Is it a Mosquito?
Mosquitoes DON'T fly in "clouds"
Female mosquitoes have a probiscus (the long pointy thing they bite you with) and ONLY female mosquitoes bite
Mosquitoes do not hatch out of moving water. The adults will often use canals and streams to migrate along because of the high humidity levels and the availability of nectar sources.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide we breathe out. They are also attracted to light from a distance, however, once they sense the C02 it is a much stronger attraction to them.
Some species of mosquitoes will bite all day long, however, all mosquitoes are more actively biting just after the sun goes down.
During heavy mosquito infestations precaution should be taken to avoid extra mosquito bites:
- Stay indoors at dusk
- Wear mosquito repellents with DEET
- Wear long sleeve shirts and pants
- Do not over water your lawn
Some more facts about mosquitoes...
A female mosquito will lay between 100 and 250 eggs. They will be laid on the water by some species or in the flood plane to be covered with water at a later date. These eggs can set for years waiting for a flood event to hatch.
Mosquitoes feed on plant nectar for their energy source to live. The blood meal is for protein to develop her eggs.
Many species are very strong flyers and will migrate up to 20 miles.
The average mosquito will live about 10 days but many live long enough to lay multiple batches of eggs.
The mosquitoes, in warm temperature, will grow from egg to adult in 7-10 days and one species can develop in 4-5 days.
If not, then what is it?
Insects Commonly Mistaken for Mosquitoes
Crane Flies (Tipulidae)
Crane Flies vary in size from ¼ inch to as large as 1½ inches in length. The largest crane flies are sometimes called daddy-long-legs, gully nippers, or mosquito hawks. They do not bite people and they do not eat mosquitoes. Some species of crane flies emerge from aquatic sources and others from terrestrial or decaying vegetation sources. Crane flies are not predacious and are usually many times larger than a typical mosquito. Adults are strongly attracted to porch lights. The larvae live in loose soil or organic matter and feed on the roots of plants.
Mayflies can be quite abundant near creeks, flood control channels and other water sources throughout the United States. Their larvae are found in most aquatic habitats and can live in moving water. Adult mayflies are recognized by the way they hold their wings at rest and the presence of two or three long "caudal" filaments at the tip of the abdomen. Though not even closely resembling mosquitoes, their seasonal occurrence at porch lights and on the walls of buildings near their aquatic breeding sources invariably attracts the attention of some concerned residents. These annoying insects may fly into one's face, ears, hair, land on clothing, crawl behind eyeglasses and splatter car windshields. Mayflies do not bite or sting nor feed on homes, furnishings, food, etc.
Midges are the most wide spread and numerous insects resembling mosquitoes. Adult Midges are commonly observed flying in swarms or "clouds", or are seen resting on fences, walls, under eaves and in protected areas such as porches and entryways. The larvae develop in sources having extensive areas of standing water.
Fungus Gnats (Sciaridae)
Fungus Gnats are small (about ¼ inch long), black flies commonly found around decaying vegetation. They have large wings and long antennae, but they are weak flyers and do not move far from the breeding site. Fungus gnats occasionally become a nuisance indoors when adults emerge in large numbers as mosquito-like insects from potted plants or flower boxes containing damp soil rich in humus. Adults are attracted to lights and are often first noticed at windows.
Dance Flies (Empididae)
Dance Flies appear like mosquitoes by the way they swarm in sunlit areas in backyards and other sheltered situations. The vertical movements of the swarming adults gives them their common name. Larvae are usually found in rich, moist soil, decaying vegetable matter and in aquatic associations, or under the bark of trees.
Wood Gnats (Anisopodidae)
Wood Gnats are some of the better known gnats, they are attracted to light and can be found near windows, especially in spring time. The adults can be found all year long though. The larvae live in rotting plants and rotting plant parts, fermenting sap, animal manure, tree trunks, mud and sometimes sewage. Adults are found on foliage in or near damp places, some are found around flowing sap. They are sometimes seen in small swarms. Adults appear in two variations: greyish black or reddish.