Writing yesterday’s blog on genetically modified mosquitoes has made me think about all the insects which rely on us for their food source. Advances in science has meant that there is a real possibility in the future that genetically modified mosquitoes may remove certain species from the food chain. Â But then I realised that humans were the food chain for female mosquitoes.
A female mosquito needs the protein in human blood to produce her eggs. The blood lipids (fats) are converted into protein and iron to produce upwards of 200 eggs. Male mosquitoes dine on plant juices, sugary saps, and liquids arising from decomposition of plant material and do not have a biting mouth that can penetrate human skin.
Most mosquito species prefer to feed on animals and birds rather than humans. If their food supply is slim, however, they are not opposed to dining on us. Here’s a list of blood suckers which like to feast on humans.
Bugs That Like Human Blood
Bed bugs are nocturnal and creep out of their hiding places in the middle of the night. They prefer to remain close to their food source and are found in cracks and crevices, headboards, behind peeling wallpaper, broken plaster, light switches, under carpets and skirting boards. They tend to bite in three places.
Fleas most often bite people around the legs and ankles, usually with 2 or 3 bites in a row. The bites are felt immediately and can be sore for as much as a week. Since they move from one host species to another, they present a risk of transmitting disease.
They possess a long, fine proboscis which is used to pierce the skin of their host to feed on their blood.Â A female flea will lay 4 to 8 eggs after each blood meal, and can usually lay several hundred eggs during her adult life. Human fleas can also be found on animals such as dogs, rats, pigs, deer and foxes. A cat flea cannot complete its life-cycle feeding only on human blood.
Ticks can swell up to a centimeter after feeding and can be very difficult to remove. If the mouthparts are still attached they can become infected.
Ticks can transmit Lyme Disease which can cause symptoms like fatigue, chills and fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, joint and muscle pain.
Bed bugs don’t transmit disease, but mosquitoes, fleas and ticks can, so beware of the biting insect.