Why Do Mosquitoes Suck Blood? How Can We Stop Them?

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 06, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Oct 11, 2021
Find out the answer to why do mosquitoes suck blood and other facts.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

Discover why mosquitoes suck blood from humans and what you can do to prevent that.

Researchers have found out the reason behind mosquito bites and what causes them. This article mentions ways in which it can be controlled.

Mosquitoes are small disease-spreading insects. They breed and lay their eggs on stagnant waters.

They are carriers of serious diseases (sometimes life-threatening diseases) including dengue, yellow fever, and malaria. These insects feed on blood to gain necessary proteins and nutrients.

They leave behind bite marks, on the skin, on the site through which they sucked out the blood. Though blood is an essential part of their diet, they can also feed on nectar. Baby mosquitoes, just after hatching, prefer drinking nectar over blood.

Let's find out what causes mosquitoes to suck human blood and the ways in which that can be prevented. To know more about insects and flies, you may also check out why fireflies glow and why horse flies bite.

Do mosquitoes suck the blood from animals?

Each insect has its own specific diet. Only on very rare occasions are insects seen diverting from their prefered diet. Female mosquitoes require nutrition to maintain their health and grow and nurture eggs when pregnant.

Male mosquitoes like to eat plant nectar as their diet. As per a recent study, blood is the source from where they gain this nutrition from. But the question remains whether humans are their only source of food?

Researchers have found out that mosquitoes suck blood to fulfill their dietary requirements. They do not seem to mind where the blood comes from, as long as it is fresh.

Mosquitoes could drink blood from birds, insects, reptiles, and mammals. Animals such as cats, dogs, cows, horses, are their prefered diet apart from humans. Reptiles are their next to last resort since their skins are quite thick and it can get difficult to penetrate.

Mosquitoes even feed on other insects bigger than them, who have accessible skin. It is, thus, safe to say that mosquitoes not only suck blood from animals but from every living thing in the world they can get their mouths on.

A female mosquito will prefer feeding on a human and animals that reptiles.

How can we stop mosquitoes from sucking our blood?

Do you know that some individuals can produce chemicals that smell bad to mosquitoes and prevent a mosquito bite effectively. It is believed that mosquitoes cannot stop feeding on blood until they are full or forcefully stopped.

The more time a mosquito is in contact with your bloodstream, the more diseases it transmits into your body. To prevent the transmission of dangerous diseases from mosquitoes to humans it is essential that they be controlled from sucking blood in the first place.

There are a number of ways to control a female mosquito from sucking your blood. The most effective is using a repellent.

Mosquitoes use their senses of smell to detect blood. The use of a strong scent will lead them to believe there is nothing edible in the region. The strong smells can be camphor, peppermint oil, cinnamon, tea extract, garlic, vinegar, lemon, cloves, coconut oil, soap, beer, alcohol, mint, lavender.

You can either spray these scents throughout and near your household or can use them on your body in the form of lotions and oils. It is best to prevent them from biting rather than curing the consequences.

How many species of mosquitoes suck blood?

In spite of the worldwide belief that all mosquitoes suck blood, it is not true. Over 3,000 mosquito species are recorded that are known to bite humans.

Amongst these species, Aedes aegypti, yellow fever-spreading species is found quite often. The emphasis should be put on the fact that when it comes to categorizing mosquitoes into categories of those that suck blood and those that don’t, the distinguishing factor is not the species but the gender of the mosquito.

Aedes aegypti - yellow fever spreading species and anopheles - malaria, dengue, spreading species are the most common species of mosquitoes recorded to bite humans. But as mentioned above, it is not the species but the sex that should be taken under consideration.

Male mosquitoes, even male anopheline mosquitoes, have weak mouth structures. They are not capable of penetrating the human skin. Also, they do not need blood to survive.

That is why male mosquitoes do not suck blood. But female mosquitoes on the other hand have the capability as well as the need to suck blood.

Why do only female mosquitoes suck blood?

As discussed in the earlier section, males mosquitoes do not suck blood. Their dietary requirements are more than satisfied by eating nectar.

Also, even if they decide to feed on blood, a male mosquito's mouth structure is too weak. Most males mosquitoes who try to suck blood often end up breaking their long proboscis and become incapable of feeding on nectar as well. This leads to their immediate death due to a lack of nutrition.

Female mosquitoes have a very strong proboscis. They can easily penetrate the skins of animals, birds, insects, and humans alike.

With the gift of strong proboscis, only female mosquitoes are capable of sucking blood. When female mosquitoes are pregnant they need more proteins to supplement their eggs.

That is why pregnant female mosquitoes drink more blood so that they can provide nutrition to the eggs until they lay them on water bodies. A recent study has found all the new evidence to support claims that only female mosquitoes need blood.

When do mosquitos suck blood?

We have established which mosquitoes actually need to get blood to go around their usual life cycle. We have seen all the factors contributing to the necessity of females to drink blood.

We came to know that mosquitoes drink blood because it is an important part of their diet. But what if a mosquito doesn't drink blood? Let's find out the circumstances and causes of this phenomenon.

Mosquitoes can definitely survive without sucking blood. They can drink nectar from flowers to satisfy the basic nutrition requirements of their bodies.

Male mosquitoes will have no difficulty in keeping outside the blood diet. But as you see females have stronger nutrition requirements than males. But female mosquitoes follow a nectar diet in the first few stages of their life.

But as their life cycle approaches around the next step of reproduction, they start feeling the need for a blood diet. And that is when mosquitoes start to suck blood.

If mosquitos can pierce our skin and suck blood, why can't we feel it?

Mosquito bites leave a prominent mark on the site they have bitten. People only see mosquito bites a few minutes later when it gets swollen and itchy.

But during the process of sucking blood people do not feel a single thing. Even after the mosquito's proboscis pierce people's skins they do not feel anything for a very long time. Let's find out the secret behind mosquito bites.

When a mosquito bites people the first thing it does is inject its saliva into the skin. This saliva acts as an anesthetic agent and numbs the area of the bite.

The saliva also prevents the clotting of the blood so that they will have easy and continuous access to the blood until they have their proboscis pierced in the skin.

The anesthetic effect lasts only for a short period of time. That is why after a while people start to notice the swollen area and the itchiness caused due to the mosquito bites.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do mosquitos suck blood then why not take a look at why do flies land on me or Mayfly facts.

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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