The summer season is all about gathering outdoors to enjoy the warm weather. People are likely already aware of pests such as flies and gnats landing in their food, but it may surprise you to know that mosquitoes have a penchant for eating sugary food and liquids. So is it safe to eat food after mosquitoes have gotten to it?
Adult mosquitoes need to consume nectar or sugar to survive. If there is a lack of flowering plants in your yard, outdoor picnics and gatherings may also attract mosquitoes.
Although less dangerous than flies, it is advisable to discard food or drink that mosquitoes have landed in to avoid possible pathogens.
Mosquitoes eating and drinking your food is not common, but it does occasionally happen. In this guide, we will explore food safely regarding mosquito contact.
We will also give you some tips on how to keep mosquitoes away from your food. Read on to find out more.
What Do Mosquitoes Eat?
The most common misconception about mosquitoes is that they survive only on mammalian blood. The truth of the matter is that mosquitoes only need warm blood from a host for reproduction.
And only the females draw blood from humans and animals. The males do not bite people or animals at all.
Mosquitoes, both males and females, survive on nectar from flowering plants or any alternative sugar source. This means that nectar, sap from plants and trees, and honey are all within a mosquito’s natural diet.
So if you live in an area that lacks these natural resources in abundance, it is perfectly natural to sometimes find mosquitoes feasting on spilled sugary liquids, or even landing on cups with such liquids to drink from them.
Sweets in food form are also up for grabs since mosquitoes can extract the sugar from the foods for nourishment.
If a mosquito is deprived of nectar in the natural environment, and cannot extract sugar from people’s food and drink, it will die in as little as 1-3 days.
But the biggest concern for people when it comes to this behavior is the transmission of mosquito diseases and pathogens. Can the same issues from mosquito bites pertain to mosquitoes landing in food or drink?
Can Mosquitoes Contaminate Food?
Mosquitoes are actually a dangerous pest. This has been the case for centuries now, and all of this is related to females biting and extracting blood from people.
This behavior is only practiced when the female needs to fertilize her eggs. Female mosquitoes do not survive on blood at all, and the males never bite.
The main problem with disease transmission from mosquitoes is found in their proboscis, which is used to pierce skin and suck blood from a host.
This makes this insect a vector since it transmits diseases and germs as it feeds on the blood of various people and other animals. This is a style of severe cross-contamination.
But when it comes to mosquitoes eating sweet foods or drinks, you would think the same rule would apply. But it doesn’t; disease transmission immediately hits a person’s bloodstream during a mosquito bite.
Any contaminants mosquitoes may deposit in food or drink would pass through a person’s powerful digestive system.
But since mosquitoes also land on all sorts of outdoor surfaces and other people and animals, there could be a risk of foodborne illness if they pass along bacteria or a virus. Stomach acid is powerful, but not impenetrable.
Mosquitoes would be attracted to the sweet foods and drinks you may have outdoors during mosquito season. There are also the dangers of the insects sticking around for a blood meal as well after feasting on sugars.
So there are some minor dangers here, but not drastic such as a similar situation found with flies.
With that in mind, are there any types of foods that can draw mosquitoes toward your yard?
What Kind of Human Foods Would Mosquitoes Eat?
The main culprit here would be sugary or artificially sweetened beverages. These types of drinks are always popular at outdoor parties, barbecues, gatherings, etc.
But your morning coffee or tea, if sweetened, could also be an attractant for mosquitoes.
Again, it is unlikely this would happen if your yard is filled with nectarous plants and foliage; the insects would go to these sources first.
But virtually anything with sugar in it is an attractant. This can include any fruits, either in your garden or laid out on a table during an outdoor meal.
Kool-Aid, fruit juices, sugary sodas, popsicles, ice cream, and even alcohol are also attractants. Alcoholic beverages are interesting in that drinking these liquids can actually attract female mosquitoes to you for a blood meal.
Beer and liquor lack the sugar that would draw mosquitoes to the beverages, but ethanol in a person’s blood lures mosquitoes due to its moisture content in the blood.
As mentioned, the sugar in cakes and cookies and other desserts can also draw mosquitoes to these types of foods. Although the reality is that sugary liquids would be more within their desired choice since they can easily digest the liquids.
Now that you know what foods and drinks are mosquito attractants, let’s explore how you can keep mosquitoes away from your food.
How To Keep Mosquitoes Off Food
Keeping mosquitoes away from food and drinks follows the same methods you would use for flies. Always keep foods wrapped or sealed in containers when outdoors.
For open beverages or cups of sugary coffee and tea, you may want to consider placing these liquids in a container with a lid when consuming the beverages outdoors.
Apart from these tips, treating your yard to the best of your ability is also beneficial to keeping mosquitoes away completely.
Foggers are a great way to achieve this since the fumigant will saturate foliage where mosquitoes will congregate.
You can also ensure that no standing water is kept in your yard. Pools should be fine since the chemicals will deter mosquitoes.
In this situation, you would not be the attractant, so you can skip applying topical deterrents if the insects are after nectar and sugar alone.
Should You Throw Food Out If Mosquitoes Land On It?
So should you throw food or liquids away if mosquitoes land in it? This is really up to you. The pathogens mosquitoes carry are usually only transmitted when females bite, so ingesting any of these germs would likely be destroyed by gastric acids.
But just to be safe, you may want to go ahead and throw the food or drink out anyway. Mosquitoes fly and land on numerous things as well as other people and animals. Don’t run the risk of picking germs that could potentially make you sick.
In summary, it is marginally safe to eat food or consume drinks that mosquitoes have landed in or have consumed. It’s mosquito bites that you should be concerned about.
But it is better to be safe than sorry, so go ahead and throw the items away and take steps to keep your food and drinks covered when outdoors.
Treat for mosquitoes accordingly if they are present in your yard.
Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:7 bugs you can use to keep mosquitoes away
Friendly Visitors that Can Help Control Mosquitoes in and around Your House
What are mosquitoes attracted to? Lets Find Out!
Finding tiny black bugs in your bathroom can be uncomfortable, to say the least. Especially if they are persistent, or they appear in very large numbers, which they often like to do. When it...
A short horror story: You get a new houseplant. You do your best to take care of it. You’ve ensured that it has the right soil, the right amount of sun, it gets enough water. And then one day, you...