From Monterey County Weekly
September 11, 2019
At first glance, it appears as if Vince Sanchez is looking at a cup of water with a floating clump of dirt inside. It’s only through a microscope that the particles – some 200 eggs – come into focus.
These eggs will hatch within a few days into larvae, wiggly spindles barely large enough to see with the naked eye. They’ll live at the surface of a pool of water for several days, shedding their skin four times before molting and changing into a pupa. It’s here that an insect grows before splitting open the pupa casing, emerging as an adult.
It’s a metamorphosis story, but not for a beautiful animal. It’s the life cycle of a mosquito to adulthood, and adults will eat nectar from flowers. It’s only the females that bite, sucking blood for protein to use for their eggs to repeat the whole cycle again.
In hot Central Valley summers, the whole process, from egg to adult, happens in as little as four days; in Monterey County, it’s generally closer to two weeks. Keeping them cold can slow the process down to two months, so Sanchez – the public education coordinator for the Northern Salinas Valley Mosquito Abatement District – keeps a refrigerator of large Tupperware containers of water, where he’s cooling and slowing the life cycle. The larvae make for good educational props.