What Do Mosquitoes Eat?
Here’s a shocking fact you might not know about mosquitoes: only the females feed on blood, and only when they’re ready to reproduce. Male mosquitoes feed mostly on nectar. Their proboscis is not long or sharp enough to pierce human skin.
For the most part, mosquitoes are similar to other insects in their dietary preferences:
- As larvae, mosquitoes feed on algae, bacteria, and other organic material in the water within which they live
- In the pupal stage, mosquitoes do not eat at all
- Both male and female adult mosquitoes feed on nectar from flowering plants
- In addition to human blood, female mosquitoes also feed on birds, small mammals, snakes, and more
Do Mosquitoes Only Feed on Blood?
This is a common misconception. In reality, blood makes up a small percentage of female mosquitoes’ diet. In fact, the only time mosquitoes feed on blood is when the female is ready to reproduce. Male mosquitoes do not feed on blood ever.
Mosquitoes need to steadily consume sugar in order to survive. They get that sugar mostly from nectar, plant sap, and honeydew.
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Male vs. Female Mosquito Diet
Male and female mosquitoes have different nutritional needs throughout their life cycle:
- Female mosquitoes must have a blood meal to reproduce. After the meal, they can breed and lay eggs. Nectar is also a significant part of female mosquitoes’ diet
- Male mosquitoes do not feed on blood. Instead, they rely on sugar from plant nectar. They use their proboscis to retrieve nectar from plants
What Happens When Mosquitoes Can't Feed?
If a female mosquito stops feeding, it may die within days. When in a dormant stage during the winter, however, they can go for months without eating. In general, mosquitoes need to be constantly finding new sources of food.