Types of Mosquitoes
There are over 50 types of mosquitoes in Missouri. The Culex and Aedes mosquitoes are the most prevalent and both can carry disease.
Culex mosquitoes are known for transmitting West Nile Virus and heartworm disease. They are brown with whitish markings on the abdomen. Culex pipiens and Culex quinquefasciatus are commonly found in urban areas, whereas the western encephalitis mosquito, Culex tarsalis, is found in rural areas. They typically bite during the evening and rest during the day in shady, moist areas.
Culex mosquitoes lay eggs in tree holes, ditches, sewage and septic system water, catch basins, non-chlorinated swimming and wading pools, decorative ponds, bird baths, flower pots, buckets, clogged gutters, abandoned tires and anything that holds water. They require stagnant, old water to lay eggs. Therefore it is very important to remove any standing water every few days.
Adult Culex mosquitoes do not fly far from where they develop as larvae. And unlike other mosquitoes that die with the coming of the first hard frost in autumn, the Culex mosquito can “over-winter” in protected places like sewers, crawl spaces and basements.
The Aedes group of mosquitoes includes many nuisance mosquitoes, as well as species that transmit disease to humans. The newly introduced Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has found its way to Missouri from Japan via the used tire industry.
Characterized by its black and white striped legs, and small black and white striped body, the Asian tiger mosquito successfully breeds in containers that hold water like used tires and also in tree holes, stumps and logs. The Asian tiger mosquito bites during the day and is often found near wooded areas.
The yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is often found near human dwellings. This species is particularly abundant in towns and cities. Aedes aegypti is reported to fly only a few hundred yards from breeding sites. It is easily recognized by white markings on its legs and a marking in the form of a lyre on the thorax. It is an early morning or late afternoon feeder, but females will take a bloodmeal at night under artificial illumination. Human blood is preferred over other animals with the ankle area as a favored feeding site.