If you’ve spent any time outside this summer chances are the Florida mosquito made an appearance reminding you what part of the country you live in. The mosquito has been here in Florida much longer than we have and has adapted to our presence even our methods of getting rid of them.
The Florida mosquito begins its life as an egg laid by its mother. These eggs can stay dormant for up to 5 years and are activated by the introduction of water. The eggs quickly become small larva that will live in the water for several days maturing into an adult mosquito. You may have noticed small wiggling bugs that look like very small worms in containers that are holding water around your home. Chances are they were infant mosquitoes. The larva must stay in the water the entire time during this period and the area or container they are growing in must have still water and can be as small as a tea spoon in size.
These larvas also breathe fresh air and will make hundreds of trips to the surface of the water they are living in to breath. The next phase of life the larvae will grow wings and a body resembling a very small mosquito. At this stage they will sit on top of the water for 8-12 hours drying their wings and finishing their development. Once airborne they head for dense foliage to begin their 3-6 week adult life span.
The adult Florida mosquito is a small black insect that flies. There are 167 species of mosquitoes and 80 reside here in Florida. They are very slow moving in nature and surprisingly enough are vegetarians. Now one would question, if the mosquito is a vegetarian then why am I getting bite? Well first you really aren’t being bite, sting is actually a better term and the reason for this is not for food but for future life. The female mosquito is the only one who “stings” and she does this for the protean from our blood to fertilize her eggs. Mosquitoes are most active during the early part of the morning and evening and become completely inactive when temperatures get to 60 degrees F or below, this is the reason we only see them during the summer months. Mosquitoes stay very close to the location where they were hatched and any widespread movement depends mostly on the wind.
Since we have to co-exist with these pesky little insects how can we protect ourselves from their uncomfortable stings? First check your yard and surrounds for any containers that may be holding water that could be breeding mosquitoes, this is the most effective way of mosquito control. Once the mosquito is airborne you have several methods of protection, the most effective are to avoid any outside activities, not a likely option for most. Next is to wear protective clothing such as long pants and long sleeves. Mosquito repellent that can be applied to your skin works well also but remember your applying an insecticide directly on your body. One sure way of personal protection is to apply an Avon product called Skin So Soft. This body care product is not advertised as such but works the best of all, and it makes even the sweatiest man smell good. Just remember, they were here first and if going to live in Florida you better get used to them.