Each week, Anastasia Figurskey hides 15 plastic cups filled with water in bushes near spots around Wake County where people will walk by: Gas stations, front yards of home and recycling drop-off centers all fit the bill.
After a few days the Wake County employee fishes brown paper marked with tiny black dots from each cup. After the paper dries, inside a windowless insect-hatching room at North Carolina State University, she peers at every egg under a microscope.
Hard to see with the unaided eye, mosquito eggs pop into view when magnified. The shape of the eggs tells Firgurskey their likely species, which she notes with entries to a paper log.
“You get better at it,” the young woman says, clearly relieved.
So it will go, dot by dot in 15 North Carolina counties from now into the fall, until the state starts to assemble a better map of the location and population size of mosquitoes capable of transmitting Zika virus.