Chikungunya, a new mosquito-transmitted virus for which there is no known cure, has spread to four states, including North Carolina.

Females bite and live up to 56 days
Males feed primarily on plant juices and live up to 10 days

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