Will the winter blast kill mosquitoes?

Freezing cold verses mosquitoes, the winner, those biting pests

By Mark Collins - Meteorologist
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Mosquitoes survive freezes through a hibernating process called diapause.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla - After snow and back to back freezes you would expect the icy fatal blow to squash the mosquito nuisance come springtime, but think again.

We all know the itchy feeling of getting bit by mosquitoes but the winter months has slowed the bites. 

But surprisingly the cold does not kill the eggs and and once the temperatures warm up the bugs attack again.

Mosquitoes survive the winter by a type of hibernation called diapause.  While they prefer our Jacksonville heat over 80 degrees, shorter daylight hours are the insects first clues to prepare for cooler temperatures.

The bugs do this by slowing down activity at temperatures less than 50 degrees. You see fewer mosquitos in the cold because some species find holes where they wait for warmer weather. A freeze only kills eggs laid in water but those laid in dried soil survive.

The mosquito larvae's development stops when the weather is too cold or dry and then starts up even after weeks or months of harsh conditions.

When the environmental conditions return to a favorable state, development continues.  Within a week or two after the return of warm weather, everyone will be swatting again.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is one species that evolved to tolerate cold without diapausing and cans stay active yar round.

Make sure to limit areas where they thrive like empty flowerpots, stagnant pools, unused tires, birdbaths and leaf filled blocked gutters. 

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