Invasive Mosquito Project
About this lesson
In order to get a census of invasive mosquito populations, students are asked to collect eggs and send the eggs to the USDA. Doing so will give the USDA a good figure of invasive mosquito population distributions across the United States which can help with public health.
How to participate
Gather supplies! A note on oviposition cups -- Ideally, the interior of the cups should be black, red, or dark colored, like these.
With a permanent marker, label germination paper (paper towels) with location information, date, cup name (A or B) and water level.
Take germination papers and place ends together to make a large tube with the paper towels. Place the rolled papers in the oviposition cups. Label the cups “A” and “B” on the exterior and be sure the corresponding “A” and “B” papers are in each cup (sun and umbrella drawings are completely optional).
Punch drainage holes in the cup at 2/3 of the way to prevent overfilling with water during rain or when refilling.
Weigh down the cups with rocks to prevent it from being knocked over (ask us how we know this.)
Place cup A in a very sunny location with full sun most of the day -- the location can be any place on dirt, cement, decks, beautiful bricks... Place cup B in a permanently shady and protected location such as under a roof or bush.
Then fill the cups 2/3 of the way with water. Check on the cups’ water levels once a day. If the water has evaporated, refill to the 2/3 level. The cup should not fill with water because of the drainage holes, but if it has, carefully dump the water so it returns to the 2/3 level (be careful of any eggs in the container).
Leave cups out for seven days.
After seven days, take germination paper out of the cup and let it air dry with the eggs (this will prevent them from hatching).
After the paper and eggs are dry, count eggs and record data on the Collection Record Form and enter data (see the ENTER DATA HERE button below).
Mail collection record form and oviposition paper (dried and folded in thirds and place into a Ziploc bag) to the USDA (see mailing address below).
To avoid contact with the egg-laying mosquitoes, avoid going near oviposition cups when possible, except to add water. Participants should wear long sleeves, pants, and mosquito repellent when near the cups. For the safety of the participants and their collections, cups should be placed near the home. Teachers might also find a location near their classroom for additional cups. When observations and discussion have ended, send 3/4th of dried paper and eggs to a local collaborator (within the same city) who can do the identifications or the USDA in Manhattan, Kansas. Please be careful when shipping eggs; do not send them to other locations because these are invasive species and can colonize locations quickly and easily.
ATTN: Invasive Mosquito Project
1515 College Avenue
Manhattan, KS 66502
- Oviposition cups (ideally, interior of cup should be black, red, or dark colored)
- Germination paper – (brown or dark paper towel)
- Permanent Marker
About the science
The Invasive Mosquito Project is aimed at monitoring invasive container-inhabiting mosquito species across the United States. By doing this monitoring, we can determine where the invasive mosquito species, as well as native species, are distributed across the U.S. and define at-risk human and animal populations based on this distribution. This citizen science project provides students, teachers, and anyone interested the opportunity to collect real data and contribute to a national mosquito species distribution study. This project not only gives individuals an opportunity to explore and collect around their house, but also raises awareness of diseases that can be transmitted by mosquitoes, and how they can make an effort to protect themselves, communities, and pets from illness.
Recent disease outbreaks of mosquito transmitted pathogens (West Nile, eastern equine encephalitis, dengue, and chikungunya) demonstrate the need to educate children and adults about the public health risks posed by mosquitoes. By participating in this project, individuals will learn how to protect themselves, their family and pets from mosquito transmitted pathogens. And at the same time they will learn valuable skills such as firsthand experience in gathering and recording scientific data.
Recruiting Students in Fight Against Zika
Why is this important?
The CDC’s maps are based on historical reports, it’s important to keep these maps updated as mosquito populations grow and change. Scientists suspect that Aedes aegypti could carry Zika well beyond the Southeast during the summer, and the more cold-hardy Asian tiger mosquito could be biting into the Midwest and Northeast.
About the Scientist
Dr. Cohnstaedt became interested in research while working on science projects at the local University as a junior and senior in high school. He has always tried to create the same opportunities for others and to promote STEM education. He hopes the Invasive Mosquito Project will get people excited about research as they participate in the data collection and analysis. In this way, they will learn the value and importance of their impact on their surroundings.
About the SciArt
About the Artist
Belinda currently calls Austin, Texas home and getting in touch with her is as simple as finding her on Instagram, Twitter, or her Tumblr. See more of her work at belindavega.myportfolio.com.
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- 8.L.1 – Understand the hazards caused by agents of diseases that effect living organisms.
- 8.L.1.1 – Summarize the basic characteristics of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites relating to the spread, treatment and prevention of disease.
- 8.L.1.2 – Explain the difference between epidemic and pandemic as it relates to the spread, treatment and prevention of disease.
- 8.L.2 – Understand how biotechnology is used to affect living organisms.
- 8.L.2.1 – Summarize aspects of biotechnology including: • Specific genetic information available • Careers • Economic benefits to North Carolina • Ethical issues • Implications for agriculture
- Bio.2.1.2 – Analyze the survival and reproductive success of organisms in terms of behavioral, structural, and reproductive adaptations.
- Bio.2.1.3 – Explain various ways organisms interact with each other (including predation, competition, parasitism, mutualism) and with their environments resulting in stability within ecosystems.
- Bio.2.1.4 – Explain why ecosystems can be relatively stable over hundreds or thousands of years, even though populations may fluctuate (emphasizing availability of food, availability of shelter, number of predators and disease).
- Bio.2.2 – Understand the impact of human activities on the environment (one generation affects the next).
- Bio.2.2.1 – Infer how human activities (including population growth, pollution, global warming, burning of fossil fuels, habitat destruction and introduction of nonnative species) may impact the environment.