Madisen and Jesse.jpgJune 30, 2024

In its fifth year, the mosquito research project at Mayville State University continues to provide valuable information related to the mosquito population in the Mayville-Portland area and beyond. The information this research team is gathering is extremely important when trying to determine what happens when mosquito-borne viruses and pathogens emerge in the state.

“Knowing which mosquitoes inhabit specific areas lets us determine ‘hotspots’ where we could see viruses like West Nile, Western Equine Encephalitis, Cache Valley, or Jamestown Canyon Virus,” said project leader Mayville State University Association Professor of Biology Dr. Joseph Mehus. “Mosquitoes spread a wide range of viruses that affect humans and livestock.”

Since its beginning, the project has grown from having 10 mosquito traps located in the city of Mayville to more than 50 traps located in both Traill and Steele counties, including the Golden Lake area.

This year, the State of North Dakota has given approval for the research team to add traps in numerous Waterfowl Production Areas and on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land, with permission from landowners. Adding traps in these locations will allow researchers to identify the mosquito species that are not only in the Mayville-Portland, but also Golden Lake areas.

Previously, the research group has also obtained mosquito samples from agricultural sites near cropland, as well as private properties of individuals who own various forms of livestock.

Current student researchers in the Mehus lab are Jesse Halvorson, Mayville; Madisen Knudsvig, Mayville; and Mollie Robbins, LaMoure, N.D.

“Work on this project provides our students great hands-on experience,” said Dr. Brian Huschle, Mayville State Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We are excited to see this project continue to expand, and appreciate Dr. Mehus’s ongoing dedication and support for student involvement in these activities.”

The project has expanded to include collaboration with tribal institutions across the state. Through this collaboration, mosquito population dynamics are being monitored to learn how the number of mosquitoes changes across the state throughout the summer. This work also allows the researchers to identify the species composition, the number of different species at each location.

To make their findings available for the public, the Mayville State mosquito research team has launched a website. The information is updated often, allowing people to view what is currently happening with mosquito populations. The website is available at To view what is happening and see mosquito population dynamics in Traill and Steele counties, click on “locations,” then “Mayville State University.” The site includes photos of the researchers, information about mosquito identification, and mosquito species biographies.

“The mosquito research project provides invaluable experiences for Mayville State students, while generating very important information for our community, region, and state,” said Mayville State University President Dr. Brian Van Horn. “I commend our mosquito research team for the work they are doing to make the world a better place by studying the health-related impact mosquitoes make in the places where we live and work.”

The mosquito project at Mayville State is funded by North Dakota INBRE (IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence). North Dakota INBRE has a goal of building biomedical research capacity by serving research universities, baccalaureate institutions, and tribal colleges within the state.