Is that a puddle? Or an egg hatchery?

Inland Floodwater Mosquito ( Aedes vexans ) - Photo courtesy of  Thomas Palmer

Inland Floodwater Mosquito (Aedes vexans) - Photo courtesy of Thomas Palmer

During this rainy spring and summer, have you noticed any small collections of water around your yard? Perhaps a children’s wading pool, vase, watering can, tarps, buckets or gutters? It may seem harmless, but to female mosquitoes it’s a perfect egg hatchery. In fact, a single square foot of standing water can produce 7,000 mosquitoes.

Some species will lay 100 eggs or so at a time directly in the water. Others like the Aedes vexan lay their eggs individually on moist soil above the water line. They prefer temporary pools such as overflow pond for a parking lot, irrigated lawns that regularly shower water, and especially leaf and twig cover that helps keep the soil moist.

Dry eggs can remain dormant but viable for many years. But a single rain can add just enough water to hatch a fresh batch of mosquitoes. Once the eggs are submerged, they cycle from larva to pupa and then adult within about 10 days. 

The new adult males fly off in search of nectar, their sole food source. Females, however, must feed on blood in order to nourish and lay their eggs. The closer their “birthplace” is to people and pets, the easier it is for them to multiply and repeat the mosquito circle of life.