University of Nebraska--Lincoln Entomology Department
Sunday, December 18, 2016
My name is Lauren and I am a currently a graduate student of Entomology here at The University of Nebraska Lincoln. I have my bachelors degree in Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior from Rutgers New Brunswick with a minor in Public Health. I have always been a super environmental advocate, volunteering for NJPIRG, The Edison Wetlands Association, The Lawrence Brook Watershed Partnership, and many more. I started my career as a health inspector for a health department in NJ where they asked me to also help at their mosquito commission. I soon became their Mosquito Identification Specialist learning all about IPM, mosquito biology, control, and disease transmission. I became fascinated with mosquitoes and insects as a whole, so I decided to get my Masters in Entomology. Currently I am interested in the field of Forensic Entomology. They have a class at Montclair University in NJ over the summer that is specific to hands on forensic entomology, and I am super excited to check it out. Oh and I am totally going to go to one of those body farms this summer too. For now though I'll tell you about my career as a mosquito biologist.
I work for Camden County Mosquito Commission in NJ where we do water management to reduce mosquito larval populations (mosquito larva require water to lay their eggs in, grow, pupate, and emerge as adults). This is done by either simply dumping the container over (ex. kids toys, tarps, buckets, garbage cans, tires, literally anything that can hold water), or by treating the water with an insecticide (ex. abandoned pools, woodland pools, retention basins, etc). We also use mosquito eating fish as a biological control whenever possible (Gambusia, Sunnies, and Fathead minnows). We also do surveillance (my job!), when we collect larva in different locations and identify and monitor the species present, because different species of mosquitoes transmit different diseases. We also have several light traps throughout the county where we collect dead adult mosquitoes for the same type of species surveillance. Lastly, we have gravid traps that we set throughout the county where we collect live adult mosquitoes that I then identify, sort by species, and send to the state lab for disease testing. The field inspectors then go out and spray adulticide to kill adult mosquitoes. It has been a really fun job and I thoroughly enjoy it and am excited to learn more and more about the field of entomology!
Our Facebook page is @NJMCA if anyone is interested.