Entomology, Department of


First Advisor

Dr. Troy Anderson

Date of this Version

Winter 12-12-2019


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Entomology, Under the Supervision of Professor Troy Anderson. Lincoln, Nebraska: December 2019

Copyright 2019 Justine Amalia LaViolette


Mosquito-borne disease is a public health challenge that warrants an active surveillance program for the identification of mosquito populations and the education of the public for prevention and protection against disease-transmitting arthropods. The communication of science to the public is necessary to prevent disease, change behavior, and promote a dialog between scientists and the public.

People are accustomed to high quality entertainment, which begs the question, “If we made science more entertaining, would the public be more interested?”

To address these issues, the objectives of this study are: 1) identify mosquito species and abundance at the US Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Clay County, Nebraska; 2) create two entertaining educational videos about arthropod disease vectors using puppets, song, and humor; 3) determine the effectiveness of these videos on the behavior and knowledge of adults in the US.

The surveillance of mosquito species abundance at the MARC showed there to be a high number of mosquito species that can serve as vectors of disease. The educational videos were shown to be a successful form of science communication, and the videos developed and presented for this study were found to not only be entertaining, but significantly increased the participants’ engagement, knowledge, and behavior towards personal protection and management of mosquitoes and ticks.

Advisor: Troy Anderson