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Feeding frenzy: Who, when, why and what do mosquitoes eat?

Mosquitoes suck. It’s not just the buzzing and the biting that can annoy you and your pet; it’s the bloodsucking. By piercing the skin and drinking directly from a blood vessel, mosquitoes are serious about invading personal space. And they bring serious consequences that can compromise your dog’s health and happiness.

Get to know mosquitoes better and help keep your pet healthier.

 Mosquito

 Top 10 Mosquito Feeding Facts:

1. Mosquitoes transmit diseases.

The biggest danger posed by mosquito bites is not blood loss nor discomfort: it’s disease. When a female mosquito injects her saliva into her host and begins drinking blood, she may share organisms and illnesses picked up during a prior blood meal. For pets, the major concern is heartworms. In fact, the only way heartworms can infect your dog is through a mosquito carrier. Year-round prevention of heartworms can be vital to protecting your pet’s health.

2. Mosquitoes don’t die after they bite.

Unless you go after it yourself, a female mosquito will live to feed again and again. It is this repetitive feeding on different hosts at different times in her life that make mosquitoes perfect agents for spreading disease.

3. Mosquitoes thin their host’s blood with saliva.

Mosquitoes inject their own saliva into blood to make it easier to drink. It is this mosquito saliva that triggers an allergic reaction and may make you — and your pet — suffer from hives and itching.

4. It takes one to four minutes for a mosquito to get full.

During a blood meal, female mosquitoes will drink until almost uncomfortably full. And while she’ll discard other liquids to make extra room for the blood, she will still be so full that flight is difficult. This means her search for a place to lay her eggs may keep her close to your dog or you.

5. Dawn and dusk signal dinnertime.

Most mosquitoes prefer to rest during the heat of the day and look for blood meals during dawn or dusk. If your pet is an outdoor enthusiast during these times as well, their risk of mosquito bites — and subsequent disease transmission — increases. Keep your dog indoors during these more active feeding times if possible, and make prevention and protection part of your pet’s year-round wellness routine.

6. Mosquitoes play favorites.

Ever wonder why one person or pet seems to attract more mosquitoes than another? Female mosquitoes use chemical, visual and heat sensors to find their next meal. They are most attracted to the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) exhaled, movement, smell, skin bacteria present and body heat.

7. Only female mosquitoes bite.

That’s right; males are strict vegetarians, drinking just nectar to stay alive. So then why do female mosquitoes suck blood? Females need the proteins found in blood to produce their eggs. During the egg development cycle, females will search for a suitable blood meal host, and this can be your pet!

8. Female mosquitoes are ectoparasites.

Like fleas and ticks, mosquitoes are uninvited bloodsuckers, and are classified as ectoparasites that live outside of and feed on their hosts but do not directly kill them. Proper prevention practices can help protect your dog from these irritating pests.

9. Three out of the four mosquito life stages do not suck blood.

The mosquito life cycle has four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The first three live mostly in water and it is only when they mature into adults that mosquitoes drink blood. This is also the same stage that they sprout wings and search for new food sources.

10. Mosquitoes eat nectar and plant juices.

Like hummingbirds and butterflies, mosquitoes crave the sugary nectar of plants for energy.

Help take the bite out of mosquitoes

Bayer offers effective mosquito prevention and heartworm prevention options to help your dog live a better life. Find them at pet specialty stores and veterinarian offices.

Related article: Mosquitoes: A small insect that carries big health risks
Related article: Heartworm 101
Related article: Heartworms in cats

Bayer Products

  • K9 Advantage® II for extra large dogs and large dogs packing

    K9 Advantix® II

    A once-monthly topical application that kills and repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.

    Do not use on Cats.

    K9 Advantix® II

    Indicated for:

    FLEAS
    FLEAS
    TICKS
    TICKS
    MOSQUITOES
    MOSQUITOES
    BITING FLIES
    BITING FLIES
    CHEWING LICE
    CHEWING LICE

    Do not use on Cats.

  • Advantage Multi® for Dogs (imidacloprid + moxidectin) packaging

    Advantage Multi® for Dogs (imidacloprid + moxidectin)

    An all-in-one monthly topical that prevents heartworm disease, kills adult fleas and treats roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.

    Advantage Multi® for Dogs (imidacloprid + moxidectin)

    Indicated for:

    HEARTWORMS
    HEARTWORMS
    FLEAS
    FLEAS
    ROUNDWORMS
    ROUNDWORMS
    HOOKWORMS
    HOOKWORMS
    WHIPWORMS
    WHIPWORMS
    SARCOPTIC MANGE
    SARCOPTIC MANGE
    MICROFILARIAE
    MICROFILARIAE

    CAUTION: Federal (U.S.A.) law restricts Advantage Multi® for Dogs (imidacloprid + moxidectin) to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.

  • Advantage® Yard & Premise Spray.

    Advantage® Yard & Premise Spray

    Kill insects, fleas and ticks around the perimeter of your home.

    Not for use on pets. Use as directed.

    Advantage® Yard & Premise Spray

    Indicated for: