By: Alex Dunman
Mosquito larvae, also known as “wigglers”, are the second stage of mosquito life. Let’s learn about how to kill mosquito larvae.
I’m sure we all know the mosquito very well. From ruining picnics and bonfires, to causing those itchy bumps we all hate, the mosquito species has a bad reputation with us humans. We make sprays, candles, tiki-torches, and countless other devices to keep them away from us. Mosquitoes are dangerous as well. They can spread malaria with just a simple bite.
What are mosquito larvae?
First things first, did you know that mosquitoes start their lives underwater? You may be thinking, “I thought mosquitoes lived on land.” However, such is only true for the adult mosquito. While in the water, according to the AMCA, the mosquito larvae swim around using a wiggling technique, giving them the nickname “wigglers.” The wigglers eat algae, plankton, fungi and bacteria. However, some larvae eat other larvae in order to survive Despite living in the water, these creatures need oxygen, like us. To achieve this, the larvae swim up near the surface and stick their siphons out of the water and breathe. This process is kind of like breathing from a snorkel. Like a snake, the wigglers molt (shed) their skin during the life in the water. When it is born, the mosquito larvae stay in the water for up to two weeks, and continue to live in the water during the pupa stage. When a wiggler molts, it enters a new instar. When the fourth instar sheds, the larvae become a pupa.
Where are they?
According to the University of Pennsylvania State, the mosquito larvae, or “wigglers” can be found in many places throughout your home. These places include your faucets, swimming pool, or even your birdbath. These little pests can live in any small reserve of water. From puddles to lakes, these things live everywhere. This can cause some issues.
Why is it dangerous?
Just as the bites from the adults can be dangerous, drinking from the water that the larvae live in can be also. The AMCA states that the mosquito larvae eat algae and therefore can spread the disease if the water is drunk from. Imagine drinking a cup of algae. That is what you are initially doing when you drink mosquito-infested water. However, you can prevent such infestations.
Keeping them out
The first thing that you want to do is keep them out prior to infestations. Penn State University recommends these tactics: Firstly, if you have extra tires that are not in use, get rid of them. Water can store in the “trenches” of the inside of the tire. Objects like wheelbarrows and buckets should be stored upside down so that water cannot sit in the bottom of the container. Your drainpipes should be set up so that all of the water can empty completely. Lastly, Penn State recommends not having a pool unless completely necessary. The water is clean until one day you forget to clean it and then all of the sudden you have algae water. And I think everyone knows how gross it is to swim in an unclean pool.
How To Kill Mosquito Larvae
Now, you may want to rid your home of mosquito larvae before they affect your family. A hormone called Methoprene, found in Prestrike and Altosid, is known to stop the growth of mosquitoes and kill them off, according to the University of Penn State. You can spray or rub this anywhere in your house. Another method is to cut a 2-liter in half and put 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and 1 gram of yeast in the bottom and put the top upside down in it. The sugar will attract the mosquitoes and when they fly in, they won’t be able to get out and they will die from the yeast.