What Do Mosquitoes Eat? These And Your Other Mosquito Questions Answered

What Do Mosquitoes Eat? These And Your Other Mosquito Questions Answered by Petri Pest Control in South Florida

We all know what mosquitoes are, but most of us don’t know much more about them other than they bite and are a nuisance and hinder our outdoor activities during the hot Florida summers. Let’s take a look at what else there is to know about mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes Love the Sunshine State

While South Florida is known for its year-round warm temperatures, the temperature and humidity also make it a climate where mosquitoes can flourish in every season. Home to more mosquitoes than any other state, around 80 known species of mosquitoes live in Florida. Of these, 33 species can cause problems for people and pets. Thirteen species can carry serious diseases, such as encephalitis, West Nile virus, or the Zika virus. For dogs, mosquitoes can cause life-threatening heartworm disease.

Asian Tiger Mosquitoes can Carry Human Pathogens

Two of the most common disease-causing mosquitoes in Florida are Aedes albopictus and Psorophora ciliata. Commonly known as the Asian tiger mosquito due to its black and white striped body and legs, Aedes albopictus is native to Southeast Asia and has spread to many countries in warm climates, including the US. This species is responsible for carrying many human pathogens that affect humans and make headlines, such as yellow fever, dengue fever, and the Zika virus.

Native to the Eastern states, Gallinippers’ Bite is Painful

Psorophora ciliata, native to the eastern United States, is also more commonly known as the “gallinipper” because of its aggressive behavior towards humans and animals, alike. Although it can carry encephalitis and West Nile virus, gallinippers haven’t proven to affect humans significantly, although they do pack a powerful bite that can be quite painful.

All Mosquitoes aren’t Vampires

It’s a common misconception that all mosquitoes are after the blood of humans and animals. To set the record straight, only female mosquitoes need a blood meal for their fertilized eggs to grow and develop. In fact, a Frontiers in Physiology article revealed that, when male mosquitoes were fed blood in a lab setting, it reduced their lifespans to a few days, instead of one to two weeks. Additionally, male mosquitoes aren’t equipped with the mouthparts to pierce the skin. Female mosquitoes live longer, at around two to three weeks.

Male Mosquitoes use Their Antennae to Listen

Male mosquitoes, like males in many other insect species, seem to serve one purpose in the scheme of things – procreation. Male mosquitoes sport feathery antennae, visible under a microscope, that help them hear a potential female mate’s wings beating at 500 times per second. Scientific studies are underway that propose to decrease mosquito populations by genetically manipulating male mosquitoes. In one study, published in Nature Communications, Imperial College London researchers tested a new genetic method that alters the X chromosome in male mosquitoes, so that only male mosquitoes will be born. In another study, male mosquitoes will carry the Wolbachia bacteria that will render the male offspring sterile.

Male and Female Mosquitoes Eat Sugary Nectar

Although female mosquitoes need a blood meal to help their eggs grow, both male and female mosquitoes also need a lot of energy to survive. Let’s face it, beating your wings 500 times per second, burns some calories.  Mosquitoes prefer nectar from plants and other sugary foods, such as fruit juice, and honeydew produced by aphids and other insects. Different species of mosquitoes prefer different plants, as well. The sugar is stored in a part of the abdomen called the crop. In female mosquitoes, sugars are stored separately from the blood. Some mosquitoes that hibernate eat more sugar just before hibernation, to use throughout the winter.

Are mosquitoes nocturnal?

As it turns out, mosquitoes are mostly nocturnal:

  • Crepuscular – They feed at dawn and dusk and for a few hours after dark. The term, “crepuscular” characterizes mosquitoes that are most active during low light or half-light. Researchers think the associated heat at these times affects mosquito activity levels.
  • Nocturnal – Mosquitoes feed for a few hours after dark and on brightly moonlit nights. Some sources report that mosquitoes have changed their habits to adapt to humans protecting themselves at night and started feeding in the daytime. Most likely, some species will bite anytime. Also, at night, fewer mosquito predators, such as swifts and other birds, in addition to dragonflies and turtles are out and about.
  • Diurnal – Some aggressive mosquitoes, such as Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, bite in the daytime, as well as at night and in between; they show no preference. This may have something to do with the fact that these mosquitoes belong to one of the most resilient mosquito species on earth. While mosquitoes are ectothermic, or cold-blooded and prefer warmth, other less robust species tend to overheat and dry out in extreme sunlight. An invasive species from Africa, Aedes aegypti is now spread throughout the world.

Petri Pest Control Services offers In2Care for Mosquito Reduction

At Petri Pest Control Services, we don’t want you to worry about mosquitoes this summer. We are proud to offer our South Florida customers a new, effective, and environmentally friendly approach to mosquito reduction, the In2Care System. A multi-impact tool, the In2Care Mosquito Trap has proven to reduce harmful disease-carrying mosquitoes. In2Care even kills insecticide resistant, Aedes mosquitoes, in addition to mosquito larvae and pupae. Our other Mosquito Reduction Services follow steps recommended by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Services extension to make your summer more enjoyable, including:

  • Inspection
  • Resident Cooperation
  • Larviciding-killing the mosquito larvae and pupae before it hatches
  • Adulticiding -killing the adult mosquitoes with our Residual Misting Sprays
  • Monitoring

Petri Pest Control Services is a locally owned and operated professional pest control company. We service homes and businesses across Broward and Palm Beach Counties – contact us today to discuss our mosquito reduction services.

What Do Mosquitoes Eat? These And Your Other Mosquito Questions Answered in South Florida

Serving Broward County and Palm Beach County

Hollywood | Fort Lauderdale | Pompano Beach | Hallandale Beach | Deerfield Beach | Pembroke Pines | Dania Beach | Plantation | Coral Springs | Coconut Creek | Parkland | Davie | Lighthouse Point | Weston

Boca Raton | Delray Beach | Greenacres | Highland Beach | Lake Worth | Lantana | Wellington