Winter for a lot of animals, insects and pests is time, when they stop being active and find a place where to spend the colder winter season. This is true especially in medium climates where there are quite distinctive seasons and therefore winters are very cold with below zero temperatures and snow. And a quite common question in regards to our favourite insect mosquito is where do they go in the winter?
Have you ever seen a mosquito in the winter? I can say that I haven’t, which makes us assume that in the winter mosquitoes either are hibernating somewhere or just don’t live at all. But how is it then that the mosquitoes are able to return to the living and continue to annoy us as soon as all the snow is melted away and it starts to get warm enough?
Well this is possible because mosquitoes actually are alive and living all through the winter, although they are a lot less active in the winter months, because these bold blooded insects prefer warm weather to cold one. If the mosquitoes didn’t live in the winter, there won’t be a possibility for them to continue their species, because most mosquito species larvae would be dead if they would lay their eggs in the late fall. Of course there are some mosquito species that lay their eggs in the freezing water or in the soil in late fall and afterward die, and because these eggs have a special shell that can withstand the cold of the winter, they are able to hatch when the weather is warm enough. But these are only a small group of all 3,500 plus mosquito species. For the bulk of the mosquito species to continue their kind, they live even in the dead of the winter, and it takes extremely cold temperatures for them to actually die from the cold.
But this begs to question, why don’t we see any mosquitoes in the winter then? Well the mosquitoes although are alive and well during the winter, also are hiding in dark and damp places that are protected from the cold and the snow. In the winter you will be able to find mosquitoes in places like hollow logs, below old piles of leaves and animal burrows. Also, only mosquito adult females live in the winter. Mosquitoes mate in the fall and after the mating process male mosquitoes die, therefore only female mosquitoes remain to live through the winter.
When the winter has passed and the weather starts to warm up again, female mosquitoes go out of their hiding places to find a blood meal, because this is the only way they will be able to develop their eggs and continue their species. That is also the reason why the first mosquitoes after winter are so vicious, they are hungry for blood and eager to feed to be able to lay their eggs in some form of a standing water they can find. As for the few mosquito species that are able to lay their eggs for the winter, these eggs hatch when the weather warms up again and new mosquitoes are born to continue their kind and to continue to annoy and torment us.