, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 36–47 | Cite as

Linking Mosquito Infestation to Resident Socioeconomic Status, Knowledge, and Source Reduction Practices in Suburban Washington, DC

  • Zara Dowling
  • Peter Armbruster
  • Shannon L. LaDeau
  • Mark DeCotiis
  • Jihana Mottley
  • Paul T. LeisnhamEmail author
Original Contribution


Eliminating water-holding containers where mosquitoes oviposit and develop (source reduction) can help manage urban disease-vector mosquitoes. Source reduction requires residents to be knowledgeable of effective practices and motivated to implement them. We tested relationships between demographics, resident knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP), and mosquito infestation by administering larval mosquito surveys and KAP questionnaires in Washington, DC. Respondents who reported practicing source reduction had lower numbers of pupae-positive containers and Culex pipiens-positive containers, but not Aedes albopictus-positive containers or water-holding containers, in their yards. When controlling for numbers of water-holding containers in statistical models, residents who reported source reduction had lower numbers of A. albopictus-positive containers in addition to numbers of pupae-positive containers and C. pipiens-positive containers. These results suggest that while active container reduction may be effective at reducing C. pipiens and overall pupal production, it may be offset by other resident activities that add containers to yards, and that source reduction that involves mosquito habitat management without outright container removal can also be effective at reducing A. albopictus. Source reduction was related to respondent knowledge of mosquitoes and, in particular, specific knowledge of mosquito development, which both varied with demographics alongside respondent motivation to control mosquitoes. Respondents from high socioeconomic status households reported greater knowledge but lower motivation than respondents from middle and low socioeconomic-status households. We conclude that mosquito-related education will help promote community-based container management as part of integrated mosquito management programs, particularly in middle and low socioeconomic status neighborhoods with lower knowledge and high motivation.

Key words

Aedes albopictus Culex pipiens Human–environment system Integrated pest management Socioeconomic West Nile virus 



We thank the residents of Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, MD who participated in this study, Jeannine Dorothy and Maria Hille for advice on study sites, and Alex Belov and Rachel Pozzatti for assistance in the field. This project was funded by NSF award # 0948947 and internal funding from the University of Maryland, and human subjects approval was obtained from the Georgetown University Institutional Review Board (Protocol # 425-2009).


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Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zara Dowling
    • 1
  • Peter Armbruster
    • 2
  • Shannon L. LaDeau
    • 3
  • Mark DeCotiis
    • 2
  • Jihana Mottley
    • 2
  • Paul T. Leisnham
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and TechnologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Cary Institute for Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookUSA

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