They want to suck your blood… but through a needle and for a good cause.

The Tri-Counties Blood Bank is currently experiencing a shortage of blood resulting from high usage at local hospitals and the current cold and flu season.

“Right now a lot of our usual donors have the flu, so they’re unable to donate,” TCBB representative Mary Ann Bittle said.

Bittle said the supply of blood generally dips in February due to the flu season but this year the supply has fallen lower than usual.

The blood bank supplies 150 pints of blood daily to hospitals in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Salinas. Currently, inventory is at 40 percent of the typical level, leaving TCBB approximately 200 pints short.

Blood types O positive and A positive are in particularly short supply because of the number of hospital patients in need of these types.

“O and A are the most common types, consequently more people use them,” Bittle said.

In an attempt to compensate for the shortage, TCBB hosted blood drives on campus Monday and Tuesday.

“We had a great turnout both days,” Bittle said.

To donate blood, stop by the TCBB office at 902 Laguna St. or call 965-7037 to make an appointment.