Male vs Female Mosquitoes (Surprising Differences…)

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Are you looking to learn about the male versus the female mosquitoes? Do you want to know which ones bite and which one don’t?

Well then, you’re in the right place!

In this guide you’ll learn:

  • What Are Male Mosquitoes?
  • Do Male Mosquitoes Bite?
  • What Are Female Mosquitoes?
  • Do Female Mosquitoes Bite?
  • Female vs Male Mosquitoes?
  • Do Male or Female Mosquitoes Make a Buzz Sound?
Reviewed By:
Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!

Table of Contents

    There has always been a lot of confusion about male and female mosquitoes, mainly because they’re so small. We want to clear up that confusion once and for all.

    There are some differences between them in their appearance, although not to the naked eye. There is at least one major difference in their diet, although you can’t tell just by visual inspection. And finally, there are minor differences in the sounds they make, although not to the untrained ear.

    There are some very real differences between the males and females though and if you work at it, you can exploit those differences to eradicate them or drive them out of your back yard.

    There’s a lot of information to cover, so let’s get started!

    Read Also: What’re the best mosquito traps for around your yard?

    What Are Male Mosquitoes?

    Male mosquitoes are the male of the mosquito species. Outwardly, in terms of size, shape, and coloration there is virtually no difference between the male and female mosquitoes. None that are visible without magnification, anyway.

    Proboscis and Flagellum

    Under magnification though, one difference rapidly becomes apparent. Mosquitoes have a long, slender feeding tube that extends outward from their mouth. Technically, it’s a kind of antenna. That antenna or tube is called a proboscis. On the male, the proboscis has a feathery appearance. It can also be accurately described as bushy or hairy.

    The little bushy hairs on the male proboscis, called flagellum, are extraordinarily sensitive to sound vibrations. The sound from the beating of the female’s wings triggers a reaction in the flagellum, which sends a signal to the mosquito that it has found a female.

    Male mosquitoes have something called Johnston’s organ that distinguishes the sound and speed of the wings to determine if it is another mosquito, a male or female, and so forth. Other sounds that trigger the flagellum are either ignored or classified as threats to be evaded. It’s important to note that mosquitoes aren’t hearing sounds, they’re responding to vibrations in the air.

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    Life Span Of The Male Mosquito

    The life cycle of mosquitoes is simple. An adult female will lay approximately 200 eggs at a time in stale or stagnant water. Within a day or two, the eggs will hatch into larva, sometimes called wigglers. They’re called wigglers because that is how they swim. An interesting point here is that wigglers need air to breath. If you pour a thin film of oil on top of the water it will keep them from getting any air and they’ll drown.

    The larva goes through 4 growth stages called instars. Each instar is larger than the last one, but otherwise, they look the same. The last instar is called the pupae stage.

    In the pupae stage, they look like miniature shrimps and they avoid predators by tumbling erratically through the water. For this reason, they are often called tumblers. A day or two later a full-grown mosquito emerges and flies away. From the time the egg is laid until the adult mosquito emerges is only 7-10 days.

    Male mosquitoes are extremely short-lived after that. They only live for about a week under ideal conditions. Normally, they’ll live even less. Those few days are their only chance to find a female and mate. After that, they’re a goner.

    Breaks your heart, doesn’t it?

    Read Also: ​How to Find and Kill Mosquito Larvae? 

    Do Male Mosquitoes Bite?

    In a word, no. Male mosquitoes eat sugary fluids, nothing else. Using their feathery proboscis they can get their nourishment from the nectar of flowering plants or sweet juices. If you have a hummingbird feeder with sugar water in it, you’ll be feeding the mosquitoes too so give some thought to moving it away from the house or eliminating it altogether.

    If they find nourishment close to your house, that’s where they’ll be. If they find it away from your house, that’s where they’ll be in that case. This should tell you how to keep mosquitoes away from your house – keep flowers, fruits, and hummingbird feeders as far away from your house as possible.

    It’s not a hundred percent guaranteed to keep them away all the time, but every little bit helps.

    What Are Female Mosquitoes?

    Female mosquitoes are the egg-laying half of the mosquito species. To the naked eye, there’s no way to tell them apart from the male mosquito, but under magnification the differences in their proboscis are obvious.

    Proboscis and Flagellum

    The female proboscis is long and slender. It has a needle-like appearance without any of the feathery or bushy flagellum of the male proboscis. They don’t need to go looking for the males because they know the males will chase them down.

    Males chasing females. Actually sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it?

    Life Span Of The Female Mosquito

    The life cycle for the female mosquito is identical to the male mosquito; egg, larva, and pupae. But then it changes when a female emerges from the pupae instead of a male.

    Once they leave the pupae stage, their life span is longer than the male life span. Under ideal conditions they can live for up to four weeks or longer, laying up to 200 eggs at a time every few days. It only takes one mating to fertilize them for the rest of their short lives.

    Do Female Mosquitoes Bite?

    Yes! Females are the ones that bite and leave itchy spots all over you. Or more accurately, they’re the bloodsuckers, the ones that suck your blood through their proboscis like drinking a milkshake through a straw. They eat sugary fluids – nectar and sweet juices – the same as their male counterparts, but once they’ve mated, they need protein in order to produce their eggs. Without a source of protein, they won’t be able to reproduce.

    Read Also: How to get rid of mosquito bites quickly?

    Female mosquitoes are drawn to sources of heat and carbon dioxide, both of which human beings produce simply by being alive. When they detect heat and carbon dioxide it tells them there is a warm-blooded mammal available for them to feed on.

    Incidentally, this is why mosquitoes so often buzz around your ears. There is a lot of uncovered surface area on your ears. The tiny capillaries in them exude a great deal of heat, and they are close to your mouth and nose where the carbon dioxide is coming from.

    Voilà! Instant mosquito magnet.

    After each feeding, the female will rest, usually on the underside of a leaf or branch until she is ready to lay a fresh batch of eggs. She’ll find a pool of stagnant water with bacteria and algae growing in it and lay her eggs. The larva will feed on the bacteria and algae while they’re growing, while the female flies off to suck some more blood in order to produce another batch of eggs.

    This cycle continues for the rest of her life. Depending on the weather conditions and available blood supplies, a female mosquito can lay over 1000 eggs in her brief lifetime.

    Female vs Male Mosquitoes?

    The major differences and one similarity, between male and female mosquitoes can be broken down into a simple chart.

    Characteristic Male Female
    Proboscis Feathery Appearance Thin and Slender
    Bite People No Yes
    Need Sugar Yes Yes
    Lifespan 7 days 2-4 weeks

    Do Male or Female Mosquitoes Make a Buzzing Sound?

    Both sexes make a buzzing or whining noise but there are differences between the sounds they make.

    Mosquitoes have one set of wings. The wings are almost as long as the mosquitoes themselves. The high-speed flapping of their wings when they fly creates a disturbance in the air that produces the characteristic whine you hear when mosquitoes are around. This means that mosquitoes only make a whining noise when they’re flying. That noise is called a flight tone and all flying insects have it to one degree or another.

    If mosquitoes are stationary, either resting or feeding, they won’t make any sound at all. They have to be flying in order to make any sound. That sound is how they communicate with each other, and it enables the male to track down the female so they can mate.

    The sounds males and females make are slightly different. Males flap their wings about 450-700 times per second. Females are a little slower, at around 350-550 times per second. The sounds they produce, when measured in Hertz means the males are making a buzzing noise at about 575Hz and the females at about 450Hz. Those translate as upper C and upper F respectively on the music scale.

    Final Thoughts On Male vs Female Mosquitoes

    As with all creatures great and small, it takes two to tango, a male and a female. Without both, the species will die out. If you can eliminate the male mosquito population around your house, the females who do all the biting will soon die out as well.

    Because both sexes depend on sugary liquids for their own survival, moving flowers and flowering plants away from your house is a good place to start. Remember, the female only sucks your blood in order to produce her eggs. For herself, she still needs the same things the male does.

    Eradicating all mosquitoes in the world will never be achieved, but there are a lot of things you can do to keep them away from you. Citronella torches are a good place to start to drive them away. There are also a lot of mosquito repellents available that do a good job, as well as a number of excellent mosquito pesticides you should look into.

    Life Span Of The Female Mosquito

    The life cycle for the female mosquito is identical to the male mosquito; egg, larva, and pupae. But then it changes when a female emerges from the pupae instead of a male. Once they leave the pupae stage, their life span is longer than the male life span. Under ideal conditions they can live for up to four weeks or longer, laying up to 200 eggs at a time every few days. It only takes one mating to fertilize them for the rest of their short lives.

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