SEES 2022: Mosquito Habitat Experiment

Guest blog: Ravnoor B.

For my experiment, I decided to see which fruits or foods in general that mosquitos would be attracted to. From left to right, it was the cantaloupe, watermelon, control(which is nothing), and a pineapple in the last one. I wanted to test whether different fruits or foods affected the amount of larvae and mosquitos that are born. For the first week of testing, I did not spot anything or any mosquitoes. The biggest issue I had was the amount of ants attracted to the bottles. I also had many dead beetles and bugs dead in the trap, which did not surprise me. However, I saw some larvae but was unable to confirm due to the variety of insects. When I came back for the second week of testing, I still did not spot anything but just an abundant amount of ants running in and out the bottle where there was the watermelon and the cantaloupe. To fix this error, I will attempt to put it at a higher place and try to not let ants reach them, but this might be a temporary solution. This time, I will try to separate the traps a bit further from each other and make it easier for mosquitos to lay larvae and to spot. I am waiting for an exciting results and can't wait to see my first actual larvae. 

Week 2:

During week 2, I had changed the location of the traps onto an elevated surface with some cover from the sun so it remained dark. I attempted to hand them but they were too heavy for the strings to stay up. A complication I had was that there was a heavy rainstorm, in where the bottle with the watermelon had fallen down so I will replace it soon with a new slice. As for the results, nothing extraordinary was found. I looked into each one, and saw no mosquito larvae, however, I did see some flys I could not identify flying near the traps, but I could not close to them. In the trap where there was a pineapple, I saw a random spider there where I believe were spider eggs. This is a big issue with my experiment, as it is prone to attract many other insects which are not mosquitos. 

I will now replace each trap with new samples of the fruit and water and attempt to restrict the number of ants, spiders, and bees which corrupt the sample 


The top right is cantaloupe, bottom right WAS watermelon, bottom left is control(water), and top left was watermelon before eaten by ants one again :(






Week 3:

Top Left: Kiwi, Bottom Left: Grape, Top Right: Watermelon, Bottom Right: Control(Nothing)

So for week 3, it has been better than the previous weeks, especially since there was no ant infestation in the cups. This location proves to better than before, considering there is more shade and darkness. In the control(bottom right), you are able to see some remnants of previous insects climbing in which I was unable to clean out. In the kiwi and grape, I replaced them with new water and fruits and there have been no larvae or mosquito sitings on them. However, for the watermelon(top right), I am able to see some developments in the water and I am unsure about what it is. I assume it could be eggs from mosquitos or dust from the cover on top of the traps, but I may be getting ahead of myself. Overall, this week has been satisfactory, even if larvae have still not been seen.

Week 4:

This week has been better than the rest, considering that mosquito larvae were spotted in the grape trap. This might be because the durability of the grape was able to survive the hot conditions and insects near the trap, which allowed the mosquitos to enter. I was unable to take a photo due to my camera lens being fractured. Overall, in better conditions and less experimental error, more mosquitos may have been attracted to the traps and been able to lay larvae. One small conclusion that could be made is that mosquitos are attracted to more sweet that not, solely because the 0 larvae in the control group. 

About the author: Ravnoor is a senior at The Bronx High School of Science, in Bronx, NY. This blog Ravnoor Bedidescribes a mosquito trapping experiment conducted as part of the NASA STEM Enhancement in the Earth Sciences (SEES) summer high school research internship. 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 ( ​​​​​​​

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