Anti Malaria Fashion Foundation

Why do mosquitoes bite?

mosquito coupleMosquitoes belong to a group of insects that requires blood to develop fertile eggs. Males do not lay eggs, thus, male mosquitoes do not bite.The females are the egg producers and seek a host for a blood meal. Female mosquitoes lay multiple batches of eggs and require a blood meal for every batch they lay.

Few people realize that mosquitoes rely on sugar as their main source of energy. Both male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, fruit juices, and liquids that ooze from plants. The sugar is burned as fuel for flight and is replenished on a daily basis. Blood is reserved for egg production and is sucked less frequently.

Scientists are still investigating the complexities involved with mosquito host acceptance and rejection. Some people are highly attractive to mosquitoes and others are rarely bothered. Mosquitoes have specific requirements to satisfy, and process many different factors before they feed. Many of the mosquito’s physiological demands are poorly understood and many of the processes they use to evaluate potential blood meal hosts remain a mystery. Female mosquitoes use the CO2 we exhale as their primary cue to our location. A host-seeking mosquito is guided to our skin by following the stream of CO2 that exudes from our breath and can detect as far as 50 feet away.

Research suggests that mosquitoes actually have discriminating tastes when it comes to their victims, choosing based on characteristics like scent and blood type.

The unique combination of chemicals that make up an individual’s breath may play a role in repelling or attracting mosquitoes. Differences in secretions on the human skin (like the ammonia and lactic acid in sweat) can also play an important role attracting mosquitoes to their victims.

Everybody has a body odor, but some people are lucky enough to have a combination of skin secretions that help mask the compounds mosquitoes love. This kind of natural insect repellent has a very slight scent that people don’t notice, but mosquitoes do.

Research points to blood-type markers — chemicals produced by people with specific blood types — as a determining factor for how mosquitoes pick out a human snack.
The real key to preventing bites is reducing exposure to the insects which could be achieved by managed mosquito vector control interventions.

Print Friendly