What Do Mosquitoes Eat?
Believe it or not, mosquitoes don’t feed solely on blood. In fact, only female mosquitoes feed on blood in order to reproduce. Mosquito diet varies depending on their life stage:
- As larvae, mosquitoes feed on algae, bacteria, and other organic material in the water within which they live.
- In the pupal stage, they do not feed whatsoever.
- Adult mosquitoes, male and females alike, feed on nectar from flowering plants.
- Female mosquitoes feed not just on human blood, but also blood from birds, small mammals, snakes, and more.
Do Mosquitoes Only Feed on Blood?
You may be surprised to learn that blood makes up a very small portion of a mosquito’s diet. Female mosquitoes feed on blood in order to reproduce, while male mosquitoes don’t feed on blood whatsoever! Mosquitoes require frequent sugar intake in order to survive. Similar to other insects, both male and female insects feed primarily on nectar, plant sap, and honeydew for nourishment.
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Male vs. Female Mosquito Diet
Female mosquitoes feed on blood, but males do not. Here’s how they differ:
- To successfully reproduce, female mosquitoes must have a blood meal. Afterward, they are able to breed and lay their eggs. Female mosquitoes also feed on nectar, which is a large part of their diet.
- Male mosquitoes do not require blood meals. Instead, they rely on sugar from plant nectar. They use their proboscis to retrieve the nectar from plants. Male mosquitoes thus are not responsible for transmitting diseases.
How Long Do Mosquitoes Survive Without Feeding?
Not being able to feed will shorten a mosquito’s already short lifespan significantly. If a female mosquito is unable to obtain a food source, it may die within days. When in a dormant stage during the winter, they can go for months without eating. However, in general, mosquitoes will die off when they’re unable to feed.