Household Vampires Want Your Blood

What do you think of when someone mentions "household vampires?"

Fleas? Ticks? Bed bugs? Mosquitoes?


The Bohart Museum of Entomology will host an open house, themed "Household Vampires," from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. It's free and family friendly. Parking is also free. 

One of the presenters ready to answer your questions about mosquitoes is Carla-Cristina "CC" Melo Edwards, a first-year doctoral student in the laboratory of medical entomologist-geneticist Geoffrey Attardo, associate professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who also specializes in reproductive physiology and molecular biology.

In the Attardo lab, Edwards focuses her research "on investigating the physiological mechanisms underlying pyrethroid resistance in Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito)."

She was a McNair scholar at Baylor University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in cell and molecular biology in May 2021. "I got interested in the mosquito field through my undergraduate research of studying the sensory and oviposition responses of Aedes aegypti in relation to the compound geosmin," Edwards related.

"I went on to do my masters at Texas Tech University under the advisement of Dr. Corey Brelsfoard where I graduated this past summer (2023)," she said. "I investigated the effects of microplastics in relation to the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito). Plastic pollution has been a worldwide problem and research has shown that microplastics have been found in the guts of various organisms. With Aedes species being container inhabiting species, my master's research was focused on investigating if there are alterations of the mosquitoes' microbiomes and their immunity due to the ingestion of microplastics."

"When I am not in the lab, I enjoy getting involved with my local community by helping out and doing outreach," Edwards said.  This past summer she helped the city of Lubbock, Amarillo, and the Texas Public Health Department by identifying mosquitoes for West Nile surveillance. She also served as the outreach chair for the Texas Tech Association of Biologists during her masters' degree pursuit and enjoyed being a mentor for first-generation students.

"In my free time, I like getting coffee with my friends, running (currently training for the California International Marathon), and trying new crafts and recipes."

Attardo will be displaying images of mosquitoes. An image of mosquito larvae by UC Davis doctoral alumnus and macro photographer Alex Wild, curator of entomology at the University of Texas, also will be displayed.

Open house attendees can view the butterfly specimen collection, curated by entomologist Jeff Smith, and get acquainted with live Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects, part of the Bohart Museum's insect petting zoo. A family arts-and-crafts activity is also planned.

The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens. It also maintains an insect-themed gift shop.  UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, a UC Davis alumna, directs the museum.