About Mosquitoes

Culex mosquito sucking blood from human hand

Size of Mosquito

Getting rid of mosquitoes is easy once you understand the biology of a mosquito.

Mosquitoes are vectors, which means they are capable of transmitting a disease and can be considered a public health nuisance. Around the world, there are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes. Only a few of them can transmit diseases to people. Here in Los Angeles County, we’re most worried about the mosquito species dangerous to humans.

That is why our district’s mission is to reduce the populations of mosquitoes to prevent or stop disease outbreaks. In addition to control, we also use mosquito traps and other tools to monitor populations of mosquitoes and the diseases they spread.

The Mosquito Life Cycle (Not what you may expect!)

Mosquitoes can go from egg to adult in about

mosquito life cycleAll mosquitoes need stagnant, dirty water to go through their life cycles!

This is because the female mosquito, after taking a blood meal, lays her eggs either on the surface or edge of the dirty water.

The larva (“wriggler”) emerges from the egg and feeds on bacteria and other biological matter to grow and turn into a pupa (“tumbler”). In the pupa stage, the mosquito stops eating, much like a butterfly in its cocoon stage. Once ready, the mosquito emerges from the water and becomes an adult. The male mosquito doesn’t take blood meals; they only feed on plant juices, also known as nectar.

When the temperature is warm, the mosquito can develop from egg to adult in 7-10 days. During the summer, we can see mosquitoes completing their life cycles in about 5 days!

This is why our vector ecologists and vector control specialists act fast to respond to service requests. Waiting a week or two can mean thousands of a new mosquitoes emerging in our communities, which can increase all of our risk of getting a vector-borne disease, like West Nile virus.

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes

It’s easier than you think! You can help eliminate mosquitoes by removing stagnant water from these common backyard sources:

  • Clogged rain gutter
  • Neglected or out-of-order swimming pool, hot tub, pond, or fountain
  • Containers such as rain barrels, cans, buckets, jars, flower pots, etc.
  • Old tires
  • Any container that can hold water for more than seven days.

Personal Protection Against Mosquitoes

  • Don’t raise your own mosquitoes. Get rid of containers that have or may hold standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Make sure that doors and windows have tight fitting screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
  • Wear light-colored, long, loose clothing, such as long sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors. Keep in mind that mosquitoes can bite through thin or tight clothes.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping or camping outdoors.
  • Stay indoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Apply approved insect repellent whenever you are outdoors, even for a short period of time. Choose a repellent based on duration of activity. Remember when you are sweating, physically active, or getting wet, some repellents may not last long.

Are Mosquitoes Bothering You?

Have you searched for every possible source that can hold up to a spoonful of water and can’t find where the mosquitoes are coming from? Our services are AT NO EXTRA COST to our residents. We do inspections and, if necessary, treatments. Submit a service request through our online portal.

Mosquitoes Within the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District

*SLE-St. Louis encephalitis
*WEE-Western Equine encephalomyelitis
*WNV-West Nile virus

Aedes albopictus Asian Tiger Mosquito Lucky bamboo plants in nurseries and man-made containers Potential vector for dengue fever, WNV, and other encephalitis viruses
Aedes aegypti Yellow Fever Mosquito Urban environment indoors and outdoors in containers that can hold water. Yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue fever
Aedes notoscriptus Australian Backyard
Urban environment in outdoor containers that can hold water. Canine heartworm vector
Anopheles franciscanus none Shallow sunlit pools with algae Not known to carry disease in California
Anopheles hermsi Western Malaria
Clear pools with matted algae Malaria vector
Culex erythrothorax Tule Mosquito Ponds, lakes, wildlife refuges, and marshes with tules and cattails Potential vector for WNV
Culex stigmatosoma Banded Foul Water
Polluted water (e.g., industrial and agricultural wastes); prefers to bite birds Secondary SLE vector
Culex quinquefasciatus Southern House
Polluted water (e.g.,septic tanks, dairy drains, catch basins, and underground storm drains) Vector of WNV; secondary for SLE and WEE
Culex tarsalis Western encephalitis
Agricultural, commercial, man-made or natural sources Principal SLE, WEE, and WNV vector
Culex thriambus none Foothill riparian habitats, in sunlit pools, along streams and other water courses Potential vector for
Culex restuans none Found in foul water Potential vector for
Culiseta incidens
Culiseta inornata
Culiseta particeps
Cool Weather
Fresh and brackish
waters and containers
Not known to carry
disease in California
Western treehole
(particularly oak), tires, and containers
Canine heartworm
Ochlerotatus washinoi Woodland pond Mosquito Occurs in floodwater
Not known to carry
disease in California