I [says researcher Emily Dennis] keep a lot of different stocks and end up feeding about 8 cages every three months. Each cage has about 500-1000 mosquitoes.
Everyone in the lab keeps their own stocks. Most people feed on their arms, some people use mice, and some people use an artificial feeder. I like to feed on myself because:
- I get lots of street cred as a scientist
- I get a lot of my hypotheses from watching mosquitoes interact with my skin
- Because I don’t want to select for mosquitoes that feed well on membrane feeders/mice.
I am pretty resistant to the bites after feeding regularly, so I only have a red arm for a few hours after this. In fact, feeding a few hundred mosquitoes is much better than feeding just one or two.
With one or two, you get individual, itchy bumps. With a whole armful your arm just feels hot (because of the inflammatory response).