How Long Do Mosquitoes Live?

For all of the beauty and relaxation summer brings, it's also a season filled with pesky mosquitoes. Buggers got you down? Here's the lowdown on their lifespan.

There’s nothing more enjoyable than spending some time outdoors and coming back inside only to realize you’re suddenly extremely itchy from mosquito bites. We’re totally kidding! It may seem inevitable, especially during warmer seasons, that you’ll eventually be the apple of a mosquito’s eye. For National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, we’ll explain how long mosquitos live and how to protect yourself during peak season.

Even when it seems like you’re trying just about every mosquito repellent under the sun or remembering what mosquitoes hate, it seems like these little flies just won’t go away. You’re in luck as these guys come and go—problem is, it’s a never ending cycle.

Biting and Birthing

If you’re asking yourself how long do mosquitoes live, you’ve likely just endured a mosquito bite (or 12). In fact, there are certain people who actually attract mosquitoes more than others. Bad news that adds insult to injury (or itch): After a female mosquito takes a bite, aka getting a blood meal from you or another human, she then lays her eggs in an area that’s prone to flooding or in stagnant water, per the pest control experts at Terminix. This sets the life cycle of new mosquitoes into motion.

More about that mosquito’s life cycle

It can take anywhere from four days to four weeks for a mosquito to develop from an egg to an adult mosquito, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Mosquito eggs hatch in water, producing a larva or what’s known as a “wriggler.” The wriggler lives and feeds in the water, then develops into the third stage of the life cycle called a pupa or “tumbler.” The tumbler lives in the water but doesn’t eat. The answer to the question “how long do mosquitoes live” is dependent on how long it takes the adult mosquito to emerge from its pupal case, which relies on the temperature of the water, food, and the species of mosquito in question. Once it does, it’s ready to fly and, yes, possibly wreak havoc on your next barbecue, picnic, or morning jog.

But exactly how long do mosquitoes live?

According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), the lifespan of these insects really varies by species, with the majority of mature female mosquitoes living just two to three weeks. That said, other types are known to survive in places like garages and attics for up to six months.

Protect yourself from these pests

Ultimately the answer to the question of how long do mosquitoes live may be up to us, their victims, and how well we protect ourselves from their bites. Without their blood meals, mosquitoes are toast. Make sure to dump standing water (think pool covers and clogged rain gutters) where eggs can develop into full-blown insects.

Sources:

  • Terminix: “How Long Do Mosquitos Live?”
  • EPA: “Mosquito Life Cycle”
  • AMCA: “FAQ”

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest