As much as we might dislike mosquitoes we can’t help but be impressed with their remarkable life cycle. Depending on the mosquito species, the entire cycle from egg to adult can take anywhere from four days to just over a month. To add a little more excitement, the mosquito’s larval and pupal stages can vary depending on temperature: the cooler the temp, the longer the stage. From the start, mosquitoes face an uphill road to make it to adulthood. Water sources dry up, weather conditions might not favor good mosquito populations, predators (including people!) take a toll. but skeeters are designed to survive, and do so in swarms.
Eggs: A female will only mate once, but from one mating she can lay multiple groups of eggs. Once she has mated and found a lucky blood donor, she finds a safe place to hide while her eggs develop; this step typically takes three to five days. Depending on the species, the female will lay eggs directly on the surface of stagnant or sluggish water or on the edge of areas temporarily flooded. If flood waters don’t cover the eggs in one season, the egg will over winter or even lay dormant for as long as five years. Eggs are either laid singly or in a tiny group called a raft. Rafts can include up to either three or four hundred eggs. The eggs hatch in one or two days, and they hatch almost in unison.
Larva: This stage will last anywhere from four days to two weeks, and it must be a fun time, since the larvas only job is to eat. They’ll eat anything they can get in to there mouths: microorganisms, plant material, other mosquito larva. The larva moves around quite close to the water’s surface, wiggling up to breathe air through a siphon, then resuming the search for food. This activity has earned a nickname “wriggler”. The larva molts four times getting bigger with each molt, eventually achieving the length of almost a half an inch.