SEES 2022: Mosquito Mapping Research

Guest blog: Mia O.

*Last Updated July 14, 2022 

Purpose: For my experiment, I am testing what color container and type of water mosquitos are most attracted to.

Background research: During the weekly science session with Dr. Alison Parker, I learned more about mosquito habitats and where mosquitos breed. Mosquitos lay their eggs in/near water, and mosquitos in their early larvae and pupae stages live in water. This information guided me to choose my AOI coordinates in an area with standing water. The coordinates on the red line in the picture run along a ditch that leads into a bayou. I used three of these points as locations for my mosquito traps. 

Next, I had to decide what variables I would be testing. I chose to test what water type attracts female mosquitos because I had tap water and ditch/bayou water at close access. I did some research about mosquitoes and their attraction to color. It is scientifically proven mosquitoes are attracted to light (natural and artificial). Some mosquitoes are also attracted to other color UV lights, including green, blue, and black. Instead of purchasing different colored lights for my traps, I purchased different colored containers. 

More about my experiment and variables: I made six ovitraps located in three shady locations with two traps at each site. My test includes three assorted color containers: transparent, light green, and black. I used tap water for three traps and ditch/bayou water for the other three traps. The controls in my experiment include 1.25L soda containers, rocks, sticks, fish bait, and water amount. 

My hypothesis: My original hypothesis is that the mosquitoes will be most attracted to the black containers because they blend in with the mosquito habitat and ditch water because of the nutrients in the water. 


  1. Four 1.25L clear soda containers
  2. Two 1.25L sprite/ green soda containers
  3. Black Duct-Tape (one roll)
  4. Big clear scotch shipping Tape (one roll)
  5. Bag of big river rocks or rocks from outside 
  6. Popsicle sticks (18)
  7. Box cutter
  8. Scissors
  9. One cup measuring tool
  10. One tablespoon measuring tool 
  11. Goldfish food 
  12. Labels 
  13. Sharpie 

How to make traps:

  1. Empty soda containers.
  2. Cut soda bottles with a box cutter (use soda brand label as a reference to cut sodas equally).
  3. Add as many rocks as needed to the bottom of the container (should fill about half of the bottom).
  4. Add three popsicle sticks into the container. 
  5. Flip the top part of the soda that got cut off into the bottom part of the soda. 
  6. Tape the top part of the container with clear tape. 
  7. Duct tape two of the traps with black tape all around the sides and bottom. 
  8. Add labels on all the containers. (Example of two of my traps below)

Setting up traps: 

Some things to bring with you to the trap location include:

  1.  Tap water
  2. Goldfish food 
  3. NASA SEES badge 
  4. One cup measuring cup 
  5. One tablespoon measuring spoon
  6. Sunglasses and a hat
  7. Bug spray*
  8. Gloves 
  9. Proper shoes

Once I arrived at a trap location, I filled one trap with one cup of tap water and another with ditch/ bayou water. I added two tablespoons of goldfish food to each trap. I secured the traps in a shady location. Next, I went to the GLOBE observe app and made a landcover and mosquito habitat observation in the trap location. I repeated these steps for the other trap locations. 

How it's going/ setbacks: 

Week 2:

Day 5: I planned to check my traps every 5 days; however, I went out to the traps and did not see signs of mosquito eggs, larvae, or pupae. However, I saw a few dead house flies in 3/6 containers. I decided I would wait till day 7 to check on traps again. 

Day 7: The larvae, eggs, and pupae were hard to identify, but I tried my best to get the most accurate numbers! I had 2 people ask me more about my traps and experiments. They were very interested!

Black Traps:

  • Trap 1 Tap- This trap had 8 larvae
  • Traps 2 Ditch- This trap had 7 larvae

Clear Traps: 

  • Trap 3 Tap- This trap had 16 larvae 
  • Trap 4 Ditch- This trap had 12 larvae, 2 pupae 

Green Traps: 

Traps 5 and 6 had 0 larvae because both traps, unfortunately, got tipped over by the storm at night. I hope to get better results next week. 

Week 3:

Black Traps:

  • Trap 1 Tap- This trap had 6 larvae
  • Trap 2 Ditch- This trap had 2 larvae + 8 eggs

Clear Traps: 

  • Trap 3 Tap- This trap had 11 larvae 
  • Trap 4 Ditch- This trap had 3 larvae

Green Traps: 

  • Trap 5 Tap- This trap had 0 larvae 
  • Trap 6 Ditch- This trap had 5 larvae

I could not work the cellphone microscope, but I got a video of the larvae moving on my phone. The quality of the upload is bad, but while I was at the site, I identified the mosquito larvae as Aedes Aegypti.

Week 4: 

Black Traps:

  • Trap 1 Tap- This trap had 2 larvae
  • Traps 2 Ditch- This trap had 0 larvae 

Clear Traps: 

  • Trap 3 Tap- This trap had 6 larvae 
  • Trap 4 Ditch- This trap had 5 larvae

Green Traps: 

  • Trap 5 Tap- This trap had 0 larvae 
  • Trap 6 Ditch- This trap had 2larvae

This week, my results were not what I had expected. Compared to last week, there was a decrease in mosquito larvae. I noticed that there were lots of baby spiders in 2 of my trap locations but could not identify the type of spider because of the size. Later while cleaning out water from my traps, I noticed a larger spider. It wasn't until I got home that I realized the spiders I was dealing with were Black Widows. 

This week I got a close-up photo of one of the larvae in trap 3, which I believe to be Aedes larvae because of the long siphon. 

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