Called the little fly by the Spanish and Portuguese, the mosquito is one of the most dangerous and annoying of the winged insects. Over 2,500 species of them can be found around the world, and their bites affect millions of people each year, and can cause infectious diseases, such as malaria and West Nile virus. The mosquito is known for being attracted to standing water, and because of this notion, people sometimes fear that common places that gather water, such as an air conditioner, can breed mosquitoes.
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Floodwater mosquitoes lay their eggs in moist soil up to a year in advance, and allow the eggs to get dried out in the ground. When the rains come, the soil becomes wet again, and the eggs hatch into larvae. These are called floodwater mosquitoes because they tend to thrive during torrential floods known to affect the Midwest every year, not to mention the swamps and wetlands in the Southern U.S. An estimated 1.3 million eggs per acre can hatch in a floodwater area.
Standing Water Mosquitoes
The standing water, or "permanent water, mosquitoes lay their eggs directly on the water, and they cannot become dry or they will not hatch. The female mosquito will lay her eggs on the water, and by the next day they will have hatched into larvae. The water is essential to the life cycle of the permanent water mosquito from larvae, through the pupa to the adult stages. For this reason, you'll mostly find these types of mosquitoes near lakes, and large rivers and streams, which aren't at risk of drying out.
Air conditioners tend to build up a lot of standing water. Most room air conditioners are designed in such a way that they hold excessive amounts of water in little drains that can be found either outside of a window, or inside the unit itself. The fan inside the unit has what is called a slinger ring fastened around it that operates inside the water. This ring dips into the water and splashes it onto the condenser coil on the outside to cool.
Mosquitoes and Air Conditioners
Mosquitoes tend to be much more active in hot, humid places, but that isn't to say they wouldn't feel right at home in a cool air conditioner. But mosquitoes won't necessarily live in these places. The goal is simply to lay eggs and grow them into larvae. A female mosquito will seek out drains and residue pans on air conditioners in order to do this. Mosquitoes can also come through the vents of air conditioners and inside your house. To combat this issue, make sure your air conditioner's drain is free of water as often as possible, if on the outside. Condensation can also cause puddles inside the house as well, and attract the insects. As long as you keep the drains clear, and check for drips now and then, you should be fine.