A-State awarded funds for citizen science project, mosquito data collection study

A-State awarded funds for citizen science project, mosquito data collection study

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – The city of Jonesboro is investing in mosquito research. Arkansas State University was awarded $50,000 from American Rescue Plan Funds to go toward a citizen science mosquito project and data collection.

The study is part of an effort to identify mosquito hotspots and to examine populations that will help with mosquito abatement in the city of Jonesboro.

According to Dr. Tanja McKay, the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at A-State, mosquitos are abundant in some areas of the city.

“We’re a town situated around rice fields where these mosquitos are breeding and moving in the city,” said McKay.

Kailee Hutchison has lived in Jonesboro for six years and takes frequent walks at Craighead Forest Park. She said she noticed the pest being an issue there.

“I always notice when the mosquitos come out because I will take my walk, look down, and my legs are absolutely covered in mosquitos,” said Hutchison.

A-State will be monitoring mosquito populations using insect traps. Researchers will gather feedback from citizens and place mosquito traps in backyards.

“We will then take that data set and give those numbers to Vector Disease Control, where then they can actually look at it to see if they need to go into those particular areas to actually do an abatement,” McKay added.

The information gathered will be beneficial for scientists. It gives them information on potential disease outbreaks, depending on what mosquitos they find.

The project, though, will primarily benefit people living in the area.

“It’s a citizen science project where everyone can get involved in something and learn about what a mosquito is, and how we can do our best in order to mitigate this insect in our own backyards,” McKay said.

The project will include different programs through the summer to talk about mosquito biology and discuss the different strategies for controlling mosquitos.

As someone living in Jonesboro, Hutchison is interested in seeing the results of the study.

“Then we can see what kind of plans they can come up with based on those results,” Hutchison said.

A-State is ordering traps now and will soon start the data collection process. The data collected will go toward a submission for a larger grant in the future.

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