Controlling the Mosquito Menace
A Serious Health Hazard
The number of people killed by Malaria in 2015 was 438,000; dengue killed another 22,000. Chikungunya, Zika fever, Yellow fever have all caused severe problems to humans. All these diseases have one thing in common, the mosquito bite!
Of course, people living in the tropical climate are worst affected, but others are also not spared. The article looks into some of the methods one can use to control the mosquito menace.
A Deadly Bite
Of Epidemic Proportion
The number of people killed by Malaria in 2015 was 438,000; dengue killed another 22,000. Other diseases spread through mosquito bites include Chikungunya, Zika fever, and Yellow fever. Each of these diseases is responsible for great suffering.
Top Methods to Control Mosquitoes
Method #1: Don't allow them to breed: Clean up their breeding grounds.
Method #2: Don't allow them to bite: Keep them away with nets or by using repellents.
Method #3: Kill them: Suffocate or poison.
Stop them from Breeding
Not allowing them to procreate is the first line of defence against these tiny but deadly pests. Ensure that there are no breeding grounds. And what are these breeding grounds? Mosquitoes need stagnant water, damp areas to breed. Eliminate such spaces, and most of the battle is won. But then this is not as simple as it sounds, even a small container or old tyres left in the open can become their breeding ground. The situation is made worse during the rainy season.
Mosquito the Deadly Pest
There is no point in being kind to these pests. Be ruthless, as even one bite can prove to be very dangerous. Kill them, repel them and don't allow them to breed.
Nip Them in the Bud
There are times when stagnant water is unavoidable. In such cases, there is a simple way to kill the larvae. Add a capful of kerosene into the stagnant water, and they should die. Of course, a deadly insecticide can also do the job, but that is not required.
A word of caution while using kerosene, ingesting the liquid or more prolonged exposure to it can be dangerous. Take the necessary precautions while using it.
Many Methods to Stay Safe
Don't Allow Them to Bite
This methodology is something that most mosquito repellents available in the market try to achieve. Let me start with the most environmentally friendly and effective one, but a bit cumbersome to use.
The mosquito net: Yes, it takes some time to set it up, and one has to use it carefully. However, this is the most effective method as it is foolproof. Further, it neither smells nor is harmful — my five stars to this method.
The mosquito creams: There are many mosquito repellent creams, patches and bands that can keep the insect away available in the market. However, the worry here is that such repellents are should either be rubbed on to ones body or may continuously touch the skin. One cannot rule out allergy due to such products, but generally, these are safe and certified by the authorities. Yet, one has to use ones discretion while buying them.
Mosquito repellent vapours: Vaporising the mosquito repellent liquid is an effective way to control the menace. But for some, the odour is unpleasant or suffocating. Keeping the room windows open can solve this problem at least in part. Some users suggest a step by step method to use these.
- Step 1: Switch on the vaporiser in a closed room (ideally, as soon as the sun sets)
- Step 2: Open the windows after a couple of hours of switching on the vaporiser. This helps the vapours as wells as the mosquitoes escape from the room.
- Step 3: Close the windows after keeping it open for an hour
- Step 4: Finally, switch off the machine after another 10 minutes of keeping it on.
Those who suggest the procedure believe that it reduces the vapour's impact and keeps the mosquitoes at bay.
Mosquito Coils: The mosquito coils are lit like an incense stick. For all practical purposes, they function like a vaporiser. The only difference being that they have to be burned. These can also cause discomfort because of the fumes.
Ultrasound Repellers: Some studies claim that ultrasound repellers are not that effective. However, I could not establish the veracity of these reports. Reviews by users who bought these machines online paint a different picture. They say it is useful, but there is a need to keep them in places where there is no obstruction to the ultrasound waves. That did sound logical to me.
Mosquito Repellents do Work
Most mosquito repellents available in the market can do the job. Choose the one that works best for you.
Mosquito Breeding Grounds
Kill the Mosquitoes
Blue Light Machines: Mosquitoes, like other insects, also get attracted to the blue light. Once near, they can be electrocuted or sucked in with the help of a reverse fan. Both of these methods are effective; however, the crackling sound created on electrocution is a bit disconcerting to some.
Mosquito Rackets: If you have not seen them, they do look like tennis rackets, but have the potential to give a shock. And this shock is enough to kill the mosquitoes. These are rechargeable and should always be kept charged. The main minus point in this method is that one has to chase the insects. At times this is not easy.
The Natural Methods
Applying oils that create a strong odour has traditionally been used to repel mosquitoes. These oils include Citronella, Eucalyptus oil, camphor mixed oil and balms used for the common cold. The strong odour confuses the mosquito and hence is effective. My experience shows that there is limited success to these methods.
But what happens when these oil evaporate? Yes, the mosquitoes will return to bite. So it is useful in the short run, but will it last through the night is anybody's guess.
Try a combination of these ideas to stay safe.