Mosquito Facts

When you've been bitten by a mosquito, you've actually been bitten by a female mosquito (only the females bite.)  The male mosquito feeds on juices and nectar from flowers and fruit.  Male mosquitoes are also considered pollinators due to their feeding habits.  The female feeds on plant juices too, but they also need the protein in blood in order to lay eggs.  You can tell the difference between a male and female mosquito by their antennae.  Males have big, bushy antennae, to help them seek out females, while female antenna look like what we typically think of.
Mosquito biting a person

Reproduction

The high pitched humming of a mosquito is not just an annoying warning to its victims, it is how males easily locate the females mosquitoes. Each female mosquito may lay eggs as many as 4-5 times during her life span, but before each deposit, she needs a new supply of blood. A female mosquito that has taken a blood meal and is ready to lay eggs is considered “gravid”. Depending on the species, they lay their eggs in rafts on top of water, on the sides of containers, or on soil where water will be after rainfall. Most mosquitoes actually survive overwinter in our area as eggs!

The eggs hatch into larvae, worm-like organisms that develop in water. The larvae mature in about three to seven days, depending on the temperature and species. After this, they enter a dormant pupa stage and later emerge as adult mosquitoes. In their quest for blood, mosquitoes may bite birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, including people. In general it take a mosquito seven days to complete its life cycle. This is why it is important to dump standing water that may last more than four days. 

Blood Meal

A day or so after emerging as an adult, the female mosquito flies off searching for a blood meal. She homes in on body warmth, odor, moisture and the carbon dioxide we exhale. When she bites, the female injects a bit of saliva that slows coagulation so blood flows freely. It's your body's reaction that causes the welt and itch later on. Mosquitoes also transmit heart worms, which can be fatal to dogs. The largest species of mosquito in our area, Toxorhynchites rutilus, do not bite at all as adults. Instead they get all their protein in the larval stage by feeding on other mosquito larva. Not all mosquitoes are bad and some help us to fight the bite!