As Singapore faces the peak season of Dengue, it is crucial to know more about mosquito control. Singapore has recorded around 34,000 Dengue cases in 2020 as of 24th November. We must know the effective ways to prevent them.
Different Types of Mosquitoes
3 species of mosquitoes that spread life-threatening diseases through their bites are prevalent in Singapore.
Aedes Mosquitoes: This breed of mosquitoes spread harmful diseases like Zika and Dengue fever. They have black and white stripes on their body. They breed in stagnant waters that are clean and are active at dusk and dawn, approximately from 6-7 am, and 7-8 pm.
Culex Mosquitoes: This breed of mosquitoes spreads diseases like Japanese B Encephalitis. They are golden brown with dark proboscis. They prefer to breed in dirty and polluted stagnant water like in septic tanks or blocked drains. They are mostly active at night.
Anopheles Mosquitoes: This mosquito species spread diseases like Malaria. They have a light brown body. However, they breed in brackish waters like swamps or sea waters and are also active at night.
Mosquitoes find humid and warm climates conducive for breeding which is why many tropical climate regions like Singapore require mosquito control.
Potential environments to breed: Any region with a humid climate is a potential environment for mosquitoes to breed. Certain types of plants also encourage the breeding of mosquitoes like palm trees, as water collects in the plant axils. Hardened soil also encourages water to form puddles. This is why in tropical countries like Singapore, mosquito traps are essential throughout the year.
Monsoon season: The monsoon season increases the number of breeding areas significantly as the mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. More rain means more puddles and more potential for mosquito breeding. Another reason why tropical places like Singapore need mosquito control. It is advisable to also keep all the doors and windows closed during the rainy season, mostly in the evening to keep your family safe.
Improper Litter Disposal: Unclean and cluttered spaces in your neighbourhood can cause the water to collect becomes a breeding spot for mosquitoes.
How to prevent mosquitoes at home
The first step in the mosquito management system includes preventing mosquitoes from entering one's house and from breeding.
Clear stagnant water spaces: Mosquitoes require 7-10 days for breeding, and they can do so with the tiniest available puddle of water. There could be stagnant water in old tires laying around, roof gutters, or even flowerpots. Thus, it is vital to clear such potential breeding areas regularly so that there is no environment for them to breed.
Mosquito repellents and sprays: Although mosquito repellents and sprays are not a permanent fix, they do help in preventing mosquito bites. Repellents containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), Picaridin, or IR3535 as the active ingredient are the most effective in repelling mosquitoes. The effectiveness of repellents based on plant-based extracts, such as Citronella, Eucalyptus, and other essential oils, varies from person to person, and such products usually require more frequent application. Although these can generally provide some protection against biting insects. They are still less effective than those containing DEET, Picaridin, and IR3535. Source: https://www.nea.gov.sg/
Usage of nets and traps: Utilization of nets and traps can be useful and proven to be highly effective in mosquito-infested areas. Singapore being a tropical region is a very conducive environment for the breeding of mosquitoes which is why residents should consider using mosquito nets and traps regularly.
Clothing: While going out, you are highly encouraged to stay away from mosquito-prone areas. It is advisable to wear clothing that has long sleeves and trousers to cover exposed skin from any mosquito bites, especially during active biting hours at dusk and dawn.
More often than not, diseases like Dengue are underestimated. Many forget how life-threatening and serious a mosquito bite can be. This is why a proper mosquito management system is required to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes. Most of these preventive tips are easy and can be done by yourself, however, it is important to call a professional for mosquito control inspections and treatments