What Do Mosquitoes Eat?
Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes don’t only suck blood for food. In fact, only female mosquitoes draw blood, and they do so to prepare their bodies for reproduction. Mosquito diet changes based on their life stage:
- During their larval stage, mosquitoes feed on algae, bacteria, and other organic material that they can find in the water.
- They do not feed at all as pupae, lying dormant until they are ready for adulthood.
- Both male and female adult mosquitoes feed on nectar from flowering plants.
- Female mosquitoes feed on blood from birds, small mammals, snakes, and more animals in addition to humans.
Do Mosquitoes Eat Anything Besides Blood?
Many are surprised to learn that blood is just a small component in a mosquito’s diet. Female mosquitoes only feed on blood for the purpose of reproduction, while male mosquitoes don’t feed on blood at all! Mosquitoes must sustain themselves with a sugar-rich diet. Just like other insects, both male and female mosquitoes look to flowers and gardens for nectar, plant sap, and honeydew.
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Female vs. Male Mosquito Diet
Male mosquitoes don’t draw blood from animals to feed. So what do they eat? They differ from female mosquitoes in the following ways:
- Female mosquitoes must have a blood meal to be able to reproduce. Afterward, their bodies are prepared to breed and lay their eggs. Female mosquitoes must also feed on nectar, which is their primary source of nutrition.
- Male mosquitoes do not draw blood. Instead, they rely on sugar from plant nectar, using their proboscis to take nectar from plants. As such, male mosquitoes cannot transmit diseases.
Can Mosquitoes Survive Without Food?
Mosquitoes cannot live for very long without finding a food source. They might die within days if they don’t have the proper nutrient intake. However, if they enter a dormant stage during the winter, they can go for months without eating. However, this is a rare occurrence, and mosquitoes will usually die off when they don’t have a food source.
What Do Mosquitoes Eat? in Des Moines
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