Close up of a mosquito landed on human skin.


Vectors of disease, including Zika virus

Lay their eggs in stagnant water

Can enter diapause during dry or cold spells

The word "mosquito" is Spanish for “little fly,” and, in fact, mosquitoes are small, blood-feeding, midge-like flies of the family Culicidae. Females of most species have tube-like mouthparts—called a proboscis—that they use to pierce a host’s skin and consume their blood. With thousands of mosquito species, they are known to feed on many different hosts, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Some mosquitoes also attack invertebrates, mainly arthropods.

The most critical issue around mosquito infestations is their role as vectors of diseases, transmitting sometimes harmful or deadly infections such as malaria, yellow fever, Chikungunya, west Nile virus, dengue fever, the deadly Zika virus and others.

There are four stages in the mosquito life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Adult females of most species lay their eggs in standing or stagnant water, near the water's edge, or they attach their eggs to aquatic plants. The first three stages are largely aquatic, and typically last five to fourteen days, depending on species and ambient temperatures. Mosquito eggs can go into diapause during dry or cold spells, resuming activity when optimal conditions return. Adult lifespans can range from as short as a week to as long as several months.