Mosquito Abundance and Distribution

How does landscape composition and mowing frequency influence mosquito abundance and diversity in Cleveland’s vacant lots?

Mosquito surveillance can provide us with information about mosquito populations and whether they differ based on plant communities and mowing frequency. The types of mosquitos in our neighborhoods, their abundance, and the factors that impact their population density are important details that can inform mosquito management. Reducing the mosquito population can protect people from mosquito bites and the diseases that mosquitos can vector to humans, such as West Nile Virus.


(photo: Liu with a light trap.)

How was this research conducted?

Adult mosquitos were collected in all eight neighborhoods during the summer of 2015 and 2016 using CDC light traps and gravid traps from control and successional treatments. The light traps use light and carbon dioxide as bait to target all variety of mosquitos in the field. Gravid traps use smelly water as bait, targeting blood-fed Culex spp. mosquitos which are vectors of West Nile virus.

Trapped mosquitos will be identified to species level. All Culex spp. mosquitos will be sent to the Ohio Department of Health to test whether they carry West Nile Virus.

What impact can this research have? 

We will discover what impact mowing has on mosquito abundance and diversity and can then make recommendations about mowing frequency of vacant lots to suppress the mosquito population. We will also find out if there is a correlation of composition of the plant community to mosquito population density which can result in recommendations for what to plant on vacant lots.

This project is lead by Liu Yang. Liu studies Entomology at the Ohio State University , focusing on the molecular physiology of the West Nile mosquito Culex pipiens in Dr. Pete Piermarini’s lab. She is from China.

Liu, on the significance of this research:

“It is important to do mosquito surveillance especially in the city because it tells us what type of mosquitoes are present, if there are any invasive/new species, and the kind of potential diseases they could carry so we can educate the public with knowledge such as how to prevent mosquito bites and any dangerous disease to watch out. Also, with the study we can inform local hospitals and clinics about potential mosquito-borne diseases.”

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1253197.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.