Using Social Media to identify Mosquitoes in Tampa

Using Social Media to identify Mosquitoes in Tampa

May 16, 2022

Mosquitos come in many different shapes and sizes, and with how many species there are, it can be difficult to know which ones are additionally important to avoid, and which ones pose less of a risk. That's why UCF researchers have launched a social media campaign that helps people identify species of mosquito that are more likely to carry diseases like Zika, dengue and yellow fever.

How it Works

By inviting citizens in the Tampa Bay area to upload images of mosquitos to the iNaturalist app, UCF researchers are spreading the word about which ones are dangerous. The app works by automatically identifying disease-carrying species and letting people know. However, this app needs a lot of images to build a database - so UCF researchers are asking people to help accumulate this information through their own smartphones.

Ultimately, the data will go towards building a local habitat model of areas that are at risk of disease-carrying mosquitos, which can be used to help people in the area prepare and prevent harm. Over time, UCF researchers hope that the collection of this data will lead to citizens being more aware of the risks that mosquitos pose.

Are Mosquitos That Dangerous?

While not every mosquito carries dangerous diseases, the sheer amount that do makes them worth being careful about. Mosquitos can carry West Nile Virus, Chikungunya, Zika and Dengue Fever - diseases that when not treated can be life-threatening in some conditions. Keeping yourself informed of the symptoms of these diseases is important, as is knowing which mosquitos are especially dangerous - and where they live.

Of course, there are many ways to keep mosquitos away from you altogether. While you might not be able to prevent every mosquito bite, you can keep them off your property with mosquito fogging treatments and mosquito misting systems. These extermination methods work to keep mosquitos off your property or away from your events, keeping you and everyone else safe.

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