PESTS INFORMATION - MOSQUITOES
Mosquitoes may overwinter as eggs, fertilized adult females or larvae. Eggs, larvae, and pupae must have water to develop. Some female mosquitoes lay their eggs directly on the water surface. Others lay their eggs on substrates above the water line (flood pool mosquitoes); the eggs hatch upon flooding. In some cases, the eggs will remain viable for several years until further flooding occurs. Mosquitoes belonging to the genus Culex lay their eggs in bunches or "rafts."
Each raft may contain up to 400 individual eggs. Larvae feed on bits of organic matter dispersed in the water, becoming full grown in about one week. The pupal stage lasts two to three days. Female mosquitoes are ready to bite one to two days after adult emergence. Male mosquitoes do not bite but feed on flower nectar or plant juices. Some mosquitoes have only one generation per year, whereas others may have four or more. Adults may fly 5 to 10 miles, but usually rest in grass, shrubbery or other foliage close to the water breeding area.
Mosquitoes may transmit diseases such as dengue, yellow fever, and malaria to humans. Mosquito-borne encephalitis is a viral inflammation of the brain. Encephalitis can infect humans, horses, and a variety of other mammals and birds. Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE), although very rare is frequently fatal. A small rural outbreak in late 1991 resulted in more than 20 farm animal fatalities, most of which were horses. Transmission of the disease occurs when an infected mosquito takes a blood meal. Birds serve as natural hosts for EEE and St. Louis encephalitis (SLE).
St. Louis encephalitis, like EEE is an epidemic disease, meaning that it is usually rare. It can be absent from an area for several years and then reoccur suddenly without warning. LaCrosse encephalitis (LAC) is the third type found in Ohio. It is considered endemic to Ohio and occurs year after year at low levels. Ohio has more recorded cases of this disease than my other state. LaCrosse encephalitis is the least severe of the three types of mosquito-borne encephalitis that are found in Ohio, and occurs most often in children. Small woodland mammals, such as chipmunks and squirrels serve as the natural host for the virus, however LAC virus can also be passed, transovarially, from mother mosquito to her offspring.
Mosquitoes can also transmit filariasis (heartworm) to animals. Dog heartworm is the most significant of these, however in some areas, veterinarians are beginning to see more heartworm in cats.
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