The colony was picky — it wouldn’t feed on anesthetized mice or drink from a container covered with a membrane. These mosquitoes retained their behavior from the wild: They wanted blood straight from a human, and only in darkness. So [researcher Sam] Rund would feed them for about 15 minutes at a time. He’s a pro at it now; after the first two months of feeding mosquitoes, his body got used to it.
“Once you’ve blood-fed enough mosquitoes for a long enough period, you become tolerized, so your immune system, kind of, stops overreacting,” Rund said.
For researchers investigating how mosquitoes spread deadly diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya, laboratory protocols sometimes involve “donating” blood to the cause. And the cause is urgent — mosquito-borne pathogens kill millions of people annually all over the world.