Mosquito Lifecycle

It’s been said again and again: life is short. But this statement is much more accurate if one is referring to the life of a mosquito, whose entire life—from egg to larva, to pupa, to adult—flies by in only 8-10 days, in the case of males. Life is short, indeed.

Life Stages of Mosquitos

Source CDC


The life cycle of a mosquito begins when a female lays her eggs. They prefer to do this on the inner walls of containers holding water, above the waterline and lay about a hundred eggs at a time. It takes very little water to attract a female mosquito—even a single cup of water is enough to incite this egg-laying frenzy. Eggs either hatch within around 48 hours or lay dormant throughout winter to hatch in spring—that these eggs can withstand entire winters of freezing temperatures is a testament to their hardiness.


After hatching, the larva lives in the water; most larvae have siphon tubes for breathing and hang upside down from the water surface, but some have to come to the surface to breathe. A few mosquito species actually latch on to underwater plants to procure oxygen. Larvae shed their skin four times, growing progressively larger with each molt, feeding on microorganisms and other organic matter in the water. After the fourth molt, they change into a pupa.


The pupal stage is one of rest and development. They do not feed like in the previous and following stages. Pupae are mobile, however, and can respond to light changes and tumble around with a flip of their tails. It is in this stage that the transformation from a pupa to the mosquito we all know and love actually occurs. The process is similar to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to an adult butterfly—the pupal skin splits and the adult mosquito emerges. For the Culex species in the southern US, this process takes two days.


Immediately after exiting the pupal skin, the adult mosquito rests on the surface of the water for a short period, to allow itself to dry and its wings to spread out and harden, which it must do before the mosquito can fly. After a few days, the mosquito is ready to mate and blood fed. How long the mosquito lives after this depends very much on if it is male or female. Male mosquitos usually live only 6-7 days on average, while females with an adequate food supply can live as long as five months, with the average lifespan being around six weeks—plenty of time to be an annoyance.

Mosquito Control

If you’d like to cross mosquito bites off your list of things to worry about this summer—or if you’ve simply grown weary of dousing yourself with bug spray just to step foot on your porch—give the trained experts at MissQuito a call. Our mosquito control services target mosquitoes at different stages of their life. That way we can ensure we get quick and effective mosquito control in your yard. We’ll work around your schedule to deliver potent, eco-friendly repellants that are sure to keep those bloodsuckers at bay.