The number and variety of mosquitoes in the UK have been steadily rising over the last few decades. There are currently 34 species of mosquitoes native to the British Isles, many of which will bite people and all of which cause a nuisance. Climate change is driving more mosquitoes and other insects into environments that would previously have been inhospitable to them, so we will likely see more mosquito species in the future.
The most common mosquito species in the UK is culiseta annulata. Part of the reason this species has become so common is that it breeds in various locations and will lay its eggs in just about any water body it can find, regardless of how clean or polluted the water is.It doesn’t matter whether the body is natural and artificial or whether these bodies are directly exposed to sunlight or hidden in the shade. Female culiseta annulata mosquitoes lay their eggs in ponds, ditches, marshes, cisterns, and garden water features.
The most notorious type of mosquito is the malaria mosquito. These insects have killed more people than any other animal on Earth, thanks to their ability to transmit malaria between people. Fortunately, this mosquito species isn’t found in the UK. Nor is the aedes aegypti, or yellow fever mosquito, which spreads yellow fever, another deadly disease.
There are several small biting insects in the UK that are often mistaken for mosquitoes. For example, the biting midge is found in similar habitats to mosquitoes and also feeds on mammal blood. However, midges are a type of fly, not mosquitoes. The crane fly, commonly known as ‘daddy long-legs’, is sometimes incorrectly identified as mosquitoes. There is also a persistent myth that they are incredibly venomous, but this isn’t true either.