Question Sheet: The Buzz about Mosquitoes


Before reading:

  1. What steps do you take to protect yourself from mosquitoes? How effective are your methods in stopping the insects? 
  2. Why would scientists want to study mosquitoes? What goals might they have in looking at these creatures up close?

During reading:

  1. How is it possible that scientific research on mosquitoes could save lives? What do mosquitoes do that make it such a serious matter? 
  2. It’s clear that mosquitoes want human blood, but what allows them to track us down? 
  3. Why do some people seem to be bitten by mosquitoes more often than others? 
  4. What causes mosquito bites to itch? 
  5. Besides using bug repellent, what other preventative measures can you take to keep mosquitoes away from you and your home? 
  6. In the near future, why is it possible that DEET will no longer be an effective mosquito repellent?

After reading:

  1. Why is the elimination of all mosquitoes an impractical goal? What problems might occur if they were to become extinct? 
  2. What information are scientists hoping to gather by studying the blood that mosquitoes suck? 
  3. Describe how mosquitoes contribute to the process of spreading a disease. 
  4. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of using DEET to ward off hungry mosquitoes?


Malaria is one of the more dangerous diseases spread by mosquitoes. People living in North America do not have to worry, however, because malaria is a tropical disease. In which countries is malaria a serious threat? See (Why Files, University of Wisconsin).


  1. Subhash Basak used a simile to describe his scientific work with mosquitoes, claiming he was “like a criminologist.” Think of two other similes to describe the work that he and other scientists who study mosquitoes carry out. Can you come up with a metaphor for his work? 
  2. Researchers at the University of Minnesota in Duluth are making excellent progress in developing new chemicals to repel mosquitoes. In order to continue their work, they need additional money to conduct their research. Write a short persuasive paragraph to your local congressman or congresswoman outlining the important work the scientists are doing and why it’s vital for new repellents to be developed.


If a mosquito can fly at an average speed of 1.5 miles per hour and it can detect the carbon dioxide that we exhale from 75 feet away, how long will it take a mosquito to reach us?