The ‘Zika Mozzie Seeker’ process
Please watch the video above or follow the steps below to set up your trap and collect eggs:
Inside your egg collection kit
Once you are registered on our zika-mozzie-seeker website you will receive a free ‘mozzie egg collection kit in the post. This kit provides most items you need to create a mozzie egg trap. You just supply a container and water. The kit will be mailed out when the next Round of trapping starts.
Further instructions on kit construction, including a video, are on the website.
If you have any questions about the project, please phone Mackay Public Health on (07) 4885 5800.
Check your egg collection kit contents
You will receive a free ‘mozzie egg collection kit’ in the post. This contains most of the items you need to create a ‘mozzie egg trap’:
- Lucerne pellets – add one to water to help attract female domestic mosquitoes
- Paper ‘egg collection strip’ – female mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs on the strip (one per trap). This ‘egg strip’ will be sent to the laboratory for testing.
- Paper clip – to attach the paper strip to the water container if necessary.
- Blotting paper – to soak up excess water (do not rub!) from the egg strip before sending in the eggs.
- Sealable bag – the damp egg collection strip will be placed in this sealed bag to keep the envelope dry.
- Pre-addressed envelope – insert the sealable bag (containing the damp egg strip) into this envelope and post it back to us for testing (the postage is paid).
A: Create your mozzie egg trap
To collect mosquito eggs, you need to create a basic egg trap, known as an ‘ovitrap’, where mozzies like to breed. Most of the items you need are supplied in the free ‘mozzie egg collection kit’ we have sent you. However, you will need to supply a suitable plastic container, such as one from your recycling bin.
Follow the steps below to set up your mozzie egg trap:
1 Select your container: Something large (e.g. 2 L) like a plastic milk carton, soft drink bottle or ice cream bucket is ideal (see A, below), because it is less likely to fall over and won’t dry out.
Dark containers are most attractive to domestic, or urban, mozzies. If you don’t have a dark container, you can place your container inside something darker, like a black flower pot or bucket (Shown in photo B below).
B. Light container inside a dark bucket
2 Rinse your container twice with clean water before use. You may need to cut off the top of plastic containers to create a large opening to easily allow mozzies to enter (see photo A, above). Only cut plastic with care and under adult supervision.
3 Hang the ‘egg collection strip’ (supplied) inside the container, so that it touches the bottom. Fix it in place (see C, below) using a paper clip (supplied). Trim off any excess strip outside of the container (see D, below).
C. Egg collection strip fixed to side of container
D. Trim off any excess length from strip
4 Fill the container with tap water (about three-quarters full); enough to last for two – three weeks.
5 Add the pellet (lucerne) to the water (more than one will spoil the water).
B: Leave the trap outside for two weeks (14 days)
An ideal location for your trap is under cover (under eaves, under a veranda). Place the trap:
- away from disturbance by pets or children;
- out of the rain and wind and away from hoses or sprinklers.
Any urban mozzies visiting your yard will lay their eggs (<1 mm) on the egg collection strip (see E, below).
The eggs need to stay unhatched. Please do not refill the bucket or splash water to prevent eggs hatching. If you see mozzie larvae (‘wrigglers’; see F, below), please tip the water out.
E. Mozzie eggs on strip
F. Mozzie larva or ‘wriggler’
C: Check for mozzie eggs
After two weeks, do you see any eggs on the collection strip? Don’t worry if you’re not sure – they can be confused with dirt or eggs from other creatures.
- No eggs? Please leave your egg trap out for one more week; or send us a photo!
- I see eggs! It’s time to send them in.
D: Return the egg collection strip
Please return the egg collection strip after three weeks (maximum), with or without eggs.
1 Remove the egg collection strip from the bucket.
2 Mop up any excess water on the strip by placing it on the blotting paper (supplied) for a few seconds.
3 Wrap the damp egg collection strip in the blotting paper (see G, below) and place it in the barcoded sealable bag (see H, below).
4 Seal and place the barcoded bag into the pre-addressed envelope and mail to us. it is free to send because the envelope is ‘postage paid’. Thank you, you are now a Zika Mozzie Seeker!
G. Wrap in blotting paper to dry our the egg strip.
H. Place the sealed bag in the pre-addressed envelope and return.
Thank you for being a ‘Zika Mozzie Seeker’ and supporting this important research. In the next few weeks we will send you results about the eggs found in your trap. Look out for an email and SMS message.
We use DNA analysis to test whether the eggs contain mozzie species that can potentially carry Zika or dengue viruses (such as Aedes aegypti). Your eggs will be pooled with others in your area to provide a group result.
At the end of the process we will give you results about the number and type of mozzie eggs found in your trap. We aim to produce a “heat” map showing the level of mozzie activity in your area.
If ‘Zika mozzies’ are identified in a particular group result, we will contact all participants from that group. The information will help us to plan mosquito control and prevent outbreaks.
Communication with you
Once egg trapping begins you will receive up to six email and/or SMS messages (if you provided a mobile number)
throughout the project to help you manage your ‘Zika Mozzie Seeking’:
1 Receipt of ‘egg collection kit’: a chance to confirm whether you received your ‘egg collection kit’.
2 Reminder 1: after one week (7 days), we’ll remind you to check your trap for progress collecting mozzie eggs or set up your trap if you haven’t done so already.
3 Reminder 2: after two weeks (14 days), we’ll remind you to return your ‘egg collection strip’ to us if there are mozzie eggs on it or leave your trap out for another week (optional) if you can’t see any mozzie eggs yet.
4 Reminder 3: a final prompt to return your ‘egg collection strip’ to us, if you haven’t done so already, even if there are no eggs on it.
5 Results: where to find info about the number of eggs collected in your trap and mozzie activity in your area, including our online ‘mozzie map’.