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Why are we infested with Mosquitoes at times and what can be done to fight them?

 

To combat mosquito infestations, several measures like Mosquito Control Programs , Public Awareness and Education , IPM, Environmental Management , Community Engagement, etc can be implemented.

 

June 3, 2024
 
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Why are we infested with Mosquitoes at times and what can be done to fight them?
 

The UAE, like many tropical and subtropical regions, faces challenges with mosquito infestations due to its warm climate and ample water sources, which provide ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Several factors contribute to the prevalence of mosquitoes in the UAE:

  • The Climate
    A warm and humid climate creates favorable conditions for mosquito breeding. The optimal temperature range for mosquitoes to develop is 25 - 30°C.  When temperatures exceed 40°C, adult mosquitoes die and eggs and larvae fila develop.
  • Water Sources
    Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, which is abundant in this region due to irrigation systems, construction sites and drainage systems. Pools of water accumulate in unused containers, puddles, and open sewage, providing ample breeding sites for mosquitoes.
  • Urbanization
    Rapid urbanization and construction often lead to the creation of new habitats for mosquitoes. Construction sites with standing water and poorly managed green spaces can contribute to mosquito breeding.
  • Travel and Trade
    Where there is a major hub for international travel and trade, chances are that there is a increased risk of introducing new mosquito species or strains carrying diseases. Mosquitoes can hitchhike on cargo ships, planes, and vehicles, leading to the spread of diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika virus.

To combat mosquito infestations, several measures can be implemented:

  • Mosquito Control Programs
    Implementing comprehensive mosquito control programs is essential. This includes surveillance, larvicide, and adulticide to target mosquito larvae and adults. Larvicides are applied to breeding sites to prevent larvae from developing into adults, while adulticides are used to kill adult mosquitoes.
  • Public Awareness and Education
    Educating the public about the importance of mosquito control and personal protection measures is crucial. This includes promoting the use of insect repellents, wearing protective clothing, and eliminating mosquito breeding sites around homes and communities.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
    Adopting an integrated approach to mosquito control, which combines biological, chemical, and environmental methods, can be effective. This may involve introducing mosquito predators such as fish or using biological control agents like Bacillus thuringiensis (BTI) to target mosquito larvae.
  • Environmental Management
    Proper management of water sources and drainage systems is essential for reducing mosquito breeding habitats. This includes clearing blocked drains, removing stagnant water, and maintaining water storage containers properly.
  • Community Engagement
    Engaging communities in mosquito control efforts can enhance effectiveness. Encouraging residents to report mosquito breeding sites and participate in clean-up campaigns can help reduce mosquito populations.
  • Research and Innovation
    Continued research into mosquito biology, behavior, and control methods is essential for developing new and more effective strategies. Investing in innovative technologies such as mosquito traps, genetic control methods, and repellent-treated clothing can bolster mosquito control efforts.

By implementing a combination of these measures, one can effectively combat mosquito infestations and reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, improving public health and quality of life for everyone.

About the author:

Tatjana Ahmed is the Director of Housekeeping at Grand Hyatt, Dubai and the Chairperson of the UAE Housekeepers Association.