Seasons come and seasons go, and year after year we deal with pesky flying insects. We see them go, but they always seem to make a comeback. But where do they go when it gets cold? Do they fly south for the winter like birds or do they hibernate like bears? All we do seem to know is that the moment we fire up the barbecue, the flies come out and we are slapping at the back of our necks. So, let’s take a look at how weather and temperature affect flies and mosquitoes.
Before we begin, let’s give you a brief review of both the fly and mosquito.
Flies spoil your summertime barbecue and hang around your garbage cans. Here are some facts about flies:
- Flies belong to the order of insects called Diptera.
- There are over 125,000 species of fly across the world.
- Most flies on average are about ½” long.
- Flies live on a liquid diet.
- A mosquito is a type of fly, as is a bee.
- A housefly can spread certain diseases such as E. coli and Salmonella.
Also a nuisance in the warmer months, mosquitoes add to the equation by biting those they come in contact with. Here are some facts about mosquitoes.
- Only female mosquitoes bite.
- There are 3,500 species of mosquito.
- Mosquitoes are generally smaller than ½” long.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide found in human breath.
- Mosquito bites contain an anticoagulant that allows females to eat easier.
- A mosquito doesn’t actually bite; it injects an elongated mouthpart called a proboscis.
- West Nile Virus is a disease known to be transmitted by mosquitoes.
Both flying insects are active as long as the temperature holds up. With the overall global temperature changing, the active months are becoming longer. However, weather and temperature do indeed affect how these Diptera function and live.
How weather affects bugs
Wind, rain, flooding, drought, and other weather conditions affect how we live as humans. These weather conditions also affect the world around us, including insects.
Lack of water
Drought is a dreadful thing for those who rely on water for a living. Farmers and ranch owners depend on the weather for their crops and their cattle. A water hose from the house is just not going to do the job. Too, most of the time that water is coming from a well source, not a city aquifer. We all, to some degree, rely on water falling from the sky. Flies and mosquitoes are no different.
Flies drink water. Being that their entire diet is a liquid one, most of their water is derived from the food they eat. But that food in itself relies on water. Flies are attracted to decaying matter, and water helps contribute to that food's decay.
A mosquito's entire life cycle depends on water. Without water, a mosquito would not be able to perpetuate their species. Females lay eggs in standing pools of water. While it doesn't matter how this standing water is achieved, rainwater is more widespread and very conducive to the breeding of mosquito larvae. In addition, this standing water must last long enough for the mosquito to complete its life cycle, generally 10-14 days.
Overabundance of water
Flooding of an area can be just as harmful. As with the farmer mentioned above, his crops could get washed away. Depending on the severity of the flooding, cattle can be affected as well. The aftermath can both help and hurt the insect population.
Flies thrive as the water recedes because water promotes the decay the flies feed on. Vegetation and other items that are exposed to the elements rot after a flooding event, thus allowing flies to flourish and multiply. This is one reason why, in some areas, warnings are posted to boil water to prevent people from getting ill.
Mosquitoes rely on standing water. If they had a colony when the flooding event occurred, it is long gone. As long as water is in motion, the female will not be able to lay her eggs. She has to find an area where water is still. However, when the water does quiet down, there will be an endless supply until the sun dries the puddles up. A life cycle can take 10 to 14 days, depending on weather conditions and temperature, which we are about to discuss.
How temperature affects bugs
Just as too much and not enough rain can affect the insect population, temperatures surrounding those weather conditions can also determine insect survival. If the weather gets too hot, insects behave a certain way. When it gets too cold, their reaction has a different outcome.
When you or I get too hot, we are in danger of suffering heat stroke. We need to cool our bodies down or suffer the consequences. When insects experience excessive heat, their exoskeletons behave in specific manners.
Flies tend to thrive in the heat. The hotter the better, or so it seems. But this is not all that happens. Their reproduction cycle is affected. It is speculated that they will reproduce less when the temperature is excessively high.
Mosquitoes are enjoying themselves, too, especially if humidity is coupled with the heat. However, with excessive heat, standing water is evaporating at a rapid pace, so they need to do what they need to do much quicker. They become less active as the temperature becomes excessively hot.
Everyone and everything has a freezing point. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and we would not last much longer when exposed to the elements. Bugs also have tolerances, though some can hibernate and come back when temperatures return to normal.
Flies do not take the cold well. When it gets super cold, adult flies die off. However, the eggs they have laid, if protected, can still grow through their stages, pupate, and survive the winter. Otherwise, there would be no new batch of flies when spring comes.
Mosquitoes are versatile. They can handle the cold extremely well. Some will die off, but many will hibernate. Some will hibernate as larvae at the bottom of the pool of water where their egg was laid. The egg will hatch in the fall, sink to the bottom of the pool, wait out the winter, and then hatch in the spring or summer.
The process repeats year after year. The cycle is never-ending, with a new generation of insects ready to invade your home. The new question becomes how to rid your home of flies and mosquitoes.
How to rid your home of flies and mosquitoes
When you find yourself the victim of a home invasion of insects, you first have to discover what they are attracted to. If you do not eliminate the source, then you will continue to have an issue no matter how much you spray, clean, or install preventative measures.
Flies love fowl smells and decaying matter. Indoors, this source could be a garbage can, a dirty sink, a pile of dirty laundry, or a plumbing leak under the sink. Outdoors, it could be the trash receptacle, pet deposits, mulch piles, or recycling bins.
For mosquitoes, one may stray indoors, but for the most part, you will find them the moment you step outdoors. Standing water is your biggest enemy, going beyond puddles and birdbaths. Children’s toys, tires, grills, pools, etc. make great egg laying locations.
Dr. Killigan’s solution for flies and mosquitoes
As you begin to eliminate your home of these sources, you can begin to rid your home of flies and mosquitoes. Dr. Killigan’s non-toxic pest control products have you covered against both flying pests.
For flies, The Fly Inn® is the best non-toxic fly trap on the market. It's wrapped in a stylish design that sticks to your window via suction cups. It attracts flies to a glue strip and then traps them for easy disposal.
When dealing with mosquitoes, Dr. Killigan’s offers Six Feet Under®. Six Feet Under is an on-contact all-natural mosquito killer spray. It uses a blend of clove and soybean oil to help you dispose of mosquitoes from your home. It is toxin-free and 100% safe for use in your kitchen area and around pets as well as children.