Have you ever noticed that mosquito season seems to have plenty of rainy days? If you spend time outside when it storms, you may have realized the weather doesn’t protect you from mosquitoes. It may seem unlikely that the flying pests would be out during rain, but mosquitoes actually love wet weather.
Unfortunately for us, mosquitoes are actually adept at flying during rainy weather. Their unique anatomy means that they don’t suffer the same setbacks from being hit by raindrops that most other insects do. In fact, even if a raindrop lands smack on a mosquito during flight… it can continue flying. Not only that, but rainfall provides mosquitoes with the perfect resources to lay eggs and continue repopulating! Read on below to find out why these hardy pests enjoy rainy weather so much and how they are able to combat the dangers that can come along with it.
Can Mosquitoes Fly In The Rain?
Yes, mosquitoes can fly in the rain. In fact, they are quite good at it! Unlike most insects, mosquitoes are incredibly resilient and are able to maintain flight even if they are hit by raindrops. Due to their extremely strong exoskeletons and tiny body mass, raindrops exert very little force on flying mosquitoes.
To understand why most flying insects cannot venture out during the rain, we need to look at some hard facts. The average raindrop can fall as fast as 22 miles per hour. In addition, the average insect is incredibly small and a raindrop can be much larger than their body. This means the raindrop can not only cover them completely, but it is much heavier. If we wanted to look at the equivalent for a human, imagine someone being hit by a sedan and you might be able to see why rain can spell out a death sentence for many insects. A raindrop’s superior size and speed can easily knock flying bugs from the sky and can even kill them if the bug is particularly small.
Mosquitoes, however, don’t suffer the same cruelties from the rain that befall other insects. How is this possible? First and foremost, mosquitoes have the perfect anatomical structure to be able to withstand being hit by a great force. They have very little body weight, but plenty of protection due to their exoskeletons. A mosquito’s exoskeleton is extremely strong and is able to protect their vulnerable insides several times over. Additionally, mosquitoes have developed unique flight strategies that allow them to preserve energy during rainfall flights and resist being crushed by raindrops. I will address just how mosquitoes are able to fly during the rain below, but know that they are 100% able to fly during rainfall and can threaten you and your loved ones even on stormy days.
How Mosquitoes Fly In The Rain
As I previously mentioned, a mosquito’s anatomy coupled with their unique flight style helps them fly adequately even when it is raining outside. What could be so special about the way a mosquito flies during rain that it could withstand the impact of raindrops? Let’s examine the steps mosquitoes take during a flight, that allow them to operate successfully even when they are hit by a raindrop:
- For starters, mosquitoes don’t try to avoid raindrops. This may be surprising, but research has found it to be true. Even when raindrops are pelting down all around them, mosquitoes continue to fly as they normally would. Instead of wasting energy trying to dodge rain or taking shelter until the storm passes, mosquitoes fly as they normally would even when they are at risk of being hit by rain. This straightforward approach means mosquitoes don’t tire themselves out from constantly trying to weave between drops of rain.
- When a mosquito is hit by a raindrop, they don’t try to fight it. In the event a raindrop does land on a mosquito, they don’t waste precious resources trying to fight the blow. Instead, the mosquito allows the raindrop to encase their body and they stop trying to fly on their own course. The mosquito becomes one with the water and begins plummeting towards the earth along with the raindrop. This passive approach means the mosquito can further preserve their energy as they aren’t wasting time trying to fight against the rain. Instead, they use the force of the raindrop’s fall for their own benefit.
- After letting the raindrop take over, mosquitoes use their limbs as sails to escape. Once the mosquito has re-centered itself and allowed its body to go along with the force of the raindrop, they began plotting ways to escape the water. They do this by using their long legs and wings as makeshift sails to alter their trajectory. As the raindrop plummets towards the earth, a mosquito will use its limbs to sail away from the water. Once free, it will be able to fly on its own and head for its original destination once more.
While mosquitoes can certainly hold their own against the rain, not every rainy flight can be a success. If a mosquito is already flying low to the ground when they are hit by a raindrop, their chances of surviving the encounter are incredibly slim. A mosquito requires a certain amount of time before they are able to sail away from a raindrop without harm. If they are not able to have that time and can’t break free of the raindrop, they will hit the ground at roughly 22 miles per hour and likely won’t survive the impact.
Can Mosquitoes Fly In Cold Weather?
Now that you know mosquitoes can fly during the rain, you may be wondering what other conditions they can withstand. You’ll be happy to learn mosquitoes cannot fly during cold weather (ie, temperatures under 50 degrees.) This is because mosquitoes are cold-blooded and are not able to function during cold temperatures.
When the temperature begins to drop outside, mosquitoes are faced with two options: hibernate until the weather warms up again or die. Mosquitoes are cold-blooded by nature, so they require warmth in able to operate properly. If the weather begins to change for the colder seasons, mosquitoes must hibernate in order to survive. Sure, there may be a few stragglers who put up a good fight after the first cold snap of the season, but they won’t survive long without going into hibernation. Unlike rain, cold weather puts an end to these flying pests.
Can Mosquitoes Fly In The Wind?
If you have read some of our other articles about protecting yourself from mosquitoes, you might already know the answer to this one. Mosquitoes aren’t particularly strong flyers, so they cannot fly against wind flow. If the weather outside is windy (or if there are fans near you,) you don’t have to worry about mosquitoes bugging you.
As I mentioned above during the discussion of mosquitoes vs the rain, mosquitoes have very little body mass. While this works in their favor when it comes to raindrops, it means they put up very little fight when met with strong winds. Additionally, their wings are fairly delicate and simply aren’t strong enough to work properly when met with wind resistance. In fact, any airflow over 7 miles per hour is too much for a mosquito to fly against.
Why Rain Is Good For Mosquitoes
‘Okay,’ you might be thinking. ‘So what if mosquitoes can fly during rainfall? Surely, though, the rain can’t be good for them.’ Unfortunately, rainfall means puddles and puddles mean one thing: stagnant water where mosquitoes can give birth to their young.
Mosquito eggs must be laid in water, as water provides valuable resources for growing mosquitoes. In fact, young mosquitoes spend the first few stages of their lives inside the water. It is only after a mosquito has fully matured and is ready to fly that they will leave the water in pursuit of richer food sources and potential mates. If you want to know more about the life stages a mosquito goes through and how big a part water plays in their development, please check out this article where I break down the lifespan of a mosquito.
Although you may think you and your loved ones are safe from mosquitoes when it’s raining outside, don’t be fooled. Mosquito season intersects with the rainy season, so it should come as no surprise that mosquitoes are able to withstand rainfall. Between their specialized anatomy and unique flight techniques, rain poses almost as little a threat to a mosquito as it does to a human. Don’t let this knowledge get you down! While it is true that mosquitoes can survive and even thrive during rain, they stand little chance against cold weather and wind.
If you and your loved ones still want to enjoy mosquito-free rainstorms, please head on over to the anti-mosquito solutions overview page to learn about the many ways you can keep mosquitoes at bay. There are plenty of solutions that are waterproof and that will keep you happy and bite-free. Now the next time someone tries to convince you summer rains will keep mosquitoes at bay, you can let them know why that’s a myth and how both of you can stay protected against mosquitoes.