Young Scientists Head to Mosquito Camp

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DES MOINES, Iowa — What we all try to avoid in the backyard, some Des Moines elementary students want to attract in their makeshift lab.

“Mosquitos, I only like them a little bit ‘cuz they’re fierce,” explained JahRon Hill.

“I’m kind of starting to like them,” admitted Annalise Hanson.

About 20 fifth and sixth graders from Moulton Elementary signed up for the two-week “Mosquito and Me” summer camp at North High School. For one of their projects, they’re building traps to catch the insects.

“This one is for the girls, has red dye and water. This one is for the boys. Honey, sugar and some water,” said Hanson as she showed us her design.

Their designs will be put to the test to see how scientists collect and monitor mosquitoes for research.

“Zika is a big deal right now and certainly, we have concerns about whether or not there`s potential for Zika to be transmitted around the Midwest,” said entomologist Lyric Bartholomay.

The camp is a way to get kids excited about STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The idea is that the fun experiments might spark an interest in a future career.

“I want them to walk out the door feeling like they are scientists in the know,” said Bartholomay.

The mini scientists learned that female mosquitos are the feeders. Males don’t bite humans.

“I like boys because they don’t suck our blood. I don’t like the girls because they suck our blood,” said Hanson.

The summer camp is also promoting college attendance through ISU 4U Promise. The program gives students from Moulton and King a chance at earning tuition awards to Iowa State University.

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