Mosquitoes are pale brown in color with whitish strips across their abdomen and are narrow and oval shaped. Mosquitoes range in size from ¼- to 3/8 inch in length. Females are easily recognized by long thin proboscis, or mouthparts, extending from the head.
Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water sources such as storm drains, old tires, children’s wading pools and birdbaths. They are one of the best known and most detested summer pests. Female mosquitoes bite humans and suck our blood, leaving behind welts and itching. While the United States is fairly free of most mosquito-borne diseases, encephalitis remains a problem, most notably the potentially fatal West Nile Virus.
Zika is another viral disease spread to people mainly via bites of infected mosquitoes, however, the virus lives in bodily fluids and sexual transmission has been documented. Cases have been documented in Virginia.
Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on infected people. The virus is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti (Yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger mosquito). While both types of mosquitoes have been found in Virginia, the Asian Tiger mosquito is more common.
There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available for the virus. The best defense at this point is protection against mosquito bites and the best way to protect against bites is to keep mosquitoes from breeding. EUI is here to help you.
Female mosquitoes suck our blood. Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectars.
Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, so avoid going outdoors during those times. Use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin whenever or wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite. To eliminate or reduce mosquito breeding sites, replace all standing water at least once a week. This includes bird baths, ponds and unfiltered pools. Remove unnecessary vegetation and any trash from around standing water sources that cannot be eliminated. Make sure screens are in place on all doors, windows and other openings.
Do mosquitoes breed in flowing water?
If the water in a ditch is flowing, it is not likely to produce any mosquitoes. The only species that might be found in a flowing ditch are not species known to transmit West Nile virus. If the water has no flow (is stagnant) it could be an important source of mosquitoes.
How long can water stand in puddles or containers before it poses a problem?
If the water stands for less than a week it will not breed mosquitoes. Only one species of mosquito (the dark rice-field mosquito) can complete its aquatic life cycle in less than seven days. It is not a common mosquito, and it would probably not lay eggs in a puddle that would dry up so quickly. Most mosquito species require standing water for a minimum of 10 to 14 days to complete their development. Puddles that stand for less than a week are not worthy of concern.