Abdullahi, SEES Earth System Explorer 2023

Guest author

Mosquito Trap
Week 1
For the mosquito traps, I decided quite early on that my independent variable would be the container. I got 3 different containers; an old tire, a black bucket, and a gallon bottle/container while keeping all other factors the same. I used the same bait and the same amount of water and placed all 3 traps in my backyard behind the shade of the t​​​​​​​ree. I  decided on using a timeframe of about 5 days to take my samples.  ​​​​




Week 1:
Five days had passed, and it was time to sample the traps. Unfortunately, when I got outside, I noticed my tire trap, which I had the most hole for, had been basically destroyed by my neighbor’s dog so I had no values to report. Looking at the black bucket trap, there were 4 larvae in total surprisingly coming from 2 different species of larvae which I had not really thought about. There was the anopheles and the short-siphoned larvae. I hadn’t really expected much of the gallon trap, however, it did surprise me housing 3 larvae, all anopheles. After taking the mosquito habitat observation of each trap I emptied out the water and refilled it, also replacing the tire trap in the process.

Next day:
I decided to check up on the traps the next day on impulse, and what I found surprised me. The tire trap had five larvae in one day as well as 2 different larvae similar to the black bucket the previous day. The black bucket trap also had 5 in a day, showing the same variation in larvae type it had previously. However what                             
surprised me the most was the fact that the gallon trap had the most larvae with 7 in one day. It also had the most variation with 3 different larvae species. This led me to question whether lighter traps are more appealing to mosquitoes than darker ones or if the elevation, in this case, might have affected the amount of larvae captured in the trap (the gallon was in a bit higher elevation than the rest of the traps).





Week 2:
Another week, another destroyed trap. This time both the old tire and black bucket traps were meddled with/emptied out, so I decided to fix them both and change their location slightly in order to avoid future accidents. This would also make the results fairer/more equal as all the traps a re essentially in the same location receiving the same amount of shade. Next, I took the larvae samples of all the traps. The gallon trap had 13 larvae, the black bucket trap had a whopping 85 and the tire trap had 89. These results may validate the hypothesis I had at the beginning of the experiment, with the darker and older traps (specifically the tire) attracting more larvae than the lighter trap in form of the gallon. Placing them in the same vicinity had the intended effect of displaying this relation.


Week 3:
Alas, the final week of the mosquito trap experiment had arrived. I didn’t really expect much larvae turnover as the weather has been consistently in the 100
degree range with no rain. I walk over to inspect my traps, and find one of them, specifically the black bucket trap, has no water in it, it completely evaporated.

It also looks like some birds had meddled with that specific trap seeing as there was bird feces on it. This led to another question I had, why did only that specific trap completely evaporate even though they all had the same amount of water and similar levels of shade? The tire trap not completely evaporating is logical as it is rounded and hence has additional shade, however, the gallon trap has no such qualities and often retains the most amount of water. Perhaps the position the bucket is placed provides a more optimal angle to sun exposure compared to the other traps. Nonetheless, it was a 0 larvae count recording for the bucket trap.









Now it was time to analyze the results of both the gallon and tire trap, which had actually caught some larvae. After exceeding expectations in the first week, the gallon trap has inevitably come down to Earth with a total of 8 mosquito larvae for this week. Additionally, as projected, the tire trap seems to be most effective, with a total number of 72 larvae for the week.    

This experiment was definitely a fun journey to embark on; although it was not as controlled or conclusive as I would want it to be (with the destroyed traps and all), I still learned a substantial amount about the mosquito population in my community (as there were mainly 2 types of mosquito larvae: short siphoned and anopheles I believe) and what traps worked most effectively to trap larvae, in this case being the old tire trap (darker colored traps were also more effective). I believe the skills I've learned in this experiment will help me produce more conclusive results in future experiments and hope to reproduce this experiment in the near future in a more controlled environment to solidify further the claims made in this blog.

About the author: Abdullahi A, is a junior at Harmony School of Innovation in Sugar Land, TX. This virtual internship is part of a collaboration between the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and the NASA  Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC) to extend the TSGC Summer Enhancement in Earth Science (SEES) internship for U.S. high school ( This guest blog shares the NASA SEES Earth System Explorers virtual internship in 2023.



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