Results/Conclusions Our field data showed that Cx. pipiens exhibits preference for one particular host species, the American robin (Turdus migratorius), with the feeding index ranging from 6.70 to 31.90. The model accurately predicted the density of infected Cx. pipiens in three of the four sites when compared to the site-specific vector index (monthly mean abundance x monthly mean infection rate). Results show that the feeding index had a large impact on both transmission intensity and timing, with a consistent pattern across all sites. That is, enzootic transmission did not persist at any site when feeding index was less than 6. The feeding index had the greatest influence on transmission intensity and timing at moderate levels (7-15), but reached saturation at high levels (>20). Our findings highlight the importance of incorporating host preferences when modeling transmission, the challenges to forecasting when host preferences are not consistent across locations, and the benefits of an empirically-informed model.