Singapore is experiencing its largest dengue outbreak to date. As the disease is spread by mosquitoes, here are easy steps you can take to stop mosquitoes breeding in and around your home.
Being a novel disease, the COVID-19 pandemic has been hogging the headlines for the past few months. It has, in fact, overshadowed the growth in Singapore of another debilitating disease: dengue.
The number of dengue cases as of 29 September has exceeded 30,400, making 2020 the year that Singapore has faced its largest dengue outbreak — and 2020 isn’t even over yet! Spread through the Aedes mosquito and endemic in Singapore and the neighbouring countries, this disease has yet to have a cure. It is thus important to practise preventive measures. Here are a few simple steps that you can take to protect your home and your loved ones from this risk of contracting dengue.
PREVENT WATER STAGNATION
Since the Aedes mosquito breeds in stagnant water, you should turn over empty containers such as pots, pails and vases, or cover them to ensure rainwater doesn’t collect in them. You can also add small fishes, such as platys or guppies, that eat mosquito larvae to pots and ponds.
CHANGE WATER IN VASES REGULARLY
It is a good habit to replace the water in flower vases on alternate days. Mosquito eggs may stick to the inner surfaces of vases or on the roots of plants, so scrub the inside of the vase and rinse the roots of the plants under running water.
KEEP MOSQUITO-REPELLING PLANTS
Certain plants contain compounds that deter mosquitoes and other insects. Citronella, neem and tulsi are some of the most effective and readily available plants that you can find in Singapore. Keeping them around not only adds greenery to your house, they can also help keep mosquitoes at bay.
USE ESSENTIAL OILS
Another natural repellent for mosquitoes are essential oils. Lemon eucalyptus, citronella and lemongrass are just some of the oils that repel mosquitoes. As most of them have a pleasant scent, you can use them in an aroma diffuser in your home, or apply them topically as an alternative to synthetic insect repellents.
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USE BTI IN BREEDING SPOTS
Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) is a microbial insecticide effective against mosquito breeding. It contains a toxin that kills mosquito larvae when ingested. Sold as briquets, granules and sprays, all you have to do is place it in possible breeding sites. As it is not harmful to humans, animals or the environment, it is a safe and long-term solution to curb the breeding of the sinister Aedes mosquito in your home.