Ryan C, SEES Earth System Explorer 2023

Guest author

I built my mosquito traps on June 20th and ran the experiment until July 15th. I collected a total of 15 observations during this period. To construct the traps I used three identical pots to hold water. The goal of my experiment was to find which type of mosquito bait would be the most effective at attracting and sheltering mosquitos. For the three baits I used dried leaves, grass clippings, and a wooden plank. I chose these three baits because they represent possible real life environments that mosquitos may breed in. The dried leaves simulates a pool of water that does not evaporate due to the shade of a tree and has fallen leaves in it. The grass clippings represent a puddle of water in is a grass field that is a result of over-watering, and the wooden plank represents a fallen branch or a plant with water surrounding it. 

I originally set the three pots out in my front lawn in the hope of attracting mosquitos but when it came for the first time to check for mosquito larvae, the water had dried out. As a result I had to move the pots in between a fence and my house so that it receives full shade and the water does not dry out. In addition to this, I decided to check at a 5 day interval to allow for the water to stay and mosquitos to still be present. 

Pot with a wooden plank to represent a plant, tree, or fallen twig.

Pot with leaves to represent a pool of water with fallen leaves in it possibly due to the shade of a tree.

Pot with grass clippings to represent a puddle within a grass patch.

Unfortunately, throughout the entire runtime of the experiment, I did not detect any mosquito larvae. As a result I am unable to make any conclusions regarding the effectiveness of various mosquito baits. However, I know that there have been mosquitos around my house before in the past, which leads me to conclude that the environment at the time of the experiment was not suitable for mosquitos. During the experiment, the temperature regularly reached +90° F and, on some occasions, reached over 100° F. I believe that the temperature is the cause of the lack of mosquitoes. This result leads to the question of whether and how temperature affects mosquito reproduction. As a follow-up to this experiment, we can conduct a similar one where instead of different baits being the independent variable, we use temperature and place multiple mosquito traps within the same region in areas with varying temperatures, such as the beach or inner city. 

About the author

​​​​​​​Ryan​​​​​​​ is from Los Angeles, CA. 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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