Mosquito Research Project
The purpose of the program is to find out which mosquito species are on the reservation and to find out how many of them are carrying West Nile virus. Each season, Dr. Hanson hires a group of students for the project. The group has found mosquito larvae in sloughs and scrap tires. They capture adult mosquitoes with battery-powered traps that attract mosquitoes at night with a small light and a packet of octenol, a chemical constituent of the breath of a cow that attracts mosquitoes. Over the past few years, they have found 34 different species of mosquitoes on the reservation, a number that is not out of the ordinary. However, only 7 of those species can actually carry West Nile virus. When they find species that could transmit West Nile, they send them to a virus lab at the University of Illinois for West Nile testing. So far, they have found that our mosquitoes have less West Nile virus than most areas of North Dakota.