We are all familiar with dengue fever and the problems it brought back in 2013. The long-standing battle against mosquitoes persists. With a recent rise in dengue cases and continued work-from-home arrangements, it is important to stay vigilant and take precautions to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in our houses when we can.
Need a refresher on what dengue fever is all about? Mosquito season is back so now’s the time to remind yourself of some important facts about dengue fever (DF), a big threat to South-East Asia. It is important to understand how mosquitos multiply, the risks that comes with a mozzie infestation, and ways to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Equipping yourself with knowledge is the first step to planning for a mozzie wipeout!
Dengue Fever: A Mozzie Problem
Dengue fever is a disease transmitted from one person to another through an infected Aedes mosquito. The mosquito draws blood from an individual infected with dengue, and transmits the disease when it bites a non-infected individual.
Typically, symptoms might develop within a span of a week. A person with dengue fever may experience high fever, severe headaches, muscle pain, skin rashes, nausea and vomiting. In more severe cases, an individual may experience bleeding in the nose or gums.
Life Cycle of a Mozzie
To prevent the Aedes mosquito from breeding further, we must understand its life cycle, and take active measures to reduce the chances of a dengue cluster happening in the neighbourhood, and the spread of mosquito mayhem. Here is what a mosquito’s life cycle looks like:
An Aedes mosquito has a typical lifespan averaging seven days. In the best conditions, the egg can hatch into a larva within a day. The larva lives in water for a couple of days until it turns into a pupa. In another two days, the pupa grows into an adult mosquito. Female mosquitoes will bite and draw blood from humans, before laying their eggs. The cycle goes on.
Singapore a Prime Breeding Ground for Mosquitoes?
What are some environmental factors that allow mosquitoes to breed? It is important to understand them in order to prevent your home from being a conducive environment for mosquitoes to breed. The following conditions create optimal conditions for mosquitoes to lay their eggs, and expedite their developmental process:
Stagnant Water – Did you know? The volume of water in a bottle cap is sufficient enough for mosquitoes to lay eggs. As long as stagnant water is present, there is a risk of your home turning into a breeding ground for mosquitoes. From buckets of water that you left for a few days, to rubbish bins with water, to your pet’s water bowl, these areas become easy targets for mosquitoes to lay their eggs in. If you grow plants or use plants as home décor, the flower pots and vases carrying them can also be ideal for breeding if filled with water and left unchanged for days.
Sheltered Spots – Mosquitoes avoid windy areas and take shelter around materials or debris that you can find in your gardens. Broken branches, thick foliage, containers, clogged drains, and roof gutter choked by leaves or fallen twigs are some examples of places where mosquitoes can take refuge in. An area with stagnant water and shelter makes a conducive environment for breeding. Trash piles that hold water is one example. The crushed cans, food packaging, and plastic bags in the trash will provide water and shelter as a means for mozzie survival.
Temperature – Typically, mosquitos thrive in warmer weather and are attracted to heat. Warm temperatures between 24 to 28 degrees Celsius are ideal for mosquito breeding. Especially in Singapore’s tropical climate, warm temperatures, along with humid weather and consistent rainfall are encouraging environmental factors that help mosquitoes to multiply.
Prevention Methods for Mosquito Breeding
Remember the Mozzie Wipeout Campaign? It was a campaign rolled out to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in our homes back when dengue cases increased. We saw the surge in dengue cases from 4,632 in 2012 to 9,847 cases in 2013. With frequent dengue clusters, the campaign aimed to spread awareness of effective measures to prevent mosquitoes from breeding further, by introducing the B-L-O-C-K strategy.
Dengue continues to be a major health threat today. As long as mosquitoes are around, these blood suckers know where they can reproduce and which places they can thrive in. Whether you are living in a HDB apartment or a semi-detached, your home is a potential breeding spot for mozzies. The five-step B-L-O-C-K strategy is still relevant in helping to stop the spread of mosquito breeding in homes:
B –Break up hardened soil
L –Lift and empty flowerpots
O – Overturn pails and wipe their rims
C – Change water in vases
K – Keep roof gutters clear and place BTI insecticide inside
Besides following these simple five steps, you can also go further with the following home remedies:
Mosquito Nets – Putting up these nets around your windows can help to deter mosquitoes from entering your home. This is especially useful to prevent mosquitoes from biting you at night. You can also set up mosquito nets around your bed for increased protection.
Eucalyptus Oil – Though known for its soothing scent, eucalyptus oil can help to repel mosquitoes. A repellent spray can be made by mixing eucalyptus oil with water. A natural remedy and alternative to store-bought mosquito repellents.
Basil – The strong scent of basil can also deter mosquitoes from attacking. You can place them around your house to drive them away.
Professional Pest Control Services
Do you have a mosquito problem at home, or are looking for sure-fire ways to prevent them from breeding in your home? Engaging an experienced professional pest control service like First Choice Pest Specialist can help you with all your mozzie problems. With proper consultation and inspection, our experienced team of specialists will customise a pest control strategy for you. From mosquito fogging to misting, expect quality pest control at proper safety standards.
If every household takes active measures to prevent mosquitoes from visiting their homes, the chances of mosquitoes breeding in the neighbourhood and spreading dengue fever will be reduced. Let’s play a part to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in our homes today!