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Week 9

West Nile Virus Positives This week, we had three West Nile Virus positive pools this week: in Blackstone, Natick, and Worcester. Blackstone and Natick are in my route, so I trapped the positive mosquitoes in those towns. It's a little scary knowing I was so close to mosquitoes with WNV. This positive case has also brought new meaning to my job as a trapper. I'm glad I was part of the team that caught these WNV cases and were able to help out the public. I think these positives will peak public curiosity and worry about mosquitoes, so I think I will have a lot more people come up and ask my questions. So, I'll make sure to brush up on my knowledge of WNV so that I can educate them and hopefully minimize their risk of contracting a vector-borne disease.  Golden Anopheles  Last week we found many mosquitoes uncommon to central Massachusetts in our traps. On Thursday, Audrey and I were processing mosquitoes when she noticed a very large, golden bug in her trap. We didn't k
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Weeks 7 and 8

Continuing to Trap and ID Over the past two weeks, I've continued to go out in the field and collect mosquitoes using CDC CO2 traps and gravid traps. No mosquitoes in our towns have tested positive for any diseases yet, which is good! But, Norfolk County had its first case of West Nile and Plymouth County had its first case of EEE last week, so we expect a positive soon. The number of perturbans  we caught has decreased dramatically compared to the last couple weeks. As the CDC traps become less full, the gravid traps are getting more full. I'm getting more familiar with distinguishing Culex mosquitoes and will continue to practice this over the rest of the internship. First of the Trainee Summer Seminar Series! Dr. Beard: Future Vector-Borne Disease Workforce  On Friday, I attended Dr. Ben Beard's insightful presentation on the future trajectory of vector-borne diseases (VBDs). Dr. Beard emphasized the profound impact of climate change on VBDs, highlighting how shifts in c

Week 6

  Mosquito ID I'm continuing to practice my ID skills. They've improved a lot over the past two weeks! I can confidently identify a  perturbans  now, after counting about 5,000 of them! I will continue to practice using the ID guide and learning what mosquitoes commonly found in this area look like.  Connecting ID to Trapping  I've started to find connections between the trap site and the mosquito samples collected. Perturbans  are commonly found in swampy areas, and I've noticed that my traps st up in really swampy towns collect a lot of perturbans . These swampy towns are also probably most likely to be exposed to EEE as a result.  Public Education When I'm out trapping, residents or people walking by will sometimes ask me about what I'm doing. I really enjoy this part of the job because I get to share everything I've learned with them. I like explaining how the traps work to them and why we are trapping. I've had a few people come up and thank me for

Week 5

 Meeting NEVBD Interns! Friday I met many of the other NEVBD interns over zoom. I really enjoyed meeting everyone and hearing about their projects. It was interesting to hear about what the other interns are doing on a day-to-day basis and I found that many of us do similar things like mosquito trapping and ID. I found it very helpful to hear the tricks they learned that helped them have and easier time IDing mosquitoes and I found myself using a lot of the techniques they mentioned these past two weeks as I worked in the lab. It's great to be able to connect and learn from each other. Mosquito Trapping  We changed our trapping schedule this week to make sure that we hit every town with four-day work week. I set up eight traps on Monday, collected them Tuesday, then set up eight on Thursday and collected them Friday. We have been collecting a lot more mosquitoes than last year (in the couple of weeks we've been trapping, we've already surpassed the total number of mosquitoe

Week 4

 Mosquito ID This week, I learned how to ID mosquitoes. I looked at mosquitoes in a microscope and followed an ID guide to categorize them. We count the number of the specific types of mosquitoes we caught at each different trap site and then send the species that are capable of transmitting specific diseases to the lab for testing. Mosquito ID is very tedious, but I like to learn about the sample that I caught. 

Week 3

Gravid Traps This week we learned how to set gravid traps. Gravid traps have a collection cup fixed above a plastic washbasin filled with a liquid called "Mosquito Soup"- a mixture of hay and water that sits outside for a couple of days before it can be used (it smells just about as bad as you think it does)! Female mosquitoes attempt to lay their eggs on the stagnant mosquito soup water underneath the trap. Then, the negative suction created by a fan on the side of the trap sucks the mosquito up into the collection cup.  Watch out: perturbans and malanura on the rise This week, we caught a lot of C oquillettidia perturbans . For context, compared to this time last year, we caught 900% more perturbans . Perturbans  transmit EEE, and because we are catching so many of them,   we expect it to be a big year for EEE. 

Weeks 1 and 2

 My day to save for the summer: CDC Traps For the past two weeks, my main job has been setting up and taking down CDC traps. These traps look a little bit like miniature flying saucers, but instead of aliens coming down from them, mosquitoes are going into  them! CMMCP mainly uses CO2 CDC traps, which release carbon dioxide from a tank we connect to the top of the trap. Mosquito antenna detect carbon dioxide and this ability is used by the mosquitos to find sources of blood, so they are attracted to the CO2 emitted by our traps. Some CDC traps use light to attract the mosquitos, but we use the CO2 traps to reduce the number of junk bugs (the bugs that get caught in the trap that aren't mosquitos). Once a mosquito flies close to the trap, a fan pushes them down into a collection cup where they cannot escape. The next day, I return to the trap to collect the sample and disassemble the trap.  My truck, packed and ready to set up CDC CO2 traps.   CDC CO2 trap Once I get back to the lab