Mosquitoes of the Florida Keys

Monroe County has a sub-tropical environment and is home to approximately 46 species of mosquitoes. Listed below are the most common mosquitoes and the ones that are both a nuisance and health threat to humans.

County residents are encouraged to contact the Florida Keys Mosquito Control if they are experiencing mosquito nuisance. Please click to place a service request.

Black Salt Marsh Mosquito

The Black Salt Marsh Mosquito (Aedes taeniorhynchus) is the most common mosquito in the Florida Keys. This mosquito is an aggressive biter that creates havoc during outdoor activities, especially at dawn and dusk. The Black Salt Marsh mosquito is a migrating mosquito that is often seen moving into the Florida Keys from the Everglades during “blow-ins”, as well as from uninhabited offshore islands.

Black Salt Marsh mosquito larvae are found in fresh and brackish water pools near salt marshes. The adults are fierce biters and strong fliers. These mosquitoes are controlled mainly by aerial adulticiding and larviciding.

Aedes aegypti

Aedes aegypti, commonly called the Dengue or Yellow Fever Mosquito, is the most common container breeding mosquito in the Florida Keys (especially in Key West).

Commonly associated with people and homes, the Aedes aegypti is found breeding in artificial containers like trash cans, flower pots, buckets, coolers, children’s toys, birdbaths, etc. The best way to eliminate this mosquito is to dump water around your home and eliminate places for water to collect after a rain event.

This mosquito is a vector for several diseases such as Zika, Denuge, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever and many others.

Southern House Mosquito

Culex quinquefasciatus, commonly known as the Southern House Mosquito, is a medium-sized brown mosquito that is found in the southern United States and is present in the Florida Keys.

This nighttime-active, opportunistic blood feeder is a vector of many of pathogens, several of which affect humans. Throughout much of the southern U.S., Cx. quinquefasciatus is the primary vector of St. Louis Encephalitis virus (SLEv) and can transmit West Nile virus.

These mosquitoes are a container breeder and can be found anywhere from storm drains to tire piles.

Mosquito Biology

All mosquitoes require standing water or moist soil to breed, but the type of water they prefer depends on the species. Some prefer containers, such as tires, tree holes, buckets, and water troughs. Others prefer water with lots of organic material (leaves, grass) that is very stagnant. Still others breed primarily in swamps and marshes, some fresh water, and some salt water.

Female mosquitoes bite humans and/or animals, using the blood as a protein source to develop her eggs. The eggs are laid in or near water, hatch (some require flooding while others hatch immediately), and begin larval and pupal development. Development from egg to adult can be completed in as little as 6-7 days in the summer.

The egg to larva to pupa to adult life cycle of the mosquito is called complete metamorphosis and is similar to the life cycle of a butterfly.

Some species will bite almost any type of animal, while others are very specific. Different species vary in their preferred time to feed, but many feed during dawn or dusk.