Parker-Crockett, C., Rampold, S. D., Galindo, S., Bunch, J. C., Andenoro, A., Connelly, C. R., Lucky, A., & Telg, R. (2022). Fight the bite: Implementation of mosquito-based curriculum in elementary, middle, and high schools in Florida. Journal of Agricultural Education, 63(2), 37-51. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2022.02037
Abstract: Mosquitoes are both a nuisance and public health threat. In recent decades, outbreaks of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika in Florida have raised awareness of the importance of domestic and peri-domestic container mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. The synanthropic nature of these species, coupled with their preference for human bloodmeals, makes them a concern of and target for mosquito control. However, mosquito control programs (MCPs) often struggle to sustainably manage these mosquitoes because of the cryptic and abundant nature of their larval habitats, and negative public opinion towards MCPs and the use of insecticides. Fortunately, mosquito control can be improved by the actions of homeowners and residents as they have regular access to their own property and containers. School-based education programs can provide a means to community-wide education regarding mosquito control. We developed and delivered a mosquito education program to elementary, middle, and high school students. Knowledge of mosquitoes significantly improved in participating elementary and middle/ high school students. This knowledge was partially retained according to a follow-up test that was administered. Additionally, attitudes towards mosquito control and at-home control methods significantly improved following the instruction. The improvements in knowledge and attitudes observed in students suggest they can and should be targeted for mosquito education campaigns by mosquito control programs and educators.