My experiment is to determine which type of water and bait is most attractive to mosquitos. I had 6 large buckets total, and I filled 3 of them with tap water and the other 3 with water from a pond. The pond contained algae which were included in the water sample. From there, I used fish food, sugar, and grass as my different baits, and I included 1 cupful of each bait in the water samples. 


My hypothesis was that the pond water would have more mosquito larvae than the tap water because it contained bacteria, nutrients, and other organic material that could be helpful in sustaining the mosquitos. I also thought mosquitos would be averse to the tap water because it contained other chemicals and wasn't natural like the pond water. 

I thought that the most successful bait would be sugar, followed by fish food, and then grass. From previous papers I read, I learned that female mosquitos drank human blood in order to get enough sugar to lay their eggs. These papers explained that mosquitos were apparently attracted to sugar, which was my reasoning behind thinking sugar water would be the most successful. Fish food was next because I thought that since it already contained so many nutrients, female mosquitos would be drawn to it. Grass was last, because I used large grass chunks which I thought might be hard for the mosquitos to ingest, compared to the dissolved sugar and fish food. 


After the first week, I collected the following data:

Pond Grass - 2 larvae

Pond Sugar - 3 larvae

Pond Fish Food - 52 larvae

Tap Grass - 15 larvae

Tap Sugar - 0 larvae

Tap Fish Food - 36 larvae

These results were mirrored in the following weeks and I found that overall, pond water was much more successful than tap water. In regards to bait, I found that fish food was actually the most successful, followed by grass, and lastly sugar. 

Discussion and Errors

It seemed that the pond water was generally more successful in drawing in female mosquitos and fish food was the most successful bait. I definitely want to look into why the tap grass was so relatively successful and if it was an experimental error. Some other interesting things I noticed were that there were a bunch of flies surrounding the experiment area, and there was some sort of white creature on the side of the bucket trying to climb up, which could possibly be fly eggs? There were also ants, snails, and other various bugs on and inside the buckets. Other difficulties were that the water had mostly evaporated by the time I checked the buckets and was only half full. Another error was that it rained one day I wasn't at home and the bucket overflowed. Also, there were so many larvae in the fish food buckets it was impossible to count them all, so I only counted those that were visible. After looking at mosquito samples with a microscope, I found that the species of mosquito found in all the samples were of the Aedes genus!










About the author: Ankhi is a junior at Round Rock High School, Round Rock, TX. This blog ​​​​​​​describes a mosquito trapping experiment conducted as part of the NASA STEM Enhancement in the Earth Sciences (SEES) summer high school research internship. Her 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 US high school ( ​​​​​​​


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