Mosquito Citizen Science: Asian Tiger Mosquito Invasive Boundary Project
What: Project where community members build traps to collect mosquito eggs and take pictures of the adult mosquitoes that emerge.
When: The 2020 project is concluded.
Why we need help: The Asian tiger mosquito is originally from Asia. It was introduced to the United States decades ago and every year the Asian tiger mosquito moves farther north. This mosquito is aggressive and bites people throughout the day. Besides being a huge nuisance, they are capable of spreading a number of disease causing agents (such as viruses and dog heartworm) that can make humans and pets sick. Having more information regarding the mosquito’s location will help us focus research efforts to prevent the spread of diseases.
Project Goal: Our goal is to figure out how far north the Asian tiger mosquito has moved. We are seeking concerned citizen scientists like you to help us find the Asian tiger mosquito. Your participation should be fun and educational! It would involve making a mosquito trap out of household supplies and recyclables and reporting back if you catch an Asian tiger mosquito. Along the way you’ll learn about the risks these mosquitoes pose to human health and how you can prevent them from infesting your community.
How to Participate
This project has concluded, but you can still make traps to look for the Asian tiger mosquito in your area. We have left the instructions here for you.
Build a trap: Make a mosquito trap out of recycled materials and household items by following a short guide. You will place the trap in your yard between late July and mid-October.
Watch this short YouTube video for instructions on building your mosquito trap.
You can also find short videos that cover mosquito basics, the lifecycle of the Asian tiger mosquito, and the basics of mosquito control on our YouTube channel!
Question: Do I have to place the trap on a specific day?
Answer: The Asian tiger mosquito season is roughly between late July 22 and mid-October 16. If you place a trap outside of this date range, you will have a lower chance of catching the correct mosquito.
Question: Can we place multiple traps?
Answer: Please do!
Question: Am I at risk of getting a virus from the mosquitoes in my trap?
Answer: You are collecting mosquito eggs and hatching adults that have never fed. This means they have not had the opportunity to pick up a virus or parasite from an animal or person. The same cannot be said for the mosquitoes in your yard, though. To reduce your risk of being bitten by a mosquito, follow the CDC guidance at www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html.
Question: How long will each part of the experiment take?
Answer: Each step of this experiment will take a different amount of time. In all, the experiment should take around 2 weeks.
- Egg traps: You will leave the egg trap out for 4 to 6 days, allowing it to sit for just a few days after you see eggs in it. Make sure to look for eggs in your trap on a daily basis.
- Egg sheet: The egg sheet will dry over 1 night (no more than 12 hours).
- Hatching: You will flood the eggs to hatch them, and it will take between 7 and 9 days to start seeing adults in your trap. You will need to put the second part of the trap on once you see mosquito larvae.
If you have additional questions please feel free to contact our program directly at email@example.com!
This project is part of a larger endeavor on the development of climate-informed decision-support tools for the prevention of Aedes-borne disease in the US through Columbia University’s Earth Institute, funded by the International Research and Applications Program (IRAP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Award NA18AOR4310339). Visit the IRAP project website for more details.