What do Mosquitoes Eat?

We know that mosquitoes enjoy sucking human blood. However, human blood is not their primary diet. In fact, only a few species of female mosquitoes suck human blood. Male mosquitoes lack the necessary mouthparts for piercing skin and accessing human blood vessels. Hence, they cannot suck blood. So, what do mosquitoes eat? Read on and discover their primary diet as well as other interesting facts about the insects.

What do Mosquitoes Eat?

All mosquitoes feed on sweet nectar and sugary dew found in plants. The sugar provides enough energy for mosquitoes to fly back and forth. Mosquitoes feed on different flowers depending on the season. They eat and drink nectar from all flowers in the wild. Flowers that mosquitoes feed on include poppies, mint, goldenrod, roses, bluebells, rosemary, sedums, sunflowers, and common yarrows.

Female Mosquitoes Also Eat Blood of Mammals

What do mosquitoes eat other than flowers? Blood. Female mosquitoes nurture their eggs by providing protein to baby mosquitoes, which is absent in sugars. Hence they have to suck blood of mammals to find the protein.

  • It is easier for them to suck human blood because we are, in most cases, preoccupied with other activities and also because we expose a large surface and have thinner skin than other mammals. Mosquitoes bite and then inject some chemicals that numb the area before sucking enough blood for their young ones.
  • Mosquitoes also find protein in the blood of cats, cows, birds, dogs and some reptiles.

Female Mosquitoes Survive the Winter with the Blood They Eat

Usually only female mosquitoes can survive the winter while the males die. Females can handle extremely cold temperatures during hibernation because they eat extra protein. Female mosquitoes change their genes when UV rays from the sun reduce and days become shorter in cold seasons. They digest less protein and store more sugars that produce fats. These changes enable mosquitoes to survive winter and reproduce during spring.

Do All Female Mosquito Species Suck Human Blood?

Although female mosquitoes require protein from blood to produce eggs, some species of females use carbohydrates instead of protein to produce their eggs. In addition, some species prefer blood from other animals and will not bite humans when those animals are around. The preferred animals are their primary sources of food. Mosquitoes suck blood from reptiles, animals, humans, and amphibians. However, some prefer specific animals. Some will look for livestock, frogs, or birds before sucking human blood.

What do Baby Mosquitoes Eat?

What do mosquitoes eat? Flowers and blood of mammals. But what do baby mosquitoes feed on? Baby mosquitoes live underwater and live off the microorganisms in their environment. Their mouths are specifically designed to suck in tiny swimmers including living bacteria and they digest them fast.

Other Mosquito Facts You Should Know

1. Mosquitoes Fly at 1-1.5 Miles per Hour

Although this speed sounds fast, mosquitoes are considered slow insects. They are slower than most flying insects. Honey bees, butterflies and locusts fly faster than mosquitoes.

2. Their Wings Beat 300-600 Times Every Second

Mosquitoes produce a buzzing sound as their wings beat at a high speed. You hear this sound just before a mosquito lands on your skin and bites. 

3. Mosquito Mates Beat Their Wings at the Same Speed and Rhythm

At first, scientists thought that only males could hear their potential mates beat their wings. However, findings from recent research that focused on Aedes aegypti species of mosquitoes indicate that females can also hear their lovers wing beats. Male and female mosquitoes buzz their wings together in the same speed to perform a lover’s duet.

4. Mosquitoes Breed in Water

A female mosquito requires only a few inches of water to lay her eggs. Some female species breed in puddles that remain after heavy rains. After laying eggs, tiny mosquito larvae begin to grow in roof gutters, bird baths, and old tires that are left lying in vacant lots. You can control mosquitoes in your home by eliminating any standing water often. Inspect your yard every few days.

5. An Adult Mosquito Can Live up to 6 Months

An adult mosquito has a life expectancy of 5 to 6 months under the right circumstances. However, only a few mosquitoes live that long because of our tendency to kill them as soon as they land on our skin.

6. Mosquitoes Detect Carbon Dioxide as Far as 75 Feet Away

What do mosquitoes eat? Occasionally human blood. But how do they identify your skin as their target? Through carbon dioxide. Human beings and animals breathe out carbon dioxide which notifies mosquitoes that a potential source of blood protein is nearby. Mosquitoes are highly sensitive to carbon dioxide. When a female mosquito smells carbon dioxide in her environment, she flies back and forth until she locates the source.

 
 
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