Larvae eat larvae, adults eat adults. Yes, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.
Dragonflies and mosquitoes both live as adults for only a couple of weeks. But dragonflies spend several months or even years in the larval phase and mosquitoes only several days.
If you kill off the adults of both species, which will bounce back faster?
Mosquitoes, obviously, because their eggs, larvae, and pupae will all become adults in a few days, while those phases of dragonflies are still stuck in the water.
So an indiscriminate pesticide helps mosquitoes by knocking out a slower-breeding predator!
For a 50-minute video on the life and history of the drangonfly, see YouTube. Still from that video showing dragonfly larva about to munch into a mosquito larva:
If you have anything like this on your property, it’s time for immediate action! This photo shows about 100 mosquito larvae. The corresponding video shows them happily snapping their way (that’s how they move) around the shallow water rich in organic organic matter, their ideal habitat.
The good news is that an application of several tablets of the non-toxic larvicide Bti in a surface area of about 100 square feet virtually wiped out the larvae within 2 days.
With a bit of practice, it becomes easy to detect larvae in standing water. Sunlight helps show them, or a good flashlight. They are easily visible, about 3/8″ long, and a slight disruption of the water encourages them to zip around looking for shelter.
In the 4-part mosquito life cycle*, the most vulnerable stage is the larva. Eggs are designed to survive, pupae don’t eat and their chief enemy would be rough water preventing them from breathing, and adults as we all observe are elusive fliers.
But larvae depend on feeding on organic matter in unclean standing water. If they get too hot or cold, don’t find enough food, or can’t breathe regularly at the surface, they will develop into adults either slowly or not at all. Continue reading
If you spot stray tires, get them removed!
from our Facebook page
Check your roof to avoid breeding mosquitoes there!
Short version: be sure trash and recycling lids cover containers and aren’t lying on the ground!
West Chester Borough ordinances require waterproof lids on trashcans:
Life cycle description from the EPA:
All mosquito species go through four distinct stages during their life cycle:
egg – hatches when exposed to water
larva – (plural: larvae) “wriggler” lives in water; molts several times; most species surface to breathe air
pupa – (plural: pupae) “tumbler” does not feed; stage just before emerging as adult
adult – flies short time after emerging and after its body parts have hardened.
The first three stages occur in water, but the adult is an active flying insect. Only the female mosquito bites and feeds on the blood of humans or other animals.
After she obtains a blood meal, the female mosquito lays the eggs directly on or near water, soil and at the base of some plants in places that may fill with water. The eggs can survive dry conditions for a few months.
The eggs hatch in water and a mosquito larva or “wriggler” emerges. The length of time to hatch depends on water temperature, food and type of mosquito.
The larva lives in the water, feeds and develops into the third stage of the life cycle called, a pupa or “tumbler.” The pupa also lives in the water but no longer feeds.
Finally, the mosquito emerges from the pupal case after two days to a week in the pupal stage.
The life cycle typically takes up two weeks, but depending on conditions, it can range from 4 days to as long as a month.
The adult mosquito emerges onto the water’s surface and flies away, ready to begin its life cycle.