Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest disease-spreading animals the world has ever experienced. They are responsible for the annual death of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. Presently, there are about 3,500 known species of mosquitoes spread all over the world.
So, why do mosquitoes need blood?
Generally, people know that mosquitoes feed on blood. However, what many people seem not to understand is, why do mosquitoes need blood? The blood that they feed on contains the nutrients that mosquitoes need for development and reproduction. Thus, mosquitoes feed on blood to survive, nourish themselves, and reproduce.
Keep reading to get more details on why mosquitoes need blood!
Every full-grown female mosquito possesses a proboscis. It is the tube-like structure used by female mosquitoes to pierce through the skin and feed on the blood of their hosts. Whenever a mosquito finds and feeds on its host, they usually transfer their saliva into the body of that host, and in most cases, their host begins to experience a swollen skin and itchy rash.
There are other instances where some variety of mosquitoes bites a person who is infected and then transmit the pathogens into another. It is why mosquitoes are famous for conveying several diseases like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, etc. As a result, it puts them on top of the list of animals responsible for the highest number of death caused by diseases.
The Life Stages Of A Mosquito
According to studies, there are four stages a mosquito goes through before it becomes a fully formed adult. They spend three of these four stages in the water and spend the last stage on land.
The egg stage
Mosquitoes, like some other animals, lay eggs and build a zone called a raft. The raft is where they lay their eggs and protect them until they begin to develop. At the adult stage, an average mosquito lays about 80-450 eggs.
The position where they lay these eggs on the water also varies. Some lay on the top layers of the water while other species lay at the edge. The transition of these eggs from the first stage to the second, which is the larva stage, usually takes between two to three days. After three days, the egg grows into the larva.
The larva stage
At this point, through some cohesive abilities and the use of some tool called the siphon, the growing larvae to survive will swim to the surface to eat and get oxygen to survive. At the larva stage, they feed on small microorganisms.
There is every tendency that every stagnant or still water you find has within it a large number of the larva. Neglected water ponds, water closets, ditches, swimming and snow pools, abandoned trucks, cars, logs, damp surfaces, even tires are all potential harbors for mosquitoes and their eggs. After about four days, these larvae begin to transform themselves and their skin to become a pupa.
The pupa stage
A larva can feed through the use of a siphon, but a pupa cannot. However, since they need oxygen to survive, the tubes on their backs aid their breathing. It is from the pupa stage that the full-grown adult begins to develop.
It usually takes three or four days, depending on the species. After the days are complete, the adult mosquito then breaks the pupal shell and escapes. After coming out, it does not fly immediately; it stays on the surface for a while till it can fly on its own.
The adult stage
It is the final stage of every mosquito’s life cycle. At this point, they are strong enough to fly around, look for what to feed on, and carry out their life activities like reproduction.
Some Things To Note About The Different Types Of Mosquitoes
Although there are hundreds of thousands of mosquito species in various continents of the world, there are characteristics that are similar to all and others that make each different from the rest.
All mosquitoes cannot survive without water. They need water to continue their existence. It is the reason experts advise that one effective way to eradicate disease-spreading mosquitoes from the environment is to make sure that the environment is void of stagnant, unattended water. If you can do so, then the chances of survival and continuity of life for mosquitoes is cut down by a considerable percentage.
Not all mosquitoes feed on human blood. Blood is food to only the female adult mosquito. Some mosquitoes feed on specific flower juice.
Contrary to popular belief, finding mosquitoes on grasses does not mean they develop there. Mosquitoes develop only on water surfaces, and although they find solace on grass surfaces during the day, their development stages do not take place there.
The heat and carbon dioxide generated by animals and humans are the most attractive factors for a mosquito. Other things like smell, colors, sounds are also contributing factors to where you find mosquitoes going.
During the summer season, an average female mosquito can live up to three weeks. During winter, they usually last for months, surviving through into the spring to lay eggs.
Wherever you find tall grasses, abandoned sewage, untreated septic tanks, unattended waste bins, tins, and plastic containers, ponds, or waterlogged potholes, there you will find excellent breeding and resting ground for mosquitos. If there is a need to stay clear of diseases and their carriers, one needs to pay attention to these places and things daily in our various environments.
Any time you leave the water to stay on one spot for about four days, you have already made it a breeding ground for teeming mosquitoes, and in no time, they begin to multiply in hundreds because that is how much their eggs can be. Therefore, one needs to take measures to eradicate them. You need to dispose of the smallest amount of water from surfaces, cans, plastics, nylons immediately after use.
Pay attention to your flower pots, your gardens, and the walls of your room. These places are also places mosquitoes use for hiding and resting. Therefore, measures such as constant fumigations help in cleaning up the gardens and destroying deadly mosquitoes.
Why Do Mosquitoes Need Blood?
From research, it is a fact that mosquitoes are one of the most advanced insects in terms of evolution. Every single species of mosquito has its style and pattern of feeding. While some feed on plants like every other insect, others need blood to survive.
They associate with mammals and right among the many feeding on blood. They are mosquitoes that feed on human blood. We must also know that it is peculiar to the female species as male species will never feed on blood, no matter the proximity.
At the initial stage of existence, the female mosquitoes have to depend on nectar. Still, due to the fact that they need more energy to develop their reproductive system, ovulate, mate, and produce eggs, they then shift to the mammalian blood.
Why Must They Feed Blood?
They need blood because blood has energy elements, such as, iron and proteins, which deliver the right type of energy they need for both development and reproduction as compared to the sap they get from plants. Contrary to the popular option, they do not necessarily need to feed on blood for daily living, they need to feed on blood to fulfill their biological reproductive mandate, and it is a factor common to almost all species of mosquitoes.
Why Are You Likely To Attract Mosquito?
What you eat and your level of alcohol consumption makes you more attractive to mosquitoes. Anytime you drink too much alcohol or eat certain types of food, your body’s metabolism rate increases. When metabolism increases, the rate at which the body converts oxygen to carbon dioxide also increases, and carbon dioxide attracts mosquitoes. When you also engage in activities that increase your oxygen conversion level, it makes you a target.
Blood types also determine if you will be favorable to mosquitoes. People with blood type O usually attract more mosquitoes, compared to other blood types. So, if you ever find yourself in situations where mosquitoes are always flocking around you, and the experience is not the same for others, you might need to check out these things.
Safety Measures You Can Take To Avoid Mosquito Bites
Make sure you close every opening that can permit the entrance of mosquitoes, and repair broken spaces as soon as possible. Avoid staying out from sunset to around dawn. Mosquitoes are more active when it gets dark. If you want to stay safe, stay clear of darkness.
Stay clear of areas that are possible habitats for mosquitoes. Bushes, waterlogged areas, dirty environments are not favorable for anyone who wants to avoid mosquito bites. If you are in a situation where you cannot control a lot of things or factors contributing to the breeding and multiplication of mosquitoes, one thing you can always do to save and protect yourself is the constant spraying of repellants. It will help you protect yourself.
Always get rid of the trash as they serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and the pathogens they spread.
Mosquitoes are disease-carrying insects that are dangerous to our health. The adult female mosquito needs blood to survive and reproduce. Thus, we have looked at the question, why do mosquitoes need blood, to understand these creatures better.