Q. What is the life cycle of a mosquito? How do they survive the North Dakota and Minnesota winters?
A. At the risk of offending any potential mosquito lovers out there, I’ll start by saying mosquitoes—unfortunately—do survive the winter.
For a closer look, I consulted the source for all answers these days—Google—and was directed to the website about.com.
According to the website, some mosquitoes lay eggs that survive winter by lying dormant in the soil until spring. The eggs then hatch when soil temperatures warm and rain falls to moisten the ground and provide a jump-start.
Larval-stage mosquitoes, the website says, can survive the winter under the water, which is a crucial ingredient for all mosquito larvae. When the water gets cold enough, according to the website, mosquitoes go into a sort of suspended animation until the water warms, and then they pick up where they left off before the onset of winter.
Some mosquitoes also can survive the winter, a fact to which I can attest. A few winters ago, some friends and I took a January ice fishing trip to Oak Island on Lake of the Woods. The first night, one of my fishing partners was surprised to find an unwelcome visitor in the cabin’s living room.
Sure enough, it was a mosquito—a very sluggish mosquito, mind you, but a mosquito just the same.
Considering the cabin was situated at the northernmost point of the Lower 48, the find certainly attested to the annoying insects’ hardiness.
According to about.com, only female mosquitoes survive the winter, while males die in the fall after mating. Females, the website says, spend the winter in protected places “such as hollow logs or animal burrows”—or cozy cabins.
And then—you guessed it—they’re right back at it again in the spring, looking for blood to help produce their eggs and start the whole vicious cycle all over again.