Scott, Walter E. (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Vol. 3, No. 4 (Fall 1956)
Dicke, Robert J.
Pest mosquitoes in Wisconsin, pp. 150-153
"wiggler" stage. And many species do not prefer man as a blood host at all, or do not migrate beyond heavily wooded areas. All of them are interesting to the biologist. Some species have become adapted to peculiar and restricted breeding habitats. The larvae of Wyeomyia smithii, for example, are found only in the water contained in a pitcher plant, and three other species breed only in rain water accumulated in tree holes. One species, the voraciously biting Mansonia perturbans, attaches to the submerged stems of cattails during the larval stage, obtaining its oxygen for respiration from the pithy cavities of this aquatic plant. Under the microscope, some of the mosquitoes are even beautiful such as the handsomely pale scaled Aedes dorsalis or the irridescent Uranotaenia sapphirina. Only a relatively few species such as Aedes vexans or Aedes trivittatus have brought ill repute to our Wisconsin fauna of Culicidae. These are the persistent biters which attack man and migrate into our residential or recreational areas. They are not vectors of disease, but as pests have become an important economic problem throughout the state. Since World War II, many excellent insecticides such as DDT have been developed for their control, and we have avail- able for the application of these chemicals high pressure mechanized sprayers and foggers and even aircraft. However, before we can effectively and economically control these pests, we must have a thorough knowledge of mosquito habits. Our control programs have failed not because of ineffective chemical and application tools, but because control opera- tors frequently do not know how to use these tools effect- ively and safely. The first three stages in the development of a mos- quito are aquatic. Eggs are deposited in water or on soil which will eventually be flooded by water. The larvae, or "wigglers,"l and pupae (or intermediate stage between larvae and flying adults) must have free water for complete development. Mosquitoes never breed in dry land fields (only the winged adults hide in the grass cover of these fields during the day), leaf mold or mud. Although mos- quito larvae may be found breeding in nearly all collect- ions of stagnant water, our pest species like Aedes vexans breed almost entirely in temporary situations. Ponds, flooded fields, and small inconspicuous pot holes that fill with water following heavy rains and persist for only a few weeks before drying completely are the major breed- ing sites for our migratory pest mosquitoes. It is import- ant to know that mosquitoes can complete their immature development in 10 days or less during the warm summer months. Lakes, river, or cattail and sedge marshes and other permanent bodies of water are usually not serious breeding sites for pest species. I 151 Fasll. 1 956A
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