Where Mosquitoes Live

Mosquitoes live in most parts of the world, including the United States and US territories.

Habitats

Some mosquitoes like living near people, while others prefer forests, marshes, or tall grasses. All mosquitoes like water because mosquito larvae and pupae live in the water with little or no flow.

Different types of water attract different types of mosquitoes.

  • Permanent water mosquitoes: These mosquitoes tend to lay their eggs in permanent-to-semi-permanent bodies of water.
    • Some mosquitoes prefer clean water, while others like nutrient-rich waters.
    • Some mosquitoes lay eggs near the edges of lakes and ponds, or among plants in swamps and marshes, or in containers that hold water.
  • Floodwater mosquitoes: These mosquitoes lay their eggs in moist soil or in containers above the water line. The eggs dry out, then hatch when rain floods the soil or container. Floodwater habitats include:
    • Temporary pools and ponds created by melting snow or rain
    • Floodplains along stream and river banks
    • Irrigated fields and meadows
    • Containers that hold water and fill up after a rain shower
    • Tree holes that collect rainwater

Surveillance

Mosquito control professional checking a mosquito trap.

Mosquito experts conduct surveillance or monitoring to understand what types and numbers of mosquitoes are in an area. They use this information to identify nuisance and germ-spreading mosquitoes in an area. Knowing where mosquitoes live helps professionals to:

  • Set up traps for collecting mosquito eggs and adult mosquitoes. Some traps collect female mosquitoes ready to lay eggs, and other traps collect all adult mosquitoes in an area. Professionals sort and identify the mosquitoes to gain a better understanding of local mosquito populations. Some mosquitoes are tested to see if they are infected with germs.
  • Use proper techniques for collecting mosquito larvae.
  • Determine which mosquito control methods will be effective in an area.
  • Develop mosquito control plans.
Mosquito control professional collecting mosquito larvae.

Professionals around the United States report data to CDC’s national surveillance systems, ArboNET and MosquitoNET. These surveillance systems help states and CDC track recent disease activity in an area, types and numbers of mosquitoes, and other information important to public health officials.

  • ArboNET: State and local health departments report data on human and animal disease cases and on infections in blood donors, mosquitoes, dead birds, and other animals used for monitoring purposes to ArboNET. The data are posted to the ArboNET Disease Maps website.
  • MosquitoNET: Public health and mosquito control professionals report data on the types and numbers of mosquitoes in their state and on insecticide resistance testing to MosquitoNET. Data is being used to better understand the types of mosquitoes living in the United States and how they respond to insecticides.