Mosquitoes (or mosquitos) are approximately 3,600 species of small flies comprising the family Culicidae (from the Latin culex meaning “gnat”).[1] The word “mosquito” (formed by mosca and diminutive -ito)[2] is Spanish for “little fly”.[3][4] Mosquitoes have a slender segmented body, one pair of wings, one pair of halteres, three pairs of long hair-like legs, and elongated mouthparts.

The mosquito life cycle consists of egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. Eggs are laid on the water surface; they hatch into motile larvae that feed on aquatic algae and organic material. These larvae are important food sources for many freshwater animals, such as dragonfly nymphs, many fish, and some birds such as ducks.[5] The adult females of most species have tube-like mouthparts (called a proboscis) that can pierce the skin of a host and feed on blood, which contains protein and iron needed to produce eggs. Thousands of mosquito species feed on the blood of various hosts ⁠— vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and some fish; along with some invertebrates, primarily other arthropods.

Mosquitoeses can live in almost any environment, with the exception of extreme cold weather. They favor forests, marshes, tall grasses and weeds, and ground that is wet at least part of the year. Culex and Anopheles mosquitoeses are among the most common permanent water mosquitoeses. Many permanent water mosquitoeses can also breed in containers that collect and hold water, such as wading pools, buckets or toys left outside.

Mosquitoeses carry diseases that afflict humans and they also can transmit several diseases and parasites that dogs and horses are very susceptible to. These include dog heart worms, eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus.

An important part of mosquitoes control around homes is making sure that mosquitoeses don’t have a place to lay their eggs. Because mosquitoeses need water for two stages of their life cycle, it’s important to monitor standing water sources. Aedes mosquitoeses frequently bite indoors, using structural barriers is an important way to reduce the incidence of bites.

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