Mosquitoes are absolutely everywhere these days. They tend to reproduce quickly, but where do mosquitoes lay their eggs? It’s one of those questions that seem so simple, but people struggle with understanding this a lot. If you’re unfamiliar with the fact that mosquitoes usually breed in standing water, don’t worry. Lot’s of people don’t know this. Do pay attention, because it’s the key to kill most of the local neighborhood mosquitoes outside!
They swarm by the thousands on warm summer evenings, but where they come from is often a mystery. The lifecycle of a mosquito is short-lived, so they can’t be far away when laying their eggs. It must be somewhere in your own yard, or perhaps on your neighbors’ lot. With a lifespan of only a few weeks, the mosquito will terrorize nearly every single place where the circumstances are suitable for their existence. This is essentially making effective anti-mosquito products a necessity, rather than a mere pleasure.
Where Do Mosquitoes Lay Their Eggs?
Mosquitoes will usually lay their eggs in standing water puddles or ponds. These eggs can be found in all types of terrains: Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in dead trees, garden ponds, rain puddles or other locations. Where some mosquito species will hatch their eggs in several days, others develop in multiple months.
The eggs are always placed inside the water in clusters. For some species, these clusters will also be their early-life food. Yes, you read that right: Mosquitoes will sometimes eat one another, but only in the larvae stage of their lives. They will also feed on many other types of aquatic creatures after they hatch from their egg, so they are not always cannibalistic in nature. That’s good to know in case you might get nightmares about cannibalistic insects.
In terms of geography the location in which mosquitoes lay their eggs is quite huge: From the North Pole to Antarctica, and even in the Sahel-regions of the Sahara desert. You will find a mosquito almost anywhere on the planet with slightly acceptable temperatures. The only country that is completely ridden of these pests is Iceland. Perhaps this can be a nice summer holiday for you hardcore insect haters out there.
Do Mosquitoes Need Water To Breed?
The mosquito lifecycle consists of several stages: Egg, larva, pupa, and adult. For the first three stages, mosquito survival can only be assured if they live in water. This means that mosquitoes do need water to breed and survive in the early stages of their lifecycle. A mosquito prefers standing water puddles.
Water is an essential part of the mosquito life cycle, not only in breeding. It is therefore true that removing standing water from your yard will certainly reduce the number of insects flying around. But let’s look at the lifecycle a bit more, so you can really understand why it is that water is so vital in every stage of the insect’s life:
- Egg: Will be placed in small puddles to form ‘rafts’, floating on the water surface;
- Larva: Straight out of the egg, larvae will not have legs but swim. They do breathe air (through special tubes);
- Pupa: When hitting the mosquito-equivalent of puberty, the pupa will seek protection in the water inside his transformation period;
- Adult: Females require standing water to lay their eggs (i.e. ‘breed’) for the new generation.
The interwoven connection between insect and water is clear straight from birth. This is why I always give out advice to never leave water unguarded in the garden. This will guarantee a regular new flock of insects each and every lifecycle. Survival and water-availability are very close together in the life of mosquitoes, especially during the early stages of their lives, when the eggs are produced.
Can Mosquito Eggs Survive Without Water?
Female mosquitoes will lay their eggs in standing water, in which they will survive until adulthood. Without water, the mosquito eggs, larvae, but also the larger mosquito pupa will likely die within minutes. However, there are studies that have found mosquitoes to lay eggs outside water.
This last fact might have huge implications for the way we exterminate these pests. I just mentioned how removing standing water is one of my go-to ways to avoid large groups to flourish. This advice still stands, but perhaps we need to add another strategy for those specific species that can also survive and develop without water.
Most textbooks will explain to you that the Culex-family (the most commonly found species), will develop using the aforementioned water rafts. As it turns out, those textbooks are dead wrong in some cases. Scientists attempted to reproduce the Culex species found in North Africa with petri-dishes filled with liquids. However, they refused to lay eggs there. After adding some other materials with the poorly understood Culex species, they all started laying their eggs on dry land. It’s almost like a miracle happened!
That doesn’t mean all species will do this, however, there are regions that apparently won’t need water at all. This is still a very poorly understood part of biological science. That’s exactly what makes answering this question so difficult. Because in general, water is the go-to method of reproduction (and it is at the core of the entire lifecycle). However, for arid places in the Sahel (outskirts of the Sahara desert) this theory might not hold up very well at all. Interesting stuff indeed. But let’s keep looking at the North-American and European case, because that’s what most of my readers want to know!
How Long Does It Take For Mosquitoes To Develop In Standing Water?
Mosquitoes will develop in standing water in 24 to 48 hours (from egg to larvae). However, the timespan for full development can take a few days to several months. On average, mosquitoes will completely develop in standing water in 10 to 14 days. How long it takes to develop differs according to the circumstances.
Depending on water quality, weather conditions and seasonal changes, a mosquito can take longer to develop. It is also true that different species will develop at different intervals, but also local conditions can influence this. It is not uncommon for developing mosquitoes to lay dormant for several months, until conditions are more optimal for them.
The reason for this is quite simple: Adults will need to find the best possible conditions to ensure the survival of their offspring. Laying eggs can be a delicate process. Finding a good breeding ground at the final stages of their lives will take up a lot of energy. Especially considering the impressive amount of eggs a single specimen can lay at a time.
How Many Eggs Can A Mosquito Lay At One Time?
A female mosquito will lay over 100 eggs at one time, flying miles to reach a suitable breeding location. It does not need much water to lay that amount of eggs: A small container will usually be enough. How many eggs are eventually produced, depends on the available space and the health of the female mosquito.
Considering the effort some females must take to lay their eggs, having to produce that offspring size, is actually quite an impressive achievement. As mentioned, eggs are always clustered together (these clusters are called “rafts”) and will float on the water surface. It’s also possible that they are laid separately, the rafts are not mandatory for survival.
Adult females can lay eggs every 10 to 14 days, unless they are unable to find blood or run out of energy. The adult lifespan is relatively short (several months), allowing the female to produce multiple offspring batches in her lifetime. It’s, therefore, possible to find multiple clusters over time, even when only one specimen is around.
Let’s picture a plausible scenario here. Say you’re indoors in your own house, with just one mosquito and a bit of standing water. This situation could potentially quickly escalate into a large family if the female adult starts biting you! This makes even more important to perform the correct type of pest control. We are going to attempt to kill them at the root: during the egg-stages of their lives.
How Do You Kill Mosquito Eggs?
Add large amounts of apple cider vinegar or household bleach to the water to effectively kill mosquito eggs. Vinegar is the safest and most natural method to kill mosquito eggs, but it can take up to 18 hours to work. Make sure to add over 15% of vinegar compared to 85% water to effectively kill the eggs.
In order to achieve success, it is obviously required to locate the mosquitoes first. In another article on this blog, I’ve written about methods to detect and kill these insects quickly and effectively. Do make sure to check out the advice there, in order to find the adults responsible for laying the eggs.
However, if you’re just left with some puddles and eggs, I recommend you to simply systematically scan all the locations with standing water in and around your house. Do involve your neighbors as well, because mosquitoes will not hesitate to fly over that fence. Only the radius matters here, not the fact that you’re clearning your own garden from standing water puddles.
Getting Rid Of Mosquito Eggs In Water
Having an insect problem in your local neighborhood, or even worse: In your own garden, can be a serious nuisance. Even worse, it can be quite dangerous due to the viruses their spread. This danger does not limit itself to just humans, since mosquitoes are known to have killed dogs as well.
I’m a huge proponent of killing these pests at the source (in their early stages of life), but we have to confront reality: It is impossible to get rid of all of them. Therefore, I highly recommend you to also take some measures against the part of the population that does make it into adulthood. Over the years, I’ve personally reviewed and tested many different anti-mosquito tools and equipment, as well as bite treatment remedies. On this overview page, you will find my favorite categories of products, which will refer you to these product review articles. It will arm you with the knowledge you need to win from your local mosquito population. Best of luck fighting them!