Being poor in America means you get more mosquito bites

A team of public health researchers studies mosquito populations in neighborhoods in Baltimore, looking for correlation between socioeconomic status and mosquitoes.

They concluded that while richer people had more lavish gardens — in which mosquitoes found places to breed during dry periods — that mosquitoes really found fertile breeding grounds in poor neighborhoods, thanks to higher levels of abandoned buildings and cars where water could pool when there was rain.

We demonstrate that both precipitation and vegetation influence mosquito production in ways that are mediated by the level of infrastructural decay on a given block. Mosquitoes were more common on blocks with greater abandonment, but when precipitation was low, mosquitoes were more likely to be found in higher-income neighborhoods with managed container habitat. Likewise, although increased vegetation was a negative predictor of mosquito infestation, more vegetation on blocks with high abandonment was associated with the largest mosquito populations. These findings indicate that fine spatial scale modeling of mosquito habitat within urban areas is needed to more accurately target vector control.

Socio-Ecological Mechanisms Supporting High Densities of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in Baltimore, MD [E. Little D. Biehler P. T. Leisnham R. Jordan S. Wilson S. L. LaDeau/Journal of Medical Entomology]

(via Marginal Revolution)

(Image: Peter Fitzgerald, OpenStreetMap)