Do Mosquitoes disappear during the winter?
In Louisiana, we are always happy when that first cold spell comes through, reducing the humidity and heat. One of the benefits of the cold is that the mosquitos seem to disappear. But, should we still be aware and cautious of Mosquitoes during the Winter?
Unfortunately, mosquitos do not disappear during the winter. The mosquito lifecycle will continue and some survive through the winter and others will also lay some more eggs.
As temperatures begin to fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, adult females will deposit their final batch of eggs in water-holding items. These items can contain as little as a half an inch of water. The adults will eventually die, while the newly deposited eggs enter a state of diapause. Diapause is a process that suspends their development during the coldest months. The mosquito responsible for transmitting Zika virus, Aedes aegypti, overwinters in the egg stage.
When the temperatures start to get a little warmer and rain begins to fall again, the eggs will start to hatch. The new Aedes mosquitoes will immediately start to seek out a food source. What is also important to note is that the new offspring could also be infected with the Zika Virus. Review this study by the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Protecting Against Mosquitoes
You may have already experienced mosquitoes during some of our warmer New Orleans “winter” days. It is important to always practice mosquito maintenance around your home. Here are some of the most important things to do year round to reduce the Mosquito population:
- Inspect your property year round for items that hold water. These water-holding items, like flowerpots, birdbaths, and tires, could contain mosquito eggs deposited during the warmer months.
- There are also a lot of winter and spring cleaning tasks that can be done around the house such as cleaning gutters, repairing leaky pipes or faucets on the outside of their home, and cleaning up piles of leaves. This can help to remove mosquito homes and breading areas.
- Try not to go outside during dusk or dawn when mosquitos are most active.
- Consider wearing a mosquito repellent when going outside.