Do vampires really exist? If you’re talking about mosquitoes, then the obvious answer is yes. These flying blood-suckers are always on the hunt for their next meal. But why do mosquitoes need blood? Keep reading to discover the real reason these vampires want to have your blood for dinner.
Blood: It’s More Nutritious Than You Ever Knew
Why do mosquitoes suck blood? The answer is pretty straightforward. For a mosquito, it’s a literal life or death situation. Blood is full of essential nutrients for mosquitoes, namely iron, proteins, and other amino acids. Mosquitoes can’t get these vital nutrients from any other source. And without a blood-rich diet, the circle of life for mosquitoes would cease entirely.
What Do Mosquitoes Do with Blood?
Female mosquitoes require the ingredients found in blood to lay their eggs. In fact, only females need blood in their diet. The average female lays about 100 eggs at a time and most produce about ten broods in their lifetime. Without a proper blood meal, she won’t be able to develop eggs after mating.
Males don’t feed on blood and will leave you alone. Yes, you read that right: male mosquitoes don’t bite people or other animals. Since you can’t tell the difference between a male and female mosquito without a microscope, there’s no way to know which one has just landed on your arm.
Human Blood: A Quick and Efficient Meal
Venturing into the woods, relaxing at the lake, or just walking around during a humid day is an open invitation for mosquitoes to bite. But why do mosquitoes need human blood? Well, some of them don’t. Plus, mosquitoes don’t only seek out people. They also bite other animals, including dogs, cats, horses, and other mammals. Mosquitoes can even nibble on lizards and snakes, but reptiles aren’t their preferred blood source.
Do Mosquitoes Prefer Certain Types of Blood?
Although mosquitoes aren’t the pickiest eaters in the world, they do prefer some blood types more than others. Mosquitoes can smell a person’s blood type before taking a bite. Those of us with Type O blood, for instance, are a particularly tasty treat. Pregnant women also seem to get more mosquito bites than other people. And anyone who sweats a lot may produce pheromones that attract mosquitoes.
But even if these factors don’t apply to you, you’re still not shielded. Whenever a female mosquito feels the urge to feed, she will seek out the easiest target. Since people are often the largest mammals in their area, they are easier to bite. Mosquitoes are also attracted to humans because people emit more carbon dioxide than many other animals. Mosquitoes have a receptor that detects carbon dioxide.
Although you may not be able to control your bodily CO2 emissions, here’s how you can avoid a bite:
- Wear light-colored clothing made from tightly woven fabrics.
- Apply a mosquito repellant when heading outdoors.
- Light a citronella candle to deter mosquitoes.
- Dump out any standing water near your home.
- Schedule a barrier spray treatment.
- Avoid wearing perfumes or scented products outside.
Other Food Sources for Mosquitoes
Why do mosquitoes drink blood if they can eat other things? Only female mosquitoes need the nutrients found in blood. Males don’t require this delicacy in their diet at all. Instead, they choose to feast on a variety of nectar-producing plants.
Both males and females need the glycogen and triglycerides found in sugar to produce energy. Nectar is the prime source. You’re most likely to see mosquitoes buzzing around brightly colored flowers. But they also enjoy the taste of water lettuce and other plants with high water content.
If you want to keep these bothersome insects away, try planting basil, lemongrass, or mint. For humans, these plants produce a lovely aroma, but oddly enough, mosquitoes can’t stand their smell!
Protect Your Home and Family from Mosquito Bites
Even though mosquito blood doesn’t exist (they have hemolymph instead), these insects still want to taste your red blood cells. The best way to keep your family protected is to prevent bites before they happen. Mosquito Joe offers proven treatments, including our barrier spray, to keep your yard mosquito-free all year long. With us on your side, you won’t have to worry about becoming a mosquito’s next meal! Give us a call at 1-855-275-2563 or connect with us online to schedule a treatment to keep mosquitoes at bay.