There are several mosquito control strategies that you must have not heard of, I am sure that one of the most frustrating moments would be when you are dealing with mosquitoes, especially when you are taking a nap or resting.
Here are a few tips on how to control these pesky creatures or better still kick them out permanently if possible. Mosquitoes would probably be the most dangerous creatures on earth.
Mosquitoes spread diseases that are capable of killing more people than in wars. Malaria, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes, kills approximately 200 to 300 million people and infects over 200 million people every year.
Over a million people are weakened and killed by other mosquito-transmitted diseases like yellow fever, dengue, filariasis, encephalitis, etc.
Untold Facts About Mosquitoes
Mosquitos are a Spanish word for ”little fly.” They belong to the community of insects known as Diptera, or flies. Diptera denotes “two wings,” a trait that differentiates flies from other insects.
Mosquitoes are unique for their proboscis (extended tubular mouthparts used for sucking fluids) and their hair-like scaled bodies. There are roughly 3,600 species of small flies including the family Culicidae coined from the Latin culex signifying “gnat”.
Mosquito as a word was formed by Mosca and Diminutive, and as earlier said is a Spanish word for a little fly. Distinct features of mosquitoes include a slender segmented body, a pair of wings, a pair of halteres, three pairs of long hair-like legs, and extended mouthparts used in feeding on blood and nectar.
Like most insects, mosquitoes have four developmental stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. They lay eggs on water surfaces, these eggs hatch into motile larvae and feed on aquatic algae and organic matter.
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What You Should Know About Mosquito Bites?
Mosquito bites are usually small and inflamed. They are a result of female mosquitoes feasting on human blood. Only female mosquitoes nourish themselves with human blood.
The Aedes, Culex, and Anopheles mosquitoes are the different types of mosquitoes that exist in the world. Mosquito bites do not result in any lasting harm.
They only cause slight irritation and annoyance for a while. Nevertheless, mosquitoes are harmful because they transmit diseases that can be lethal.
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Why are Mosquito Control Strategies Important?
Mosquito control strategies are important because various types of mosquitoes are carriers of deadly diseases as a result you’ll need various mosquito control strategies.
In Malaysia, the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species carry dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. Anopheline species is a known carrier of both monkey and human malaria while numerous Culex mosquitoes are known to transmit the Japanese encephalitis virus.
Mosquitoes cause nuisances, all thanks to some Culex mosquitoes due to their irritating bites. Aside from treatment and healthcare, putting mosquitoes in check is an important measure to curtail the spread of disease and nuisance.
Mosquito control regulates the population of mosquitoes to help curtail the harm they cause to human health, economy, and enjoyment.
Mosquito control is a crucial public-health practice across the globe especially in tropical areas because mosquitoes transmit deadly diseases like malaria and the Zika virus.
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Reasons Why You Need Mosquito Control Strategies?
Due to the harm mosquitoes generally caused, there are urgent efforts made by humans to reduce their population. Mosquito control strategizes are geared toward three different problems:
Nuisance: mosquitoes are generally annoying, from singing in our ears to their irritating bites. They disturb people at home, in parks, and in other public places. This is the need to control it.
Economic problem: Mosquitoes infest real estate reducing its value because no one wants to stay in a mosquito-infested environment. Mosquitoes adversely affect tourist sites as people avoid places infested with mosquitoes. It negatively affects farms like livestock farms and poultry farms, they cause diseases in these animals making them lose economic value.
Public health: The diseases mosquitoes spread are harmful to humans. Most times, it leads to death.
The 8 Effective Mosquito Control Strategies
There are several ways dengue mosquitoes can be controlled or eliminated. These methods are:
1. Monitoring mosquito populations
Mosquito populations can be monitored with the use of:
Landing rate counts: In landing rate counts, an inspector comes around breeding sites every day taking note of the number of adult male or female mosquitoes that land either In the arm or legs or both of them within a set time interval.
Mechanical traps: Fans are used to blow adult mosquitoes into a collection bag and take them to the laboratory for catch analysis. These mechanical traps males use visual cues like light, black/white contrast, or chemicals that attract mosquitoes given off by mosquito hosts to attract adult female mosquitoes. Examples of these chemicals are carbon dioxide, ammonia, lactic acid, and octanoic acid. These cues are often used together.
Entomology lidar detection: This can show the distinction between male and female mosquitoes.
Monitoring larval mosquito populations entail the collection of larvae from stagnant water using a dipper or a turkey baster.
Another way is by creating an artificial breeding space using an ovitrap, collecting and counting the number of developing larvae at set time intervals.
This helps to know the present species of mosquitoes if the mosquitoes are increasing or decreasing in number, and also know the disease(s) they carry.
2. Chemical Control Strategy
This control method can be achieved in two ways: space or outdoor spraying of insecticides or indoor residual spraying of insecticides.
Chemical insecticides are used to destroy mosquitoes, such as fogging, they can be directly applied around breeding or resting sites. Space spraying of insecticide is done for dengue control.
3. Source Reduction
This is one of the best mosquito control strategies, it involves destroying possible breeding spaces where mosquitoes can lay their eggs like removing containers, tires, or bowls that can store water, clearing blocked gutters, repairing leaks around faucets, etc can help to reduce the population of mosquitoes.
When there is no place to breed, there will be no need to exist. This is an effective way to reduce the mosquito population without the use of chemicals. This method can achieve success only when done repeatedly.
4. Environmental Control Strategy
This is one of the mosquito control strategies that emphasize altering the environment to make it an unconducive breeding space for mosquitoes.
A common example is the making of sub-soil drainage where drains are hidden or buried to make them unavailable to mosquitoes.
5. Biological Control Strategy
Biological mosquito control strategies aid the introduction of parasites, predators, pathogens, and symbionts of mosquitoes. It is the utilization of the natural adversaries of pests like mosquitoes to regulate the pest population.
The most common and successful biocontrol agents of mosquitoes are fish and the bacteria referred to as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) and Bacillus sphaericus (Bs).
Biological control is an eco-friendly method and safe for non-target organisms. Mosquitoes are less resistant to this method.
Some of these predators that prey on mosquito larvae include Gambusia affinis, Carps, Minnows, Killifish, Tilapia, Dragonflies, some species of lizards and Wall geckos, birds, frogs, bats, etc.
Just like other animals, mosquitoes tend to become ill, and Invertebrate pathologists research these diseases to utilize them in mosquito control.
Some microbial pathogens of mosquitoes are nematodes, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, and microsporidia, they are introduced to feed on adult mosquitoes.
6. Personal Protection
You can protect yourself from mosquito bites with the use of mosquito repellents, coils, mats, clothing, etc.,
7. Trap Deployment
It is an eco-friendly method of controlling mosquitoes. It involves creating an artificial breeding space with an ovitrap or an ovillanta using common household utensils in killing mosquito larvae by non-toxic natural means.
This could be discarding the larvae in dry places or feeding them to Gambusia affinis larvae eating fish, or choking them by laying a tiny plastic sheet over the entire water surface to obstruct atmospheric air.
Transferring water filled with larvae into another container and adding a few drops of kerosene oil or insecticide/larvicide into it is another effective strategy for eliminating wrigglers.
Although it is not the best as the chemicals can be toxic to the environment. Worthy of note is that most ornamental fishes feed on mosquito larvae.
8. Oil Drip
An oil drip can or oil drip barrel is another non-toxic and popular mosquito control strategy. The tiny layer of oil on the water’s surface hinders mosquitoes from breeding in two different ways:
- The oil film hinders the penetration of mosquito larvae in the water with their breathing tubes consequently causing them to drown and die, and,
- The impossibility of adult mosquitoes to reproduce on oiled water.
In addition, some people believe that mosquito control is a huge task, thus, it should be the responsibility of the government.
Government can make this easy by making laws that will facilitate environmental cleanliness and also educate people on the dangers of mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. These will play crucial roles in mosquito control.
The adverse effect of mosquito infestation can not be overemphasized, from the nuisance they cause to the diseases they carry. It is an emergency call to devise strategies to keep them away for good.
We discussed all there is to know about mosquito control strategies and further explained various ways to control mosquitoes in our environment.
we talked about oil drips, environmental control, biological control, use of traps, personal protection, source reduction, chemical control, and monitoring mosquito populations.
Not leaving out the role the government can play to utilize these mosquito control strategies to help eradicate these pests.