SEES 2022: Mosquito Trapping Investigation

Guest blog: Tejas R.

For my experiment, I am testing whether different types of baits would have different impacts on mosquito larvae breeding grounds.

Introduction: Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet. According to the World Health Organization, mosquitoes are responsible for the deaths of over 1 million people each year, most of which are caused by the spread of diseases, such as malaria. To help slow this trend, it is important for citizens like me to identify any potential mosquito habitats, as well as note any preferences within these habitats. In my experiment, I created multiple mosquito breeding grounds to help distinguish a preference amongst mosquito larvae.

Identifying Mosquitoes: Being able to identify a mosquito is crucial to prevent the spread of diseases. For example, Anopheles mosquitoes are especially known for their unique ability to carry Malaria, the most deadly of vector-borne diseases. Below is an image to help identify a mosquito based on its larvae.

Experimental Design: After some research about ideal mosquito habitats, I learned that mosquitos are attracted to potassium rich environments, so I decided to create a trap using potato peels, a vegetable rich in potassium. There were a total of 3 traps, one trap with potato peel infused water, one trap with salt water, and finally one trap with multiple flowers. Using identical buckets and identical sticks,  I filled each bucket with an equal volume of water and a stick of the same length to reduce the variables in my experiment. After filling the buckets and creating the traps, it was time to wait for the results.













Results: The 3 traps were set and I monitored them daily for any signs of mosquito larvae. I also noticed that some flowers from the tree above fell into the salt water bucket, and this may have caused some disruption to the experiment. After about 5 days, I noticed and abundance of mosquito larvae in the jar containing potato peel infused water, while the other two traps did not have any visible signs of mosquito larvae. I scooped out a sample of these larvae, and used my phone microscope to inspect them. 

The results are shown below:




Potato Peel Water (Shows signs of Mosquito Larvae)







Flower Water








Salt Water (Unfortunately Flowers Fell in)






























10 facts about mosquitoes, the world's deadliest animal. RTI. (2022, June 29). Retrieved July 25, 2022, from 

The 24 deadliest animals on Earth, ranked. CNET. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2022, from 

Vectorborne Diseases. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2022, from 

The most deadly animals - hardy diagnostics. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2022, from 


​​​​​​​About the author: Tejas is a senior at Allen High School, Allen, Tx. His 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 ( Tejas shares his experience in this blog post.

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