Mosquitoes can cause irritating bites and other issues such as the transmission of hazardous diseases and viruses. The life cycle of a mosquito is separated into four stages, with the larval stage being the second of the four. Mosquito larvae resemble miniature wiggling worms that swim around in sources of standing water, earning them the nickname “wigglers.” However, the question here is whether they are harmful to humans or animals.
Mosquitoes prefer standing water as a nesting ground. Mosquitoes put their eggs in stagnant water to reproduce. Mosquito larvae live in standing water, and they only need a small amount of water to survive. They can even be found in a puddle of water on a discarded plastic bag. Rainwater should also not pool in containers or on surfaces beneath tank outlets or taps since insects may use this as a breeding place.
So, before discussing whether they’re dangerous to us or not. Let’s start with mosquito larvae. As a result, we will cover the life cycle of mosquitoes, mosquito larvae food sources, and their health impact, and how to control mosquito larvae in this guide.
Let’s get started!
Life Cycle of Mosquitoes
All mosquitos go through a metamorphosis at some point in their existence, passing through four unique stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. It takes around a month for a mosquito to complete its life cycle. The following is a list of the various stages.
The female mosquito lays eggs on or near water or damp soil after consuming a blood meal. The eggs are laid separately or side by side, depending on the mosquito species, and stick together to produce rafts that float on the surface of the water. Between 100 and 400 eggs can be carried on a raft.
The eggs hatch in water within a week, resulting in mosquito larvae known as “wigglers.” A mosquito larva is a bit hairy worm that is less than a quarter-inch long. It has a hard circular head, a soft body, a ten-segmented abdomen, and a siphon tube at its abdomen’s tip.
Mosquito larvae dangle upside-down near the water’s surface for four to fourteen days or longer, depending on the water temperature. Mosquito larvae use a siphon tube that looks like a snorkel and pokes through the water to come to the surface to breathe.
Because mosquito larvae require a lot of energy to thrive, they consume constantly. Mosquito larvae consume algae, plankton, fungus, and other aquatic microbes. Filtering little food particles toward their mouth are tiny fan-like bristles. The larvae of one mosquito species will even consume the larvae of other mosquito species.
During this stage, mosquito larvae molt four times, each time becoming larger. At the end of the molt, they’re almost a half-inch long.
When a mosquito larva molts for the fourth time, it transforms into a pupa. Tumblers are pupae that float near the water’s surface. When the light changes, they dive and swim in a tumbling motion. Mosquito pupae are not able to consume or molt. They take in air and develop into adult mosquitos inside their casing (cocoon). Pupae can spend one to four days in the water, depending on the species and water temperature.
The adult mosquito stays on the water’s surface after emerging from the pupal casing until its body and wings dry and solidify. The adult mosquito can fly at that point. Mosquitoes only live for a few weeks as adults.
A mosquito’s life cycle is short, yet it can do a lot of damage in that time, inflicting painful bites and possibly spreading diseases.
Mosquito Larvae’s Food Source
Mosquito larvae eat anything they find in the water, mainly microorganisms already present, such as algae. Still, they don’t eat humans or anything else that doesn’t exist in the same water as them.
Interestingly, some mosquito larvae feed on the larvae of other mosquito species. Well, it’s a mosquito-eat-mosquito world out there! Therefore, it is entirely safe for humans.
Impact on Health
Thankfully, mosquito larvae do not bite humans or animals, and even if consumed by animals drinking the water in which they live, they usually do not cause harm. But it doesn’t mean you won’t take precautions; in any case, you must protect yourself from harm because the adult stage of the life cycle of mosquitoes appears to be harmful to humans and animals.
How to Control Larval Mosquitoes?
Because these little creatures can only grow in water, there are a few things you can do to prevent them from developing into adults:
- Remove any standing water from your yard or outdoor space (including draining birdbaths).
- Ensure that the pump is in good working order and that correct chlorine levels are used to keep outdoor pools and water features sterile to larvae.
- To treat ponds, drainage ditches, and other areas of water that aren’t drainable, use “mosquito dunks.” The larvae will be poisoned, but no other animals will be harmed. Mosquito dunks can be found at local stores.
- To smother mosquito larvae before they turn into adults, pour mineral oil into standing water.
- If no other options are available, several communities use larvicides, chemical treatments specifically designed to kill larvae. These don’t seem to damage fish or other aquatic creatures.
The most efficient strategy to manage mosquitoes appears to be to kill them while they are still larvae.
Mosquito larvae are not dangerous to humans, as we discovered. However, you should still take some precautionary measures. Mosquito larvae prefer shallow water to live. A population of larvae can thrive in as little as one ounce of standing water. Avoiding mosquito larvae is the best way to deal with them. To do so, clear your home of full buckets, barrels, toys, plastic bags, and other debris. If you come across standing water on your property that may already be home to mosquito larvae, you can safely kill them with household items.