I love running around the Rocky Mountains, jumping over logs, chasing squirrels, and drinking out of a mountain stream or just sitting in one to cool off on a hot day. In a lot of ways it feels like paradise since it is so much fun.
Unfortunately, there are a few things that can make a day in the Rocky Mountains a little bit less than perfect. The weather could suddenly turn bad with rain, thunder, or even snow. Or there could be biting flies around or even tons of mosquitoes. Anytime in the summer that you go up to the mountains you are risking running into these problems. But, in the winter, you don’t have to worry about the bugs and mosquitoes.
Do you know where the mosquitoes are in the winter? I know they are not simply all dead because once the snow melts in the spring they are back again. But, where are they hiding when the world is covered in snow?
There are many different kinds of mosquitoes and they have different strategies to survive the winter months. Many kinds of mosquitoes live through the winter as adults. In the fall time the males and females mate. After mating, the males die so, it is only the females that are alive during the winter. They are not active and are not flying around at all. Instead they are hiding in protected places, such as inside of hollow logs or in animal burrows.
Then in the springtime when the days are warm the Moms come out of their hiding places and need to find a blood meal in order to develop her eggs. That is why the mosquitoes are so bad in the spring time when you are in the mountains – they are looking to bite you and get your blood so that they can grow their babies.
Another strategy that mosquitos have to survive winter is to lay eggs in the fall, which then survive the winter. In the spring the eggs hatch and the new mosquitoes are born.
One final strategy is for the mosquitoes to survive winter in the larval form, this is the form in their lifecycle between when they are born and their adult form. Mosquitoes larvae need water in order to live, even in winter. In winter, the larvae go into diapause, which is like hibernation. During diapause the larvae don’t develop and they are resting. They stay in this resting state until spring when the temperatures are warmer.
To answer our question – the mosquitoes are still out there all winter long, but they are simply hiding and waiting to come out for the springtime when the days get longer and the temperature gets much warmer.