Most people think of mosquitoes and annoying blood suckers, but is that all they eat? This post covers more about the question, “what do mosquitoes eat?” along with some facts you might not know about mosquitoes.
Did you know male and female mosquitoes have different diets?
For how annoying mosquitoes can be during the summer, you might think that the only thing the mosquito eats is blood, but in reality they eat other things as well. When it comes to what mosquitoes do eat, it actually varies if they are male or female.
Did you know that every time you are slapping a pesky mosquito for biting you, you are really only being bitten by the females of the species? Mosquitoes only require large quantities of protein when they are breeding and need to lay eggs, this means it’s only the females that require meals of blood.
Mosquitoes feed on a variety of sources for blood and don’t limit themselves to just humans. They have been known to feed on humans, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and even birds. For the most part mosquitoes will choose the source that’s most convenient.
How mosquitoes choose what to eat
Unfortunately for humans, we usually provide a good target and show up on a mosquitoes radar quite easily. Some determining factors for mosquitoes on what to feed on is their prey’s proximity, their ability to escape, smell, and how much carbon dioxide they emit.
Typically humans tend to live near or even create optimal mosquito breeding grounds and make themselves easy targets. Mosquitoes like to live and breed in open, stagnant water sources.
This could be a variety of places such as, ponds, pools, water dishes for pets, standing water in yards, lakes, and more. In addition to living near and creating homes for mosquitoes, humans also fit a lot of their other feeding criteria as well.
Humans release a lot of carbon dioxide compared to other smaller creatures like birds, rodents, frogs, etc. Humans also tend to be slow moving creatures compared to other sources of prey. To demonstrate this, go for a jog through some thickly wooded trails. Once you are deep into mosquito territory, note how few bites you have. At this point, slow to a walk and you should notice a thick cloud of mosquitoes gather around you ready to feed. You will want to take off at a run at this point to leave them behind, but it shows that mosquitoes have adapted well to speeds similar to a walking human but not much faster than that.
Generally humans are spending outdoor time as leisure time and aren’t in any rush to get away from the mosquitoes, making you an easy target. Humans also have a distinct smell that separates them from other prey, which can attract mosquitoes as well.
Beyond blood, what do mosquitoes eat?
Both male and female mosquitoes have one thing in common with most insects, and that is a primary food source for them is sugar. Male mosquitoes and female mosquitoes feed on nectar from plants.
Each species of mosquito has its own preference to what kind of plant nectar they feed off of. In addition to that, there is a difference in anatomy between male and female mosquitoes that help them eat their preferred meals.
Both male and female mosquitoes have what is called a proboscis, which is almost like a modified straw mouthpiece. The female mosquitoes proboscis is better suited to draw blood than the male’s are and are more sharp.
Overall if you want to have fewer mosquitoes biting you this summer, clean up any standing water around your home, have your pools properly treated, and you can also have a pest control service treat for mosquitoes around your home to reduce their numbers.
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