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Controlling Mosquito Breeding Hotspots Activity

This activity teaches youth and adults how mosquitoes can be a pest and how to stay safe with mosquitoes.

Learn to identify areas that could be a source of water or would allow water to collect--as mosquitoes breed and lay eggs in non-moving water. Once this is understood, actions can be taken to eliminate those water sources and consider other practices to stay safe from mosquitoes.

Activity Directions

Learning Objective

The Controlling Mosquito Breeding Hotspots activity was designed to teach youth and adults about how mosquitoes can be a pest and how to stay safe with mosquitoes.

Participants identify areas that could be a source of water or would allow water to collect, as most mosquitoes breed and lay eggs in standing (nonmoving) water. By understanding where water collects, participants can then determine actions to help eliminate those water sources and also consider other practices to help stay safe from mosquitoes.

Materials Needed

  • Controlling Mosquito Hotspots Worksheet
  • Controlling Mosquito Hotspots Directions and Answer Key Sheet
  • Writing Instruments

Activity Instructions

The instructor can begin by sharing information about mosquitoes, including the facts listed below and how mosquitoes can be pests by biting humans and sometimes transmitting disease. Each participant can be given a worksheet and instructed to circle areas on the picture that could be a source of water or would allow water to collect.

Participants can write down ways to stay safe from mosquitoes beside the circled item or on the back of the worksheet. This activity can be completed in pairs or groups, with participants circling areas that collect water and discussing ways to stay safe. The instructor and participants should collaboratively review and discuss responses. The answer key on the back can help guide the review.

Mosquito Facts:

  • Over 3,000 species of mosquitoes exist worldwide, with 200 documented species in the United States. A common type of mosquito found in Pennsylvania is the northern house mosquito.
  • Adult mosquitoes have long legs with piercing-sucking mouthpieces. Mosquitoes need the blood of warm-blooded hosts for reproduction. Most mosquitoes breed and lay eggs in standing water.
  • Mosquitoes can be a pest since they bite and can transmit disease. Mosquitoes can be carriers for West Nile virus (WNV). Mosquitoes become infected with WNV after biting birds that have WNV. An infected mosquito can then transmit WNV to animals and humans. Most people infected with WNV do not know they have it or only have mild symptoms. However, the more severe cases of WNV tend to affect those with weakened immune systems.
  • Mosquitoes can also carry equine encephalitis (horses) and canine heartworm disease (dogs).

Activity

Mosquitoes, the insect that spreads the West Nile virus, can breed in puddles of water.

Identify any areas that could be a source of water or would allow water to collect. Can you suggest ways to help stay safe from mosquitoes?

Controlling Mosquito Hotspots
Identify the areas on this image that could be a source of water or would allow water to collect.

Activity Answers

Circled answers on the graphic correspond to the explanations in the table below.

Controlling Mosquito Breeding Hotspots Answers
Controlling Mosquito Breeding Hotspots Answers.

Number Areas that could be a source of water or allow water to collect Ways to help stay safe from mosquitoes
1 Dripping water from nozzle Ensure nozzle is turned completely off after use.
2 Excess water coming out of hose Try to drain hose of any water left inside after use.
3 If overwatered, potted plants attract mosquitoes Do not overwater plants. Plants can help absorb water, but too much can create a problem.
4 Wagon can collect water Turn over wagon when not using so water does not collect.
5 Puddle of water in the street Have an adult sweep water into storm drain.
6 Birdbath contains water Stir, or empty and change water frequently (every 2 to 3 days).
7 Toy truck can collect water Turn over toy truck when not using so water does not collect.
8 Heating and cooling units can drip water Try to repair unit to stop the leak.
9 Watering jug can hold and collect water Only fill and use what is needed. Do not allow water to sit in watering jug.
10 Puddle of water in sidewalk Sweep water into a grassy area.
11 Garbage container can collect water Be sure to put lid on garbage container. Clean up any trash.
12 Bucket can collect water Turn over bucket when not in use.
13 Puddle of water in the sidewalk crack Have an adult sweep water into storm drain. Encourage an adult to report the crack to the city authorities to fix.

Other considerations to Help Stay Safe from Mosquitoes

  • Keep doors closed if possible. Window screens can help keep mosquitoes out of your living space.
  • Keep plantings neat and trimmed to reduce adult mosquito habitat.
  • Use insect repellent. Apply repellent according to the label directions.
  • If possible, try to avoid being outside when mosquitoes are most active (at dawn and dusk).
  • In areas of potentially high infestations, wear long sleeves and pants.
  • Share information with friends and family about controlling mosquitoes.
  • For more information see Penn State Extension's West Nile Virus Information.

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Controlling Mosquito Breeding Hotspots Activity

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