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Why and how do we conduct mosquito surveillance at West Side Mosquito & VCD?

Routine surveillance helps us to identify the species of mosquitoes, to monitor diseases present in mosquito populations, and to implement control measures in high-risk areas. One of the first cues that female mosquitoes use to find humans is following the trails of carbon dioxide we exhale. Mosquitoes have receptors on their bodies, including on their antennae and legs, which equip them to sense carbon dioxide, as well as sniff body sweat and other odors humans produce. Once they have taken blood, female mosquitoes will look for nutrient-rich water to lay eggs. We use this knowledge to our advantage and set up various traps to collect and monitor different species and their different reproductive life stages. 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) trap:

CO2 traps are set in the field for 10-12 hours. The trap constitutes a plastic container attached to a fan, which is powered by a battery and an insulated, black container full of dry ice (which is a solid form of CO2) is set beside the fan. Holes on the dry ice container release plumes of carbon dioxide which lure mosquitoes to the trap. When a mosquito nears the trap, the impellor fan suctions them into the plastic container, where they are trapped until collected (typically the next day). A hole on the plastic container (covered with mesh) allows a collector to peer inside without opening the trap. The continuous operation of the fan keeps mosquitoes from escaping.

BG-Sentinel trap:

This trap targets female mosquitoes seeking blood. It is operated for 10-12 hours using a 12V battery. It uses scents that mimic human odors and visual cues (black center with a white background) to entice host-seeking mosquitoes. It can also be deployed with dry ice (CO2). Artificial human scent lures are mostly effective in trapping human-loving mosquitoes like the ‘ankle-biting’ Aedes aegypti.

Gravid trap:

The word ‘gravid’ means ‘pregnant’ or ‘carrying eggs.’ This trap is designed to attract female mosquitoes that are looking for a suitable water source to lay their eggs (after obtaining blood). The bottom tray holds stinky, nutrient-rich water, which is a fermented infusion of yeast and animal (rabbit and hog) chow.

As female mosquitoes land on the water to lay their eggs they are sucked up into a collection container that sits inside the top (grey) box. The fan is operated with a battery that lasts for about 10-12 hours. 

New Jersey Light Traps:

The New Jersey Light Trap was the very first trap type used to monitor male and female adult mosquito populations, with origins dating back to the 1930s.  The New Jersey Light Trap uses a basic light bulb to attract mosquitoes and a motorized fan to draw mosquitoes into the trap itself.  This trap is primarily used to measure the overall abundance of mosquito populations and establish historical population trends.

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