Biting Mosquitoes in Early April?
By Sandy Kraft on April 11, 2016.
A mosquito just bit me when I went out to get the mail. How can we already have mosquitoes, the trees aren’t even leafed out yet! Don’t they have to develop in standing water? The water has barely thawed here. D. L., Beverly, MA
I hear you. But remember, pests are opportunists. Some groups of mosquitoes spend the winter in the adult stage so they are ready to go as soon as it’s warm enough to fly. Other mosquitoes spend the winter as larvae or eggs so they still need time to develop to the biting stage once spring arrives.
Overwintering Mosquitoes Have Been Waiting For You!
Female mosquitoes that have spent the winter hiding in protected places don’t waste any time in finding a blood source. They need that first blood meal to lay their eggs (see It’s Not Too Early for Mosquitoes!). That mosquito that bit you will soon be laying her eggs in nearby standing water. If you are supplying rainwater or snow melt in your yard in containers or puddles or clogged gutters, then her offspring might also be biting you in a couple of weeks. And their offspring will be feasting on you by June, and so on.
Once mosquito eggs hatch, the larvae live in standing water and feed on detritus for several days (depending on temperature) before they pupate and turn into adult mosquitoes. Now is a good time to check your yard and make sure you are not supplying mosquito “incubators” without realizing it. For tips on what to look for in your yard, see Worried About Mosquitoes?
Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Sites Early in the Season
Mosquitoes are going to be on everyone’s mind this spring with all the news about Zika virus and other mosquito diseases (see Should We Be Worried About Zika Virus Here in the Northeast?). Be the first in your neighborhood to make a conscious effort to eliminate standing water and mosquito breeding sites before mosquito season is fully underway (see Spring is the Time for a Mosquito Check of Your Yard).