Mosquitoes are tiny yet very annoying creatures. They are distributed globally with over 3000 species available worldwide. As small as they are, these pests are known to carry humankind’s deadliest diseases including malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and Zika, which is very common in Singapore.
Facts about Mosquitoes
• Despite being available in thousands of species, only three of these species are known to be diseases carriers. These are Anopheles, which causes malaria, Culex, which is known for causing West Nile fever, and Aedes, which causes dengue fever.
• Mosquitoes do not suck blood for nutritional gain, but rather, they did it to provide protein for their eggs. They live on plant nectar for nourishment.
• Human beings are not their first option for blood. Instead, they prefer cattle, horses, and wild animals. This explains the reason only a few animals harbor these tiny creatures.
• They have an adamant ability of sensing and can sense dinner from 50m away just as they can sense your murderous intentions and fly within milliseconds before you hit them.
• They can fly up to 40 miles in search of a meal with people who have high cholesterol levels and steroids on their skin tending to attract mosquitoes.
• Although a mosquito life cycle lasts for two weeks, some mosquitoes have a lifespan of four days. It also takes a mosquito two days as an adult before it performs its first bite.
• Male mosquitoes have a lifespan of only two weeks while females can live for a month or more and can cause a lot of harm during that time.
• Mosquito’s life cycle revolve around water, and it can take petite water for a mosquito to find a pleasant breeding place.
• Mosquitoes have terrible vision but they are highly attracted by carbon dioxide. That is how they can track you as you breathe.
Understanding the Potential Breeding Sites of Aedes Mosquitoes
The first step of controlling mosquitoes is learning their breeding areas and consequently destroying them. The Aedes mosquito, which is very common in Singapore and causes dengue fever, is not different from other mosquito species. It likes breeding in stagnant but clean water, which is common in homes. To eradicate this parasite from your home, you need to regularly check any containers including flowerpots holding water and empty them.
According to the National Environmental Agency, the most common breeding spots for these parasites in Singapore, in both homes and public places include:
• Domestic containers
• Flower pots
• Toilet bowls collar
• Ornamental containers
• Plant axils
• Closed and open perimeter drains
• Discarded receptacles
Aedes Mosquito Life Cycle
The Aedes mosquito lifecycle is made of four stages, the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Disrupting the lifecycle and its habitat is one effective pest control measure, which can help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home. Destroying the lifecycle should be the first step you consider before you decide to use pesticides.
The Egg Stage
Aedes mosquitoes like breeding in clean water. It does not require much water for breeding, and even bottled water can create suitable breeding conditions. In one breeding, a mosquito lays at least 100 eggs, and it can breed up to three times in its lifetime. The eggs can stay for up to nine months in a dry place waiting for favorable hatching conditions. These facts make it hard to eradicate these pests.
To eradicate breeding areas in your home;
• Clear bushes around your home and remove any places holding water.
• Keep your swimming pool clean
• Remove all unusable tires from your compound to prevent water from collecting in them.
• Make sure you clean and wipe all bird baths weekly.
The Larvae Stage
You can control mosquitoes during this stage either through biological or chemical measures. Either of these methods is effective:
• Use of a mosquito management program, in this case, is a good idea especially if you have water barrels and tanks in your home.
• Keeping fish mosquitoes in your water garden helps as fish feed on larvae.
The Adult Stage
At this stage, the mosquitoes have developed their profound sense, making them hard to control. You can still keep off your home through the following ways:
• Keeping your environment clean and clear by removing all bushes
• Use mosquito netted windows and make sure that they are in the right working condition.
• Treat your clothing with mosquito repellant; in this case, make sure you read instructions before applying.
• Mosquitoes are active at dawn and dusk, make sure you stay indoors during these hours. Also while outside, make sure you skin is covered and especially the arms and legs.
• Use pesticides and pest repellants.
Using Pesticides for Mosquito Control
Application of insecticides is one of the most popular mosquito control measures. It is very effective, but unfortunately, it does not last long since as soon as it dries up of drifts away, the mosquitoes are back. To improve its efficiency, it is advisable that you use it with other pest control measures.
Mosquito control pesticides are readily available in stores and come in handheld devices, which can easily be attached to the lawn mowers. Two main types of insecticides are used in controlling mosquitoes:
• Malathion: This organophosphate is also used in managing many pests on the farm. It is employed in small amounts to wiping out mosquitoes in the compound without posing any danger to human life or animals.
• Permethrin: this pesticide works by disrupting the mosquito’s central nervous system. It requires to be mixed with either water or oil, and they sprayed in mist form to keep off pests. Although it is harmless to human and animals, it can pose a danger to bees and fish.
In Singapore, there is great emphasis on mosquito eradication as it is the number one disease carrier. Search and destroy operations are common whereby mosquito breeding areas are destroyed before they can harbor these annoying and harmful insects. Mosquito management programs are used whereby eggs and larvae are destroyed before maturing. Larvae are destroyed using measures as oiling, using Abate sand granules, and spraying using pesticides. Adults, on the other hand, are eradicated using fogging, misting, and residual spraying.