What Do Mosquitoes Eat?
Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes don’t sustain themselves on blood alone. In fact, only female mosquitoes feed on blood in order to reproduce. What they eat depends 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, males 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, & more.
Do Mosquitoes Eat Anything Other Than Blood?
Many are surprised to learn that blood makes up for a small percentage of a mosquito’s diet. In fact, 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. Just like other insects, both male and female insects feed on nectar, plantsap, and honeydew for nourishment.
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Male vs. Female Mosquito Diet
The only mosquito that bites to feed on blood is the female mosquito! But what about male mosquitoes? They differ in the following ways:
- In order to 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 feed on blood. 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.
Can Mosquitoes Survive Without Eating?
With their already short lifespan, mosquitoes cannot live for very long without feeding. 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 don’t have a food source.