Mosquito Life-cycle

  Mosquitoes complete 3 stages before becoming a full-fledged, flying and biting insect. The first 3 stages require water and just the right temperature in order for the mosquito to develop fully and begin its journey to annoy everything in its way. 

  • Stage 1:  The female lays its eggs, up to 200 hundred at a time, in or next to a water source. When the eggs are exposed to water, along with that perfect temperature, they may hatch within 48 hours. However, if that perfect temperature is not met or they do not have water, they can remain dormant.  For some species, this dormancy will be over the winter or maybe even a month or so, others, will remain dormant for up to FIVE YEARS!
  • Stage 2:  The hatched larvae live in the water. During this time, they will shed their skin several times. 
  • Stage 3:  After shedding their skin numerous times, they turn into pupae. They do not eat during this stage, and are preparing for the transformation to a full-fledged adult.
  • Stage 4:  Once they reach “adulthood,” they will remain at the surface of the water to allow their body to dry and harden. They will begin to feed on a predator’s blood and mate within a few days after the hardening process has occurred. 

How quickly a mosquito completes a life-cycle will depend on its type or species and the environment (temperature, moisture, etc.). Some types can complete the four-stage lifecycle in as quickly as 4 days, while others may take as long as a month to complete the entire process.


Zika Virus

The Zika virus dates back to 1947 but didn’t become a large threat or concern until just recently. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared, on February 1, 2016, that Zika is a “public health emergency of international concern.” The virus originated in Uganda but has now spread to many other countries worldwide. It is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito.

Many individuals who are infected with the Zika virus will be asymptomatic. If symptoms do arise, they will consist primarily of a fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis (redness in the white part of the eye). 

The biggest fear is pregnant women exposed to the Zika virus. If the virus is contracted during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, it can cause microcephaly in the fetus. This condition causes an abnormally small head and underdeveloped brain sometimes leading to severe brain damage and death.

There is no vaccine or medication to treat the virus at this time.


West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. The virus is prevalent in Minnesota. This virus, transmitted by infected mosquitoes, can cause a variety of symptoms and complications, many of which feel like the flu. They include fever, headache, neck and back stiffness, muscle aches and joint pain, swollen glands and a rash. Those with a weakened immune system or the elderly will experience more pronounced symptoms.

In extreme cases, West Nile can cause encephalitis, which causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

The greatest risk for exposure to West Nile occurs from July – early September, although there is always a risk for infection.

In order to stop West Nile virus from spreading, it is best to kill live mosquitos as well as all mosquito eggs that may potentially carry the virus.

Tick-borne Diseases and Their Life-cycle

Minnesota offers the perfect breeding ground for ticks, particularly the deer tick, also known as lxodes scapularis, because of the trees and heavily wooded areas found around the state. Female ticks will lay thousands of eggs starting in the springtime, and have the potential to carry several diseases to humans. Lyme disease is the most common of those. 

Lyme disease is a bacterial-based disease that can cause many complications. After being bit by a deer tick, that has remained attached for 24 to 48 hours, Lyme disease can be transmitted from the carrier (the tick) to the host (a human or an animal). Symptoms from the disease will start to arise within 3 to 30 days after the tick exposure. At this time, the most common sign will be the development of the erythema misgrans (EM) rash. It will be red, circular and expand in nature.  Later complications include fever, headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, meningitis, nerve pain and potential cardiac arrhythmias. 

Tick-borne diseases will be at their height between the months of June - August, primarily because of an increased exposure to the outdoors during the warm months which coincides with when ticks have reached their full adult maturity.