Do Mosquitoes Sleep?

Resting vs Sleeping mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are a widespread nuisance that are found almost everywhere in the world. Their bites are irritating and itchy, plus they can spread deadly diseases. If you’ve attempted to rest while a mosquito buzzes around your head, you understand the frustration of wanting to know, “Do mosquitoes sleep?”

Do Mosquitoes Sleep?

Mosquitoes rest but do not sleep like humans. In humans, sleep is characterized by reduced awareness and activity, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and increased brain activity. Animals also need rest or sleep, and most have an internal biological clock that regulates this.

Research on sleep in mosquitoes is limited. However, studies show that mosquitoes follow a 24-hour circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms control the sleep-wake cycle and other body functions in living things based on changes in light and temperature. In mosquitoes, these rhythms control when they are active and when they rest.

Mosquito Resting Patterns

Mosquitoes are most active during twilight hours, dusk, and dawn. However, recent research suggests that they rest intermittently during the day. Mosquitoes like to settle in cool, damp, shaded areas like patio corners or tall grass to avoid heat and sunlight. They become less active, their hind legs droop, and their bodies fall a bit lower as well.

Note: The study found that sleep-deprived mosquitoes will choose to rest over feeding.

Mosquito Hibernation

mosquito sitting on a skin
Photo Credit: witsawat sananrum / Canva Pro / License

Mosquitoes are cold-blooded and unable to regulate their body temperature. Some female mosquitoes hibernate during the winter when temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Mosquitoes that hibernate can survive in the winter to lay eggs in spring, and the life cycle begins again. Some places mosquitoes go in the winter are:

  • Animal burrows
  • Tree holes
  • Debris or wood piles
  • Basements and cellars

What to Know About Mosquitoes

Keep pesky mosquitoes away and avoid irritating bites by understanding their life cycle and behavior. These tiny insects can spread pathogens for deadly diseases, so taking steps to prevent their bites is essential for preserving the health of your family and pets.

Mosquito Life Cycle

Pestgnome mosquito lifecycle illustration

Mosquitoes are arthropods and undergo a life cycle with four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. This process typically takes 8 to 10 days to complete but can last from 4 days up to a month, depending on climate conditions. 

A blood-feeding is required for a female mosquito to develop her eggs. A process called protein synthesis breaks it down into nutrients. After female mosquitoes have their blood meal, they lay eggs near or on the water’s surface, known as rafts.

  • Egg: The eggs usually hatch within a few days after they come in contact with water but can survive several months in dry conditions for the water level to rise to start the cycle.
  • Larva: The eggs hatch into larvae, also known as “wigglers,” which swim at the water’s surface for a few days and feed on microorganisms. After three molts, the larvae transform into pupae. 
  • Pupa: During the pupal stage, the mosquito is called a “tumbler.” The pupa lives in the water but stops eating. A fully developed adult mosquito emerges 2 to 7 days later.
  • Adult: The adult mosquito emerges onto the water’s surface and, once dry, flies away to begin a new cycle.

What Attracts Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are attracted to various things, including smells, heat, clothing, and even blood type. Understanding what attracts mosquitoes can help reduce the risk of being bitten.

  • Sweet smells: Mosquitoes are attracted to perfumes, scented lotions, floral fragrances, and sweet-smelling drinks like beer and soda.
  • Lactic acid: Our bodies release lactic acid when we sweat, and the smell of it draws mosquitoes.
  • Carbon dioxide: Humans and animals exhale carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes.
  • Heat and movement: Moving around signals to mosquitoes a possible meal, and they often gravitate toward people emitting a lot of body heat.
  • Clothing colors: Your favorite outfit may be the culprit if you get swarmed. Mosquitoes can see dark and contrasting colors the best.
  • Blood type: A research study conducted in 2004 has shown mosquitoes prefer people with Type O blood type.

Prevent Mosquito Bites

doctor examining the bite of a mosquito
Photo Credit: Alona Siniehina / Canva Pro / License

Mosquitoes are known to transmit diseases that pose a global threat to both people and pets. Some common mosquito-borne illnesses include West Nile virus, malaria, and Zika virus. Mosquito bites in dogs have a high risk of contracting heartworms, which can be fatal if left untreated. Protect yourself and your furry friends with the following tips:

  • Avoid peak hours: Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn. You and your pet should stay inside during these times. If you need to be outside, wear appropriate clothing and use a repellent.
  • Choose protective clothing: To avoid mosquito bites, wear light-colored clothes that cover your skin, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants. Mosquitoes can bite through loosely woven cloth and tight-fitting clothes.
  • Use mosquito repellents: Apply repellents to any exposed skin and opt for a product with DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 to prevent mosquito bites. Use a pet-safe spray or a mosquito-repelling collar to protect your furry friends.
  • Hang mosquito nets: Create screened-in spaces by using mosquito nets. Make sure there are no holes and it securely covers the area. They work for patios, sleeping areas, and mosquito control while camping.
  • Check your screens: To keep mosquitoes out of your home, install screens on doors and windows. Make sure to replace and repair any damaged screens before mosquito season in your area.
  • Call your vet: Ensure your pet receives regular heartworm preventative or gets tested to begin treatment. Protect your feline friends and your pups to save yourself the heartbreak later.

Mosquito Control Methods on Your Property

graphic for How to Control Mosquito Populations vertical
Photo Credit: Juan Rodriguez

“The best defense is a good offense.” The best way to protect yourself and your family is to control the mosquito population and prevent them from developing before they can bite. Here are some steps you can take to prevent mosquito breeding in your yard:

  • Eliminate breeding sites: Remove stagnant water from your yard by emptying objects like buckets and flower pots. Clean your gutters to prevent build-up, and cover wells or cisterns to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
  • Maintain your landscape: Mosquitoes hide from the sun in tall grass and overgrown vegetation. To reduce places where mosquitoes live, regularly trim bushes, trees, and your lawn.
  • Change the water: Clean and change the water in outdoor pet bowls and kiddie pools at least once a week to prevent larvae from growing.
  • Use larvicides: To keep mosquitoes out of rain barrels and ponds, use Mosquito Dunks or a similar product to kill the larvae.
  • Setup mosquito traps: You can find mosquito traps at most garden supply stores or make simple DIY mosquito traps.
  • Treat your yard: Consider using mosquito yard foggers, sprays or hiring a professional mosquito control company to treat the ones in your yard.  Use caution when using foggers and mosquito yard sprays, as they can harm beneficial insects.

FAQ: About Mosquitoes

Which are the Most Common Types of Mosquitoes in the U.S.?

Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes are the most common mosquitoes in the U.S. that spread germs. There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes worldwide, but in the continental United States and its territories, there are only about 200 species. These three are the ones you’ll hear about most often:

Aedes aegypti: This species, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, transmits Zika virus, dengue fever, yellow fever, and chikungunya virus.
Aedes albopictus: The Asian tiger mosquito transmits diseases including dengue fever, Zika virus, and chikungunya virus
Anopheles stephensi: A species of mosquito notorious for spreading malaria.
Culex pipiens: This mosquito species transmits West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis.

How Fast Can Mosquitoes Fly?

Mosquitoes fly between 1 to 1.5 miles per hour, depending on the species.

Why Do Mosquitoes Drink Blood?

Female mosquitoes use the protein found in blood to develop their eggs. Males don’t bite humans or animals and, therefore, don’t drink blood. Most mosquitoes eat nectar and other sugary substances just like honeybees and other pollinators.

When to Call a Pro

Mosquitoes are irritating insects most active during twilight hours around dawn and dusk. Knowing their behavior, life cycle, and the factors that attract them can lower the risk of contracting diseases from their bites. Contact Pest Gnome to connect you to the best pest control experts in your area.

Main Image Credit:

Egor Kamelev / Canva Pro / License
mrfiza / Canva Pro / License with Text overlay using Canva Pro

Raven Wisdom

Raven Wisdom is a writer with a passion for pest control, gardening, sustainable living, and making a positive impact in the world. When she's not defending her garden from critters in the wilds of West Texas, Raven can be found writing, wrangling two kids in a neurodivergent family, and supporting her local animal rescues.