Mosquito season usually starts in the spring when temperatures outside reach 50°F, and it lasts throughout the summer and fall.
But here’s a bit of good news for homeowners with backyard mosquito problems: Mosquitoes aren’t active ALL the time.
Like the waves of an ocean, the presence of mosquitoes ebbs and flows throughout the day. Knowing when mosquitoes come out and when they go back into hiding might help you and your family enjoy quality time outdoors while avoiding those dreaded bites.
When Do Mosquitoes Come Out?
Generally speaking, mosquitoes are most active around sunrise and sunset. They rarely come out during the middle of the day when the sun is out, since direct sunlight and high midday temperatures can quickly dehydrate them.
But don’t think of this as an absolute rule—the exact times of day that mosquitoes come out may vary depending on:
In terms of weather, mosquitoes tend to avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. That means you’re less likely to see them around noon on bright sunny days. But on cloudy days, all bets are off.
Temperature is another important factor. The ideal temperature range for mosquitoes is between 64–93 °F (18–34 °C), with peak activity occurring around 80 °F. Depending on the month and where you live, that ideal range might fall on different hours of the day.
The times when mosquitoes are most active can also vary depending on their species (although you might see some overlap if your home has been taken over by different kinds of mosquitoes).
In New York, the most common species of mosquitoes belong to the genera Culex and Aedes. Culex mosquitoes are the primary vector for West Nile virus, while Aedes mosquitoes can transmit dengue, yellow fever, and Zika virus.
Other genera of mosquitoes, such as Anopheles, can also be found in New York City, but they are far less prevalent than Culex and Aedes.
Culex is a genus of permanent water mosquitoes that includes Culex pipiens (the northern house mosquito). This is the most prevalent species of mosquitoes in the urban and suburban areas of New York City.
Culex mosquitoes are night-time biters that are most active from dusk to dawn. During peak mosquito season in NYC, they’re most active outdoors between 8:00pm to 6:00am.
During the day, these mosquitoes hide in shady areas like the undersides of leaves and shrubbery, inside sheds, or beneath yard clutter. They come out in evening after the sun sets, and they’re active throughout the entire night and into the early morning right before the sun rises.
Aedes is a genus of floodwater mosquitoes known for being aggressive and painful biters. The notable species in New York include Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito), Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes sollicitans (the eastern salt marsh mosquito).
Aedes mosquitoes are crepuscular insects, often referred to as “dusk and dawn biters.” These mosquitoes come out in the morning during the twilight before sunrise and disappear once the sun is high in the sky. They’ll come out again to feed once more in the evening around sunset.
During peak mosquito season in NYC, they’re most active outdoors from 5:00am to 7:00am and from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Aedes mosquitoes are also active throughout the day, especially when they’re indoors or in shady areas, or when the weather is cloudy.
Anopheles is another genus of permanent water mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are the primary vector for malaria and are relatively more common in the southeastern United States.
Depending on the exact species, some of these mosquitoes are crepuscular (active mostly at dusk and dawn) while others are nocturnal (active throughout the night).
If you have Anopheles mosquitoes on your property, their peak biting hours are usually pretty close to that of Culex mosquitoes.
The Best Time(s) of Day to Avoid Mosquitoes Outdoors
In general, the best time for outdoor activities during mosquito season is during the middle of the day, especially when it’s bright and sunny.
You can avoid getting bitten by limiting the time you spend outside in the early mornings and late evenings (around sunrise and sunset).
Other times and places when mosquitoes are generally less active:
- Whenever there’s wind (mosquitoes aren’t strong flyers)
- Places with a lot of direct sunlight and not much shade
- Areas away from dense vegetation and standing water
How to Keep Mosquitoes off Your Property
There are many do-it-yourself solutions to kill or repel mosquitoes, which we’ll cover in another article. But if you’re sick of getting bitten in your own backyard, consider getting a professional mosquito spraying service.
Mosquito control professionals, like the ones here at MMPC, have access to effective and eco-friendly mosquito sprays, the latest equipment, and the expert know-how to use them specifically in targeted areas where mosquitoes are most likely to hide.
If you own a home in New York City, contact MMPC today to inquire about our effective and affordable mosquito treatment programs.