Do vegetated rooftops attract more mosquitoes? Monitoring disease vector abundance on urban green roofs

Kwan Lam WONG, Chi Yung JIM

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Green roof, an increasingly common constituent of urban green infrastructure, can provide multiple ecosystem services and mitigate climate-change and urban-heat-island challenges. Its adoption has been beset by a longstanding preconception of attracting urban pests like mosquitoes. As more cities may become vulnerable to emerging and re-emerging mosquito-borne infectious diseases, the knowledge gap needs to be filled. This study gauges the habitat preference of vector mosquitoes for extensive green roofs vis-à-vis positive and negative control sites in an urban setting. Seven sites in a university campus were selected to represent three experimental treatments: green roofs (GR), ground-level blue-green spaces as positive controls (PC), and bare roofs as negative controls (NC). Mosquito-trapping devices were deployed for a year from March 2015 to 2016. Human-biting mosquito species known to transmit infectious diseases in the region were identified and recorded as target species. Generalized linear models evaluated the effects of site type, season, and weather on vector-mosquito abundance. Our model revealed site type as a significant predictor of vector mosquito abundance, with considerably more vector mosquitoes captured in PC than in GR and NC. Vector abundance was higher in NC than in GR, attributed to the occasional presence of water pools in depressions of roofing membrane after rainfall. Our data also demonstrated seasonal differences in abundance. Weather variables were evaluated to assess human-vector contact risks under different weather conditions. Culex quinquefasciatus, a competent vector of diseases including lymphatic filariasis and West Nile fever, could be the most adaptable species. Our analysis demonstrates that green roofs are not particularly preferred by local vector mosquitoes compared to bare roofs and other urban spaces in a humid subtropical setting. The findings call for a better understanding of vector ecology in diverse urban landscapes to improve disease control efficacy amidst surging urbanization and changing climate. Copyright ©  2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-232
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date23 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


Wong, G. K. L., & Jim, C. Y. (2016). Do vegetated rooftops attract more mosquitoes? Monitoring disease vector abundance on urban green roofs. Science of the Total Environment, 573, 222-232. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.08.102


  • Urban green infrastructure (UGI)
  • Urban green space (UGS)
  • Vector ecology
  • Urban habitat
  • Urban pest
  • Disease control


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