• Josiah Kilburn

Education Bias and Mosquitoes

It's no surprise that much of the population despise mosquitoes. I myself am not the biggest fan and can not award them with high praise. But personally, I believe mosquitoes are definitely crucial to the environment and their respective ecosystems. Interestingly it seems that most people with more education on the subject tend to agree with me.

This was by no means a proper study, just a quick 10-minute survey I did in my math class for a statistics project. So this should not be taken with a grain of salt.

The project

In math class, I was working on a statistics project related to showing bias in statistics. Preface bias Originally, I had decided to try and go for a preface bias. using these two questions:

This one with an added preface to add a negative connotation, although I'm not 100% certain that this factoid I used was true, I did check multiple sources and made an estimation based on them.

and this one without a preface.

The results for the two questions were almost identical, only varying by a tiny margin (about 3%) which was due to one extra response in one of the questions. The survey which the participants took was determined using random sampling, by dice to be specific.

However, after discussing with some of my friends about the survey, it seemed most of them who knew even the slightest bit about mosquitoes role in the environment chose no, whereas everyone who said yes primarily did so because of their disdain for mosquitoes

Then I had an idea...

It seemed the people who said 'no' to the question had more of an education of environments and insects. So I wondered, what if I introduced a sort of education bias? I figured that I knew quite a few insect enthusiasts and could send them the link via discord where I usually post these things. So I did.

And the results did vary... a lot!

Here's a comparison of the data

As you can see, the responses from the insect enthusiasts responses were primarily 'NO'. Whereas the general audience from my high school was usually yes. Like I said earlier this was not a proper survey and very few people (30 or less) were interviewed.

My teacher at first mentioned that the original question might've introduced a negative bias by including the word 'eradicate' in the question. In hindsight, I would probably change this if I did it again. Then again, I would argue that eradicate while being a strongly negative word, is the proper word for large scale removal of billions of mosquitoes worldwide that support many ecosystems especially aquatic ones!

Although, very few mosquitoes actually drink blood, as they use primarily drink nectar as their food source. Often they are a great food source for young fish, and many aquatic animals.

But the few species that do drink blood are disease vectors, and that can be a major problem.

If you would like to answer this question yourself, you can! Click on this link to take my survey. Also, big thanks to Alex Wild, you can visit his mosquito page here, or click on any of his images that I used in this post (besides that last one which is mine). In case the survey text link doesn't work:


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