We are experts on mosquito diets, life cycles, breeding habitats, and the control of mosquito populations.

Mosquitoes are a type of fly similar to a housefly. Like all flies, they only have two wings (one pair), and their mouth, which is called a proboscis, is modified to suck up food rather than chew it. Like all insects, they have an exoskeleton made of chitin instead of bones and three main body segments.

labled mosquito

They have a head where their sensory receptors used in sight and smell are located, a thorax that contains muscles (flight muscles) that they use to move around, and an abdomen where they digest food. 

Mosquitoes drink nectar from flowers, just like bees and butterflies, which means that mosquitoes help out with pollination. Only female mosquitoes drink blood, and they do so because they need the protein in blood to make eggs. Male mosquitoes only drink nectar because males do not lay eggs.  When female mosquitoes aren’t ready to lay eggs, they are not looking for blood. If you find a mosquito flying around you trying to bite, she is host-seeking, which means that she is ready to lay some eggs.

Mosquito Diet

There are even some species of mosquito that do not drink blood at all like Toxorhynchites rutilus rutilus, or Elephant mosquito. Both males and females of this species only drink nectar, and if that’s not enough to make you like them, elephant mosquitoes help control other biting mosquitoes. Elephant mosquito larvae eat other species of mosquito larvae that would have grown up to be bloodsuckers. 

When you think of metamorphosis, the first things that should pop into your head are butterflies, but did you know that mosquitoes undergo metamorphosis too? This means that each development stage of a mosquito has a completely different body plan. Mosquitoes have four stages of development that each look unique: egg, larval, pupal, and adult stage. All mosquitoes need a source of standing water to complete their life cycle. Under the optimal temperature, about 78-85 degrees Fahrenheit, the entire life cycle of a mosquito takes about 10-14 days.

Mosquito Life Cycle
Mosquito Life Cycle

After a female mosquito takes a blood meal, she will look for a place to lay her eggs. The place that she chooses depends on what species she is. Some species of mosquito will look for pools of standing water in forested areas, while others look for containers, like buckets, that are filled with water. Some species prefer dirty or polluted water, while others like their water clean.

Some species lay their eggs right on top of the water in egg rafts, while others lay their eggs singly on the walls of containers. Some species will even look for dry or slightly damp ground that they know will eventually fill with water, and they will lay their eggs in the soil or on plants. These eggs can stay dormant for a long time until the area floods.

Once certain conditions are met, like temperature and water availability, the eggs will hatch into larvae. Mosquito larvae spend all their time in the water feeding on microorganisms and organic matter. They cannot breathe underwater, so they use their siphon at the end of their body like a snorkel, sticking it out of the water’s surface.

Some species of mosquito larvae will pierce aquatic plants with their siphon under the water and take oxygen directly from the plant. As mosquito larvae grow, they molt their exoskeleton three times before they turn into a pupa. After a mosquito larva undergoes all of its molts, it then turns into a pupa. Mosquito pupae do not eat at all or move much, but they will sink to the bottom of the water source when they feel threatened. Pupae breath through structures called trumpets near the top of their body.

labled larva
Larva (left) / Pupa (right)

Once the pupa is ready to emerge into an adult mosquito, it will go to the surface of the water. The adult emerges from the pupal skin and rests on the water for a couple of hours to dry and wait for its exoskeleton to harden. Once the adult is ready, it will fly to nearby vegetation to rest more or drink flower nectar for energy. After a couple of days, the mosquitoes are ready to mate and start their life cycle all over again.


There are a lot of different mosquito species in Florida, and they all have different habitats that they prefer. Some species breed in containers around homes, while others breed in rainwater pools in forests. Some species like dirty water while others prefer clean water. Some species breed in salt marshes, while others breed in permanent swamps. There is even a species of mosquito that will breed crab holes on the beach. All of these different mosquito breeding habitats have one thing in common, they have a source of stagnant water. 

Control and Bite Prevention

The best way to control mosquitoes is to prevent mosquitoes from breeding around your home. Remember, mosquitoes need stagnant water to breed. If you make sure that you do not have stagnant water around your home, then you eliminate the chance for mosquitoes to breed near you!

Do a self-inspection of your yard. If you notice an increase in mosquitoes on your property walk around and dump, drain, or cover any standing water you find. If you live by a forested area or natural standing water source like swamps, it might be impossible to get rid of the water source. In that case, you can give us a call to treat that water for you! Bite Prevention The best way to prevent mosquitoes from biting you is to prevent mosquitoes from breeding around your home (see control above). 

If you are going somewhere that you know will be full of mosquitoes, or if you are outside at times when mosquito activity is at its peak (dusk and dawn) use these tips:

Apply insect repellent containing these EPA approved active ingredients.

  • DEET
  • Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
  • IR3535
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
  • Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone

For more information about these repellents visit the CDCs website

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