Air Date: 09-Aug-21
Scientist: Varuni Kulasekera
Here’s a program from our archives.
On some summer evenings, it may seem as if every mosquito in town has come to you for its evening feast. And though it’s true that these insects need your blood, you may be surprised to learn what they do with it. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Kulasekera: Most mosquitoes suck up sugar in the form of nectar and that’s their daily food. They go and get sugar from flowers and that is their main meal. But blood is for the maturation of the eggs.
Varuni Kulasekera is a research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History
Kulasekera: The mosquitoes will seek blood after they mate. The females are ready to lay eggs and then they will go on seeking for blood. They will go on feeding and then stop feeding when they’re full and then they rest for awhile while the eggs are developing inside the female’s body. And then they will lay the eggs once the eggs are mature. And during this period they don’t take any blood meals. And until they require another blood meal for egg laying, they will not go seeking for blood.
Spring and fall are the seasons when most mosquitoes are needing blood for their eggs, but with four thousand species in the world, and with many different egg laying schedules, it’s unlikely that we’ll make it through this summer bite free.
Kulasekera: Some species may emerge later than April and then they will look for blood. So during the warm season there’s always some species of mosquitoes looking for blood.
Please visit our website at www.pulseplanet.com, We’ve been listening to a program from our archives. If you want to hear more, check out our podcast. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.