The reason female mosquitoes need blood is to produce fertile eggs.
A adult mosquito’s life span lasts approximately two weeks. After the female mosquito has mated with the male, she goes in search of a blood meal. Female mosquitoes will drink the blood from almost any mammal, reptile, bird, or amphibian.
The female mosquito finds a victim by flying upwind and following a scent trail given off by sweat, bodily secretions, and carbon dioxide that is released when exhaling. A mosquito can smell a victim from up to 50 meters away.
Once she is done feeding, she rests in a shaded area while her eggs grow. The meal of blood she sucked from her victim provides her eggs with protein so they can properly form into mosquito babies. After a few days of resting, she then lays up to 300 eggs in a patch of still water. Many female mosquitoes will fly off to mate again, repeating the cycle of mating/feeding/laying, until they die.
Normally, a mosquito’s diet consists of sugar found in plant juices, fruit, and flowers. This is the male mosquito’s entire food source. Male mosquitoes are unable to bite as they do not have a blood-sucking proboscis, which is a long, tubular mouth piece used to drink blood.
Both male and female mosquitoes can eat plant sugars, but experimental studies have shown that the female will choose blood over plants if given the opportunity.
Mosquitoes are an important link in the food chain, being prey for many birds and amphibians. They cross-polinate various plant species when they feed, thus ensuring the survival of some plants.
Unfortunately, mosquitoes are a dangerous insect to the human population, as their saliva carries many infectious diseases, including deadly malaria, which has been estimated to cause over 2 million human deaths each year.
Other human diseases transmitted by the bite of the female mosquito: enchephalitis, West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, and Yellow Fever.
An effective method for deterring female mosquitoes from biting you is to apply a mosquito reppellant that contains the chemical compound DEET. DEET prevents mosquitoes from sensing a person’s sweat and smell, which is one of the scents mosquitoes follow to find a victim.
Studies have shown that mosquitoes are attracted to dark-colored clothing, so wear light-colored clothes when you are outside. Also, avoid the use of scented hair and body products, as these leave a greater scent trail for the mosquitoes to find out.