Gnats and mosquitoes

( Latin: Family Culicidae )

These insects usually spend their whole lives outdoors, but some enter houses in autumn to spend the winter.

They may also come in through open windows during summer and if this causes a serious problem, as it does in the tropics, it may be necessary to fit mosquito netting or at least to treat the curtains with an insect deterrent. As a rule the female must have a blood meal before she can lay eggs, and after mating she will go in search of a mammal, human or otherwise, or a bird. Gnats and mosquitoes are most active around sunset or in the early morning, when the air is usually still and humid. They spend the greater part of the day resting in dense undergrowth.

When the female has had an opportunity to engorge with blood, her eggs start to ripen and she then searches for a suitable place in which to lay them.. Mosquitoes in the genus Aedes lay their eggs in damp hollows which become filled with water in spring, whereas the malaria mosquito and the gnats lay their eggs directly on the surface of the water.

In all these insects the larval and pupal stages are spent in the water.