Currently viewing the category: "Mosquito"

My Mosquito Project
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
September 15, 2011 10:47 pm
Hey Bugman,
As we share a love for bugs and everything creepy crawly, I figured I’d share some of the photos I’ve taken during my Mosquito growing project. Our pool had become like a pond, and there were 1000’s of mosquito larvae swimming about. After learning about their process, I became so interested, I wanted to watch the whole thing, so I scooped some up, along with some algae and other things for them to eat in a jar and am having a LOT of fun watching this. I lost 90% of them when the cold snap hit, but the ones I have left are troopers and I actually have a few eggs left and a new one just hatched today, so here’s hoping 😉
Signature: Amanda Gorman

Mosquito Larvae

Hi Amanda,
Thanks so much for sending us your photos.  Do you release the adults?  Are you feeding the adults warm blood?  We are positively intrigued by your Mosquito Project, but we cannot imagine your neighbors are terribly amused.

Mosquito Pupa

Hey Daniel,
I’m glad you guys liked my pictures. I’m actually not doing anything SPECIAL with the mosquito larvae. I had so much fun watching them in the pool, so I learned about them. Then, once I learned about the process, I wanted to watch the whole thing, so I literally just rinsed out a jar and scooped water out of the pool and those were the lives I got. Mostly larvae, a few pupae, and some eggs!!! I put fresh plant life in the jar to create oxygen, and I add a fresh leaf here and there for fresh oxygen. BUT I scooped out a wad of algae from the bottom of the pool so they had a good start on food, and then the jar sits in the sun, so it grows new algae every day. On cloudy days, I add just a little algae from the pool. As far as adults, like I said, it’s just a jar outside, so I’m just letting nature take it’s course. They will fly away when they are ready. I started this last Sunday and at the time between pupae, larvae, and newly hatched eggs (NEARLY microscopic) I had roughly 50 specimens. Then Tuesday morning we started our cold snap here in MI and I lost 80% of them. It seemed I had 9 strong ones that were troopers. 5 full grown larvae, 2 juvenile larvae from Monday, a TINY larvae that had JUST hatched, and ONE pupa. HOWEVER, it was SUPER cold last night and I lost even MORE. I am down to 5 I think. My pupa is gone too, which sucks….but I have eggs, I just doubt they will hatch in this weather.  I sent you all an identification request about a bug that was living with the mosquito larvae in the pool and skitters along the bottom. When I put some fresh algae in today, i must have picked up two of these guys, b/c now I have THEM living in the jar as well, so I attached 2 pictures of this bug in addition to the one I attached to my original identification request. It’s driving me nuts that I cannot figure out what this creature is.
I am having a lot of health issues so I cannot work right now, so this has been an AMAZING occupation of my mind and time. If nothing else this “project” prolongs their life SOME b/c otherwise they would have just all gone when the water drains out and the pool gets vacuumed.
I apologize this response is so long, it’s just no one else I know likes bugs enough for me to tell all the details to, so I got kinda carried away! 🙂 Thanks for what you guys do!!!

Dragonfly Larva

Hi again Amanda,
Thank you for supplying additional information on the scope of your Mosquito project.  The new insect you submitted is a predatory Dragonfly Naiad, and perhaps it is responsible to the losses in your Mosquito Larvae due to predation.

Thx so much!! It was driving me crazy I didnt know what this bug was. I attriibute a combo of the dragonfly naiad and the cold to losing my little wigglers, but such is the circle of life. Im def gonna do this EARLY next summer!!


Unknown insect
Location: Perth, Western Australia, Australia
August 29, 2011 2:25 am
Dear bugman
I have recently discovered the world of macro photography, particularly insects.
I found this little guy clinging to the leaf of a cordyline in my garden.
I would guess it is approx 20mm in length from head to tail (not including antennae)
If you can also recommend a great resource for me to start learning to identify bugs myself, it would be greatly appreciated.
Signature: Regards, Jon – Carassius Productions

Predatory Mosquito

Dear Jon,
The manner in which this insect holds its legs is very characteristic of a Mosquito.  We believe we might have identified your Mosquito as a Predatory Mosquito, 
Toxorhynchites speciosus, by comparing it to images on the Insects of Brisbane website.  Since female Mosquitoes feed on the blood of other creatures, including humans, we are not entirely certain why this species is called a Predatory Mosquito to distinguish it from other Mosquitoes.  We then learned on the Department of Medical Entomology USYD website, that the larvae are predatory on the larvae of other Mosquitoes.  We also learned:  “Habits & Habitats  Adults are seldom collected as they are not blood-feeders and not attracted to humans; they feed on plant juices and nectar; they are sometimes seen in gardens and occasionally enter houses during warmer months. The larval stages are predacious on other mosquito larvae.  Vector & Pest Status  There is no concern for a pest nuisance as the species does not bite, and thus there is no relation to disease.”  We generally start our online research of Australian insects with the Insects of Brisbane website. 

pics I sent a couple days ago
Location: Strong City, Kansas
July 29, 2011 2:04 pm
Well, whaddya know. I dumped the pool, but had a few specimens in a cup in the house which I had collected so I could photograph them. 2 days later their little skins are floating limp in the water, while 3 sweet little baby mosquitos are on the side of the cup, patiently waiting for someone to open it and set them free. They have white stripes on their legs. As larvae, they looked so different from the mosquito larvae I know that I thought they were something else. Anyway, thanks for all the stuff you do.
Signature: prairiecricket

Tumbler: Mosquito Pupa

Dear prairiecricket,
Mosquito Larvae are frequently called Wrigglers, and the Pupae are called Tumblers because of the manner in which they move through water.  This is a Tumbler or Mosquito Pupa, which may explain why it looks different from the Mosquito Larvae you are familiar with.  Based on your description and location, your Mosquitoes may have been Asian Tiger Mosquitoes,
Aedes albopictus, which you may view on BugGuide.



Location: Mid-Missouri
October 30, 2010 11:50 pm
I finally lucked out. I have been wanting to get a shot of a mosquito for awhile and never can. Maybe it’s just me, but I can not just grab my gear and take a photo while they feed on me. I rarely see them other than getting squished on my arm for being invasive. Anyway, onto this girl (I believe it to be a female based on the antennae…do you agree?), I saw this one hanging out on my son’s outdoor playhouse. Talk about accommodating…. she just sat there while I took multiple shots from different angles. I was even able to do some handheld focus stacking which was very helpful. I was so grateful that I didn’t even squash the potentially highly disease/virus carrying insect when I was done. I just let her go on her way to bite me another day. (for the record….mosquitos are about the only insect that I have no problem with killing due to their feeding habits and virus/disease tendencies)
As for ID. I am at a 100% loss beyond the Family Culicidae (Mosquito). If you could give me any help as to the Genre or even Species…I’d be extremely grateful.
Signature: Nathanael Siders


Hi Nathanael,
We too are at a loss as to the species identification of this Mosquito.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply a conclusive species identification.


Karl does some research
Hi Daniel and Nathanael:
Whenever I see a mosquito with distinctive white markings, particularly the “white knees”, I automatically think of Aedes sp.  My family spent a few years in Papua New Guinea many years ago and we were taught to recognize the key disease carrying types of mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti, which is a vector for dengue fever and yellow fever (this is not A. aegypti, although that introduced species has apparently been recoded in Missouri). The white markings and the pointed abdomen means that this mosquito belongs to one of two genera, Aedes or Psorophora, and based on a number of characteristics I am inclined to go with Aedes. By the way, Nathanael, your photos are really excellent and I am sure that any mosquito expert (and I am not one) would be able to give you a positive ID based on them. Apparently, there have been approximately two dozen Aedes species recorded in Missouri, including both native and introduced species, so I am going out on a limb a little by saying I believe yours is A. japonicus, the non-native Japanese Rock Pool Mosquito. You can access a 2000 paper by McCauley et al. that provides an annotated list of all the mosquitoes of Missouri, although it predates the discovery of A. japonicus in your state.  In addition to the arrangement of white spots on the body and legs, the pattern of stripes on the thorax is quite distinctive. Aedes japonicus, an East Asian species, was first reported in the northeastern USA in 1998 and it has been spreading rapidly ever since; to 29 states and Canada by early 2010. It is a relatively new invasive species and a potential disease vector so there is quite a lot of online information. By the way, the species appears to be undergoing a taxonomic revision as many recent reports use the generic name Ochlerotatus instead of Aedes. I hope this helps.
This is an excellent response and thank you so much for all the info.  I looked on and couldn’t find an ID at all…..they actually don’t even have a section for Aedes japonicfus as well as many other Aedes species found in Missouri that you listed.  I will bookmark your links to use as a reference in the meantime and have contacted about having one of their experts look at the images and consider making a guide page for them.
Thank you again.  I particularly appreciate the background info on the Genera and species.  I’m always interested to know as much about the insects I shoot as possible.
Nathanael Karl

Gallinipper Mosquito
Location:  Kendall County, Illinois
August 16, 2010 12:37 pm
I believe that this is the Psorophora ciliata, or Gallinipper Mosquito. It seems to be an aggressive day biter. I thought you might like the photo. We live in Northern Illinois and this is the first year I have noticed these. We have had a ridiculous amount of rain this year though.
Stacy C


Hi Stacy,
As we just noted in the immediately preceeding posting, we love getting preidentified insects that would be time consuming for us to research.  We are linking to the BugGuide page on the Gallinipper which indicates this “large mosquito” has a diet that includes “Males and females feed on nectar, females said to seek bloodmeals from large mammals. Females bloodfeed day and night and are able to bite through heavy clothing.
”  The Galveston Mosquito Control website indicates:  “It is the largest blood sucking mosquito in the U.S. Commonly referred to as the ‘Shaggy-legged’ Gallinipper. It is easy to identify by its large size and it inflicts a painful bite. Rarely found in large numbers. The larvae are large and are predacious upon other larvae. ”   It is also indicated that adults can fly from one to two miles.

Mosquito Larvae control
August 3, 2010 2:05 pm
I love your website and am a huge insect fan and I know that you are against the kill of insects but I am not sure how you feel about mosquitos. We have storm drains in our backyard to prevent flooding of our yard and basement. we just returned from a trip to Florida and I have noticed there are mosquito larvae in the storm drains in some water in the drains. I am curious, is there a natural way to dispose of the larvae without polluting the water in the storm drains or hurting killing other insects in the area? Would dish detergent added to water then dumped in the drains do the trick or are more drastic measures needed? any info you can provide me with is greatly apprecatiated and please keep up the great work. i try to preach to friends and family not to squish every bug the see but I feel like I am fighting a losing battle
Ryan Hoffman

Mosquito Larvae

Hi Ryan,
Your situation poses some interesting challenges.  In warm weather, Mosquitoes can mature in a very short span of time.  Obviously, draining the water is the ideal solution because without the stagnant water habitat, they will not proliferate.  Mosquito Fish are used as vector control in many places where there are ponds and other bodies of standing water, but your storm drains do not sound like they would be conducive to supporting vertebrate life.  In lieu of not having any natural predators that can eliminate the infestation, we believe your idea to use a mild dish detergent solution should help the situation.  As an aside, we are including a photo we recently took of Mosquito Larvae captured in our bird bath.  We feed them to our freshwater aquarium fish who gobble them up eagerly, but they must be netted at the source for that to be of any benefit.

Host specific Bacteria to target Mosquito Larvae
mosquito dunks…
Hi Daniel,
Just FYI for the person wanting to kill the mosquito larva…there are mosquito dunks that have a host specific bacteria in them (bti) that feeds on the larva of mosquitoes, but not other beneficial insects.  They can be used in ponds as well to keep the mosquito population under control.
From the Valent BioSciences Corp website…
VectoBac®/Bactimos® – VectoBac and Bactimos, naturally occurring larvicides based on Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, control certain pests from the order diptera. Around the world, VectoBac and Bactimos are routinely used to control populations of mosquito and black fly larvae, which are primarily nuisances in the U.S., but also transmit life-threatening diseases like encephalitis, malaria, dengue and onchocerciasis (river blindness) in other parts of the world. VectoBac and Bactimos have the ability to eliminate 95-100% of all black fly and mosquito larvae – quickly and effectively.
VectoBac and Bactimos are Bti larvicides sold by Valent BioSciences Corporation. Biological testing has shown VectoBac and Bactimos to be two of the most ecologically friendly insecticides in use today. These products kill larvae of mosquitoes but do not adversely affect other wildlife or beneficial insects, or more importantly, people or pets.