Urban wet environment as mosquito habitat in the upper Midwest

Patrick Irwin, Christine Arcari, John Hausbeck, Susan Paskewitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Sampling of Culex larval habitat plays an important role in West Nile virus surveillance and control programs. Although many cities have established mosquito sampling programs and abatement districts, there is relatively little information describing the extent and ecology of urban surface waters and stormwater systems in different geographic areas and how these parameters affect mosquito communities and control strategies. An aerial survey of the city of Madison, Wisconsin revealed 521 above-ground wet sites. These included both constructed stormwater systems (ditches, retention ponds, detention ponds) and natural wetlands (marshes, flood areas, creeks, and rivers). Repeat sampling of 351 of these sites was conducted during 2004 and 2005. The majority of sites, 58% in 2004 and 72% in 2005, yielded no mosquito larvae, suggesting that physical and biological features of these wet sites limit the development of mosquito larvae. For both years, analysis of the positive samples revealed that less than 25% of sites produced Culex spp. while a small number of ditches and detention ponds were consistent "superproducers" of Culex larvae from year to year. This information will facilitate comparisons across geographical areas and provides insight into local variation in the public health risk due to mosquito transmission of human disease agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Culex pipiens
  • Culex restuans
  • Mosquito surveillance
  • West Nile virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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