Remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) data can be used to identify larval mosquito habitats and predict species distribution and abundance across a landscape. An understanding of the landscape features that impact abundance and dispersal can then be applied operationally in mosquito control efforts to reduce the transmission of mosquito-borne pathogens. In an effort to better understand the effects of landscape heterogeneity on the abundance of the West Nile virus (WNV) vector Culex tarsalis, we determined associations between GIS-based environmental data at multiple spatial extents and monthly abundance of adult Cx. tarsalis in Larimer County and Weld County, CO. Mosquito data were collected from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention miniature light traps operated as part of local WNV surveillance efforts. Multiple regression models were developed for prediction of monthly Cx. tarsalis abundance for June, July, and August using 4 years of data collected over 2007–10. The models explained monthly adult mosquito abundance with accuracies ranging from 51–61% in Fort Collins and 57–88% in Loveland–Johnstown. Models derived using landscape-level predictors indicated that adult Cx. tarsalis abundance is negatively correlated with elevation. In this case, low-elevation areas likely more abundantly include habitats for Cx. tarsalis. Model output indicated that the perimeter of larval sites is a significant predictor of Cx. tarsalis abundance at a spatial extent of 500 m in Loveland–Johnstown in all months examined. The contribution of irrigated crops at a spatial extent of 500 m improved model fit in August in both Fort Collins and Loveland–Johnstown. These results emphasize the significance of irrigation and the manual control of water across the landscape to provide viable larval habitats for Cx. tarsalis in the study area. Results from multiple regression models can be applied operationally to identify areas of larval Cx. tarsalis production (irrigated crops lands and standing water) and assign priority in larval treatments to areas with a high density of larval sites at relevant spatial extents around urban locations.
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