SEES 2022: Mosquito Habitat Experiment

Guest blog: Iona X.

For my mosquito habitat experiment, I decided to study the depth of container.  I had a large bucket, a medium bucket, and a small bucket.  For the first week, I decided to add fish food, but I am thinking about adding different types of baits throughout the weeks!  

Here was my original set up, with it being placed under a tree in my backyard.

Additionally, I had placed two more at different AOI.  I placed both of these containers in bushes.  At one AOI it was inside a tall bush, while in the other it was in the middle of a shrub.

When I first checked in after around 5 days, there seems to have been some problems.  While I could not find any larvae, I had found a myriad of bugs in each of the containers.  In my at home experiment, the shallow container had ran out of water (due to the heat wave we had) and had also had a dead bug in it, while the others did not have much else.  The large bucket had also gotten dirty, so I changed out the water.

My other traps unfortunately also had various issues with bugs.  In one of my traps, it got infested by ants.  In my other trap, there seemed to be a beetle.  It is possible that due to the intense heat, bugs tried to get into the water in order to drink and then fell in.


After no luck the first two weeks (the second week was pretty similar to the first week).  I decided to set up some more experiments.  I wanted to test how the type of bait may affect the number of mosquitos there (or just get some mosquitos to come), so I set up cups with 4 different types of water: sugar water, water with bones, water with leaves, and water with grass (an example of the grass water is below).  I set these up in the front and back of my house.

I also set up a random bucket filled with leaves and grass as a last-ditch effort to yield some mosquitos in the grass next to a bunch of bushes and it worked! About 40 mosquito larvae were in there after a couple of days swimming around.


Conclusions: While not everything went according to plan, I was still able to gather many conclusions from this experiment.  First, mosquitos do not enjoy water that is really dirty such as the large bucket in the first experiment.  They also tend to not choose smaller cups, such as those in the second experiment.  Lastly, it seems like mosquitos enjoy areas that are more grassy and bushy as opposed to on a more rocky ground.

Thanks for reading! 

About the author: Iona is a senior at Monta Vista High School. This blog describes a mosquito Iona Xia ​​​​​​​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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