PROGRAMS        TEACHERS        KIDS        VIDEOS        GALLERY        ABOUT US        HOME
Home of P.R. Mantis & the BUG-People!
BUGMAN Education
614-450-0BUG (450-0284)
Columbus, OH
prmantis@bugs.org
working Mantis

BUG INFORMATION!

Here are the answers to some interesting questions we have addressed
over the years.

Stay tuned for new BUG Trivia Activities!

- Stings and Other Hurting Things
    -
Which hurts more, honeybee or bumblebee?
    - Why do Honeybees make swarms?
    - Which insect kills the most people?
    - Why does a mosquito bite?
    - What is the difference between flies and wasps?
- Back to Information Pages


Why does a Mosquito bite?

It’s true, mosquitoes bite to get blood. But not all mosquitoes... Only the female mosquitoes bite. Well, perhaps "bite" is not the best word for it, they kind of stab and spit and suck. And there are even some species whose females don’t even bite - they don’t bite at all!

But if the male mosquitoes never bite and suck blood, and some mosquitoes don’t bite at all, they can’t be actually feeding on blood. So what do they eat?

Mosquitoes are nectar feeders. That means they eat the sweet, sugar water that plants make to attract pollinators. We like to think of it as Kool-Aid for animals! The nectar is actually flavored and each type of flower makes a different flavor. That’s why if you get clover honey it tastes different than, say, blackberry honey. (Honey is just nectar and pollen that bees eat, regurgitate, mix up with other bee stuff, and make honey from it. Yup, you heard right... honey is bee throw-up!) Mosquitoes eat nectar just like all those other animals we like so much - butterflies and hummingbirds and bees.

So why the vampire behavior? Female mosquitoes need blood meals to make the shells for their eggs! Mosquito eggs are sort of like chicken eggs (but obviously much smaller... imagine how big mosquitoes would be if they came out of eggs the size of chicken eggs! Run for your lives!). The eggs are surrounded by a hard shell. This shell is made out of protein. Most female mosquitoes cannot make this protein, so they take it from blood. Sometimes from our blood. But mosquitoes can get blood from just about any animal. Some are very picky about where they get their blood.

Just about everything about mosquitoes is fascinating (if not a little disgusting). One really cool thing is the way they bite. And since the babies live in water, they do all kinds of strange, unbelievable things. Some are even vicious predators. They eat a diet of other mosquito and various insect larvae, and even little fish and tadpoles - if they can catch them! In some cases, they even get enough protein to make egg shells. The truly beautiful Toxorhynchites rutilis is an example of a mosquito that would freak-out most people, because it’s huge. But it doesn’t bite as an adult, and it even eats other mosquitoes that do bite. And it is beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to top