Local Mosquito Species
North Dakota has at least 43 species of mosquitoes. Of these 43, seven are of primary concern to Wahpeton Vector Control. These are: Aedes vexans, Coquillettidia perturbans, Culex pipiens, Culex restuans, Culex tarsalis, Culiseta inornata, and Ochlerotatus dorsalis.
Aedes vexans, is an aggressive biter and our most common floodwater species in Wahpeton. This mosquito has the potential to fly several miles. It can be a major nuisance problem throughout the season. Eggs are laid on the ground above the waterline and hatch when flooding occurs. Adults are vicious biters and are especially annoying at dusk and after dark. This species has not positively been identified as a high risk vector for humans, but it has been implicated as a secondary vector of dog heartworm. They overwinter in the egg stage.
Coquillettidia perturbans, also known as the cattail mosquito, is a mosquito that is often associated with aquatic habitats containing cattails. It has tested positive for WNV in the United States. It commonly takes blood meals from both bird and mammal species (including humans). This is a one generation mosquito that usually hatches out in early July. This mosquito over-winters in the larvae stage.
Culex pipiens, can be found in a fairly wide range of larval habitats but are generally associated with water that has a high organic content. The species utilizes temporary ground water that ranges from mildly to grossly polluted. The species also deposits its eggs in artificial containers including tin cans, tires and any refuse that allows stagnant water to puddle. The species is decidedly urban and reaches greatest numbers in large urban centers. Catch basins and storm drains provide ideal habitat for this species. They are important vectors capable of amplifying WNV in the bird population. They are only active at night, readily attracted to lights and commonly enter houses. This species overwinters as an adult.
Culex restuans, is found in similar breeding habitat as the Cx. pipiens. It is a night time biter that feeds primarily on birds. Laboratory trials show them to be moderately competent WNV vectors. They are important vectors capable of amplifying WNV in the bird population. They overwinter as an adult.
Culex tarsalis, develops rapidly and produces multiple generations. In the hot summer season, egg to adult development occurs in as few as four to ten days. A female can lay six or seven times, with some 300 eggs in a batch. Without control efforts, local populations can reach large numbers in a short time. This mosquito breeds in nearly every freshwater source except tree holes. Culex tarsalis is the most efficient vector of mosquito-borne disease in North Dakota and is the primary vector of West Nile virus. They overwinter as an adult.
Culiseta inornata, Very large brown mosquito. Larval habitat includes ground pools, brackish ditches, and artificial containers. Occasionally bites humans, but not persistent biters. Eggs laid in rafts on water surface. Female overwinters as an adult.
Ochlerotatus dorsalis, common floodwater mosquito and present most of the summer. This species has the ability to migrate many miles in search of hosts, mates and/or oviposition sites. Females are aggressive human biters. Their preferred hosts are large mammals, especially domestic animals and humans, but they will also feed on large birds. They overwinter in the egg stage.