• UNCC students test mosquito hot spots

    By: Vicki Graf

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Graduate students at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte are testing mosquito hot spots across Mecklenburg County for viruses like the Zika virus.

    Meteorologist Vicki Graf breaks down what their research has found so far and what residents can expect this summer.

    UNCC grad students have placed 90 containers around Mecklenburg County.

    Charlotte's climate is a prime spot for mosquitoes, especially in the summer time.

    Hot and humid days have been leading to afternoon storms.

    The rain fills the containers that can be found in any backyard such as a tire, tarp or bird bath, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

    (VIDEO: 7 Facts You Didn't Know About Mosquitoes)

    Ari Whiteman, who started the Urban Mosquito Project at UNCC, said he is trying to determine if some neighborhoods in Charlotte are more likely to see mosquitoes than others.

    VIDEO: Whiteman discusses the Urban Mosquito Project 

    "Locating where these hot spots help us determine which neighborhoods are at the highest risk for harboring a disease," Whiteman said.

    There is a big concern for mosquito born viruses such as Zika and West Nile in Charlotte.

    They have not found the mosquito that carries the Zika virus but they have found several breeds that carry the West Nile virus.

    That could change later this summer.

    "At this point, we really don't know which communities are at the most risk of mosquito-borne diseases," Whiteman said.

    It could take the participants a while before having any findings.

    "In the future, what we hope is that this study can lead us to create a management plan,” Whiteman said. “It can help us to create a map that can show where risk is highest."

    They plan to continue this study through September and then eventually they will take the research to Panama. 

    For more on the project, visit their website.

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