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Title: Resident Perceptions of Mosquito Problems Are More Influenced by Landscape Factors than Mosquito Abundance
Mosquitoes and the pathogens they carry are increasingly common in urban areas throughout the globe. With urban landscapes, the need to manage mosquitoes is driven by the health risks and nuisance complaints associated with mosquitoes. Controlling the number of mosquitoes may reduce the overall risk of disease transmission but may not reduce nuisance complaints. This study focuses on Maricopa County in Arizona, USA, to investigate the relationship between mosquito abundance and landscape-level and sociodemographic factors on resident perceptions of mosquitoes. We used boosted regression trees to compare how mosquito abundance, collected from Maricopa Vector Control, and landscape factors and social factors, assessed through the Phoenix Area Social Survey, influence survey respondents’ reporting of mosquitoes as a problem. Results show that the landscape and sociodemographic features play a prominent role in how individuals perceive mosquitoes as a problem; specifically, respondents’ perception of their local landscape as messy and the distance to landscape features such as wetlands have more substantial roles in shaping perceptions. This work can highlight how potential mosquito and non-mosquito-related communications and management efforts may improve residents’ satisfaction with mosquito control or other wildlife management efforts, which can help inform best practices for vector control agencies.
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