We all know that mosquitoes are most prevalent in the summer. If you’ve ever tried to lie in the grass on a warm day, you’ve probably gotten up to find you have a couple mosquito bites – or more – as a souvenir. Then the cold Canada winter comes along, and you might wonder: how do mosquitoes survive it?
First, it’s important to understand the mosquito life cycle:
- The female mosquito lays eggs in standing water. They can lay as many as 300 eggs at one time and only require a bottle cap full of water to reproduce.
- The eggs will hatch within 24-48 hours.
- Next, the larvae develop into pupa within 10 days
- In about two days, the mosquito becomes an adult and start feeding soon after.
Some mosquitoes only live for a couple of days, while others can live for a month or more. There are thousands of species of mosquitoes, so their lifespan varies widely. Another fact you might not know about mosquitoes is that only female mosquitoes bite because they need the protein in our blood in order to breed. Male mosquitoes don’t bite humans or animals and feed on nectar instead. Female mosquitoes can track the carbon dioxide we exhale and follow the trail straight to you.
Once temperatures start staying consistently below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), mosquitoes start to go dormant in preparation for winter. They will often find holes to hide away in until warmer weather returns.
Mosquitoes can also lay eggs in frozen water. That way, the eggs are perfectly preserved and can hatch when the water thaws and warms to the right temperature. New mosquitoes will be growing and getting ready to feed as soon as winter ends.
It might seem impossible that such a small insect could survive a Canadian winter, but after all, mosquitoes are as old as (or possibly older than) dinosaurs. Evidence shows that mosquitoes date back to at least the Triassic Period, so they’ve survived a lot more than few icy months.