How Do Mosquitoes Survive Winter?

Although mosquitoes are mostly present during summer, some species can overwinter as adults in cold climates.

They are small insects but they are very resilient and have a few mechanisms that help them get through the cold months.

One way that mosquitoes survive winter is by going into a state of dormancy called diapause. This is when the mosquito’s metabolism slows down and they don’t eat or mate.

The female mosquito will find a sheltered spot like under tree bark or in tall grass, and she will remain there until spring when the temperature warms up again.

mosquito crawling on snow

Another way that mosquitoes survive the cold is by producing antifreeze proteins in their bodies.

These proteins prevent the formation of ice crystals, which would otherwise damage the mosquito’s cells.

These also allow them to remain in suspended animation until their bodies are warm enough for them to crawl away in springtime.

Although mosquitoes are not active during winter, they are still surviving thanks to these mechanisms.

These mechanisms are what make them one of the oldest and most successful groups of insects on Earth. So, when spring comes around, they will be ready to start biting us again.

Surprising Facts About Mosquitoes During the Winter

One of the most interesting things about mosquitoes is that they are considered as cold-blooded creatures.

In short, these pests are ectothermic which means that their body temperature changes depending on the external temperature. When the temperature outside decreases, so does the mosquito’s internal temperature.

So, as the temperature starts to drop, these pesky insects seem to disappear. In the winter, some species will hibernate and will lower their body temperature in order to conserve energy.

Others will lay their eggs in freezing water. While some species do die off in the winter, others simply go into hiding, waiting for the warmer months to return.

When spring comes, the eggs that were laid in freezing water will thaw out and hatch. The larvae will develop into adult mosquitoes, ready to start the cycle all over again.

This is often why you see a sudden increase in mosquito activity after a long, cold winter.

They have adapted to survive in a variety of climates. It’s remarkable that even in the most extreme conditions, some species of mosquitoes can still find a way to thrive.

What Do Mosquitoes Do in Winter

These irritating pests hunt and feed on human blood when the conditions are ideal and perfect for them to thrive and flourish.

When the weather is warm and the temperature is high, they become more active because their metabolism speeds up. This is the reason why mosquitoes are more present during summer.

They usually thrive and are more active in temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit but as the weather cools and the days grow shorter, mosquitoes begin to prepare for winter.

They find shelter in places like hollow trees or underground burrows. Here, they huddle together in groups to stay warm and wait out the cold weather.

dead mosquito on white surface

Many mosquito species will spend the winter in a state of dormancy, known as diapause.

During diapause, mosquitoes cease their feeding and reproduction activities, and their metabolism slows down significantly. As a result, they can survive for long periods of time without food or water.

Some mosquitoes even spend the winter frozen solid in ice and when the weather warms up in spring, they thaw out and resume their normal activities.

Other species of mosquitoes overwinter as larvae or pupae. They will continue to develop into adults as conditions allow, emerging when they are able to find food and mate. So, although you may not see them, mosquitoes are still active during the winter months.

Do Mosquitoes Bite During Winter?

As cold-blooded insects, they are unable to generate their own body heat and must rely on the temperature of their surroundings to regulate their body temperature.

For this reason, mosquitoes are more active during warm weather and become less active when the temperature drops.

You wouldn’t get mosquito bites in winter because they tend to be lethargic and feed less when it’s cold. However, this doesn’t guarantee that you’re entirely safe from these little vampires so always be on the look out.

Where Do Mosquitoes Go to Survive?

Winters in many parts of the world are quite harsh, and it’s reasonable to assume that such an insect wouldn’t be able to survive being buried under snow and ice for months at a time.

As it turns out, mosquitoes have a few different strategies for dealing with the cold weather.

They will find a protected place to rest, such as under tree bark or in tall grasses, even holes, and remain there until the temperature warms up again.

Other mosquitoes will find a sheltered spot – cracks in buildings or other areas where they won’t be exposed to the elements – and enter a state of hibernation.

Some species of mosquitoes will actually spend the winter frozen solid in ice. You might also find them in your home, taking refuge in cracks and crevices around doors and windows, and dark, secluded areas.

Unbelievably, mosquitoes have a few different strategies for dealing with the cold weather.

You’ll be surprised by the number of places mosquitoes can go to rest during the harsh winter months.

They’ve been known to take refuge in the cracks of buildings, underneath porches, inside hollow logs, at the bottom of lakes and ponds, and tall grasses.

They stay there until the weather warms up and they can come out to mate and feed on blood again.

In general, mosquitoes look for a spot where they won’t be exposed to the harsh elements, while they enter a state of dormancy.

Some mosquito species actually spend the winter frozen in solid ice. You might also find them in your home, taking refuge in cracks and crevices around doors, windows, and dark, secluded areas of your home.

So, even though you may not see them during the winter months, they are just actually in hiding, waiting for the warmer weather to come back around again. And, when it does, they will be sure to let you know they are back.

How Do Mosquitoes Survive Winter?

Despite their cold-blooded nature, mosquitoes are actually quite resilient creatures. They have ways to keep themselves thriving regardless of the temperature and other conditions.

Some species of mosquito will even enter a state of hibernation, surviving on nothing but stored fat until spring arrives.

Some species of mosquito will actually mate and lay their eggs before winter arrives, making sure that the next generation is able to survive even if the adults don’t make it through.

The eggs hatch when the water is sufficiently warm, at which time these cold-blooded creatures begin their cycle all over again.

As the temperatures start to rise again, these hibernating mosquitoes will emerge from their hiding places and resume their hunt for blood and mates.

This allows them to avoid the cold weather and conserve energy until spring arrives.

For mosquitoes, they enter into a state of dormancy called diapause. Diapause is similar to hibernation in that the mosquito’s metabolism slows down and they become less active. However, unlike hibernation, diapause is not a continuous state.

The mosquito will periodically enter into and exit out of diapause depending on the temperature.

Ethylene glycol is a compound that prevents car radiators from freezing. This compound keeps car radiators liquid even at cold temperatures.

Mosquitoes too, extraordinarily, have something that works similarly. Producing antifreeze proteins in their bodies has been one of their means to ensure their survival during the cruel winter.

These proteins minimize ice crystal formation, which would harm the mosquito’s cells.

mosquito on leaf

During the winter, survival is dependent on their ability to enter a dormant state. When this happens, they’re able to survive off of stored fats and carbohydrates until springtime when their bodies are warm enough for them to crawl away.

Another one of the few different ways that mosquitoes can survive the winter month is by finding places to shelter themselves from the cold weather.

Mosquitoes will often seek out cracks and crevices in trees or other objects where they can stay warm and dry.

All in all, mosquitoes have a few different strategies for dealing with the cold weather and surviving until springtime. Believe it or not, they may even be using some of the same methods that we use to survive the winter.

Read More: What Do Mosquitoes Do When It Rains?

Why Mosquitoes Go into the State of Dormancy in Winter

Mosquitoes are resilient little creatures. That is one of the reasons why they are one of the oldest groups of insects in the world. But even these creatures have to take a break during winter.

Hibernation is one way that most animals can survive cold weather and scarce resources. For mosquitoes, they use something similar which is called diapause.

They need to enter into a state of dormancy to survive the cold weather conditions of winter. As their metabolism and heartbeat slow down, this process helps them to conserve energy and survive on stored fat reserves until spring arrives.

Dormancy is not a continuous state for mosquitoes. They will periodically enter into and exit out of diapause depending on the temperature.

For example, if the temperature warms up for a few days, they may exit diapause and become active again. And if goes down, they will become lethargic and enter diapause again.

In conclusion, mosquitoes have a few different strategies for dealing with the cold weather and surviving until springtime.

All in all, entering a state of dormancy helps them to conserve energy and survive on stored fat reserves that may help mosquitoes make it through the winter months until springtime arrives.

How Long Can Mosquitoes Live in Winter?

Although mosquitoes are not active during winter, they can live for several months without feeding. Their biological processes will just slow down and the cycle will just be suspended for quite some time.

In some cases, female mosquitoes have been known to live for six months and even up to nine months in a state of dormancy.

Mosquitoes may lay winter-hardy eggs and hibernate as embryos in eggs laid by the final generation of females, who hatch after the previous summer.

You would be surprised to know that their eggs are peculiarly submerged in hard cole ice and will hatch in spring when the temperature finally rises and the water warms up.

Technically, these pests never die in winter. Their cycle just gets paused but they do not die at all. So if you think it’s safe, think again.

Remember, these pests can live for several months without feeding and there may be a mosquito or two hiding away, just waiting for the right moment to come out and bite you.

Be vigilant don’t let your guard down just because it’s cold outside and take the necessary precautions to ensure that you don’t get bitten by these pests this winter season.

How Cold Can a Mosquito Survive?

As we’ve seen, mosquitoes are able to enter into a state of dormancy called diapause in order to survive the winter months. But you might also be wondering just how cold can a mosquito survive.

human shoveling snow during winter

Mosquitoes are a common sight during the summer, but it’s hard to believe that they can survive in cold weather.

Surprisingly, mosquitoes can thrive in temperatures as low as 33 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they are more likely to enter into diapause when the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

At these lower temperatures, their metabolism and heartbeat slow down. They become lethargic and start to feed less which would result in, of course, less activity.

This helps them to conserve energy and survive on stored fat reserves.

The warmth of spring would wake them up and that would commence their feeding frenzy all over again. So if you’re looking to avoid being bitten by a mosquito, make sure to take the necessary precautions during the spring and summer months when they are most active.

Mosquitoes and Hibernation During the Winter

It’s fascinating that these tiny bloodsuckers do not have the ability to regulate their body temperature but would use their other capabilities to continue to thrive. They exhaust every possible means if it means they can survive a whole lot longer.

In fact, mosquitoes are just some of the longest surviving insects around. Depending on the species, mosquitoes can live for anywhere from two weeks to six months. This makes them one of the most resilient insects in the world.

It’s not a surprise that they do not actually die off during winter. They just hibernate and use their stored energy to live another day.

The female mosquito will lay her eggs before winter so that the next generation can start the cycle all over again.

Even if the eggs are laid in water that’s about to freeze, they will still survive. And just like adult mosquitoes, they will not actually die but just enter hibernation. They will not hatch until the water is sufficiently warm.

Hibernation in winter ensures the survival of the mosquito species. The low temperature of the harsh cold winter doesn’t actually kill mosquitoes but just puts their activities on pause. When spring comes these mosquitoes will resume their normal activities.

They’ll remain inactive until the warmer weather returns, at which point they will wake up and resume their search for food which is human blood. So after winter, make sure that you have your mosquito repellant in hand because they are just biding their time until spring.

Final Thoughts

It is quite annoying to know the reality that mosquitoes are actually unstoppable. Mosquitoes are a pain in the neck, and they’ve been on Earth for approximately 46 million years. They don’t appear to be leaving anytime soon, either.

As it turns out, mosquitoes have a few survival tricks up their sleeve. They can just go into hiding and enter a state of dormancy which we call diapause.

Mosquitoes are actually able to withstand quite low temperatures – lower than most other insects. This is thanks to their survival instinct and mechanisms like surviving on their stored fat and energy and glycerol production.

Their metabolism slows down and they enter a state of suspended animation. They will remain this way until conditions are more favorable for survival, such as warmer weather and the presence of food.

By producing more glycerol, mosquitoes are able to keep their bodies from freezing solid at very low temperatures.

You might get mosquitoes buzzing around but if you really think about it, these amazing little creatures are survivors.

They have impressive survival skills that enable them to withstand the winter months and come out biting in the spring. Just think of their tenacity and will to survive. Until then, we’ll just have to deal with the itchy bites.