Mosquito populations are largely regulated by processes occurring at the larval stage. We sampled mosquito larval microhabitats (mostly water-holding containers) in six neighborhoods in the Washington, DC, area that varied in socioeconomic status (SES) and housing structure (row houses vs. stand-alone houses) to test associations among these neighborhood characteristics, microhabitat abundance and parameters, and mosquito occurrence and densities. Thirty-four percent (33.9%) of sampled microhabitats contained mosquito larvae, and 93.1% of larvae were Aedes albopictus Skuse or Culex pipiens L. Five specific container types (drains, corrugated flexible drainpipes, planters, garbage cans, and buckets) accounted for the majority of water-holding (56.0%) and mosquito-positive (50.6%) microhabitats sampled. We found no associations between SES or housing structure with total microhabitat abundance per yard, mosquito occurrence or mosquito densities per microhabitat. In contrast, container purpose varied with SES, with low SES neighborhoods having greater numbers of disused containers and lower numbers of functional containers than low and medium SES neighborhoods. Ae. albopictus were 83% more abundant in disused containers, whereas Cx. pipiens were more abundant in structural and functional containers, possibly owing to species-specific oviposition and development related to water quality. Ae. albopictus densities increased over the summer, whereas Cx. pipiens densities remained constant. Ae. albopictus is usually the dominant pest in urban areas in the eastern United States; therefore, integrated mosquito management programs should incorporate the elimination of disused containers to reduce its infestation and adult production, especially in low SES neighborhoods where they occur most frequently.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4