Are Mosquitoes Nocturnal? When Are Mosquitoes Active?
Mosquitos are not only a pest that can ruin any outdoor activity, but they also carry and spread diseases. They are highly efficient at being able to locate people and pets, too, and because different species of mosquito are active at different times of day, it means that there is virtually no escaping them.
With that said, most species in the U.S. are especially active at dusk as they emerge from sleeping during the day and are hungry but before they start trying to locate somewhere cool and dark to rest during the next day.
Globally, there are more than 3,000 different species of mosquito. They have thin bodies, a pair of wings, and three pairs of longs. They typically live between 2–6 months, and they are considered such a pest because they have an incredible ability to detect and locate humans before biting and sucking blood.
Initially, mosquitoes sense carbon dioxide, which we emit when we breathe. Our pets and livestock also give off carbon dioxide, which means that they can also be prone to mosquito attacks. The mosquitos will then approach the source of carbon dioxide, which is when their ability to smell human skin, or a specific hormone secreted by human skin, enables them to hone in on their target.
Male mosquitoes only eat nectar, but females need blood for egg development. They have a large proboscis that sticks out from the front of their face and pierces the skin, sucks blood, and leaves their saliva in your bloodstream. It is this saliva, which the body believes to be an allergen, that causes the negative reaction that a lot of people suffer.
Although allergic reactions to mosquito bites can be painful and uncomfortable, the biggest concern with these vectors is the spread of disease. Mosquitoes can bite diseased animals or people and then transfer the infection to the next person, people, or animals that it bites. They spread so much disease because mosquitos are sip feeders—they take a small amount of the blood they need from each source, therefore having to bite multiple sources to get their fill.
Most people are aware of the threat of malaria spread by mosquitoes, but this is only one of several conditions that this pesky insect spreads. Others include yellow fever and West Nile virus, which, like malaria, can be fatal. Dengue and zika, which are not considered fatal but can cause severe reactions in some and are highly transmissible, are also spread by mosquitoes.
Common Mosquito Species
There are nearly 200 mosquito species active in the U.S., but there are three that are more prevalent than others. The species of mosquito determines when they are more active:
Aedes is a genus of mosquitoes that includes several species, some of which are active during the day and some are active during the night. They can be found on the west coast and in the Southeastern United States, and they are known to spread diseases and carry pathogens from host to host.
2. Culex pipiens
Found in humid coastal areas, the Culex genus tends to be active at night, although a small number may also be witnessed during the day. This type of mosquito is known to carry the West Nile virus. Symptoms of the virus include headache, fever, and confusion. Severe cases can lead to coma and may prove fatal.
Anopheles are the mosquitos responsible for transmitting malaria among humans and they are active from dusk until dawn. They are seen in the eastern United States. Although Malaria isn’t common in the U.S., approximately 2,000 cases are reported each year.
When Are Mosquitoes Most Active?
Generally, dusk and dawn are when mosquitoes are most likely to bite. This is because the heat can be too much during the peak sunlight hours and the temperatures too cold during the middle of the night, but it does depend on the mosquitos in question.
What Time of Year Are Mosquitos More Common?
Mosquitoes dislike cold weather, which is why they are more commonly seen and experienced during the summer and mild months. The hotter states usually see more mosquitos, in greater numbers, and for longer periods of the year.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitos
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in moist soil or water. While the majority prefer stagnant water, some do prefer clean water sources. Remove or cover any standing water source, ensure that your pool is kept clean and chlorinated, and look for any possible sources of stagnant water that might attract mosquitoes to your area. Garbage cans, drains, and areas around pools and water features are places where these pests are commonly found so pay particular attention to these spots.
Mosquitos are a nuisance and if you get bitten, you are likely to suffer some kind of reaction because most people suffer a mosquito bite allergy. Worse still, mosquitos can also transmit bloodborne diseases and bacterial infections between people, and they are well known for spreading malaria, West Nile fever, dengue, and other diseases.
Because some come out during the day and some during the night, it is impossible to say when you are most likely to be bitten or when you will see more mosquitos and this is especially true if you live somewhere like Florida, where the high temperatures and long summers attract large populations of different types of mosquitoes.
Featured Image Credit: FRANCO PATRIZIA, Pixabay