In a press release earlier today (24 April), Rentokil, Singapore’s leading pest management specialist, shared how certain measures can be taken to further guard against unwanted “guests” in the house, which can be crucial steps to prevent the spread of Dengue by the Aedes mosquito as well as control the proliferation of pest such as ants and cockroaches, which may be elevated during this period.
The major concern of Dengue fever is the transmission of this disease spread through the bite of an infected female Aedes mosquito. Symptoms include high fever, skin rash, muscle and joint pains; in severe cases, it may lead to serious bleeding of internal organs, plasma leakage, and even death.
In 2020, reported cases of dengue fever in the first five weeks of the year was 60 per cent higher than the diagnosed over the same period for the previous year. In addition, there has been an increase in infections of dengue strain DENV-3.
With Singapore’s healthcare resources and locations fully mobilized to combat the COVID-19 situation, it is exceedingly undesirable to contract a disease such as Dengue during this period – not to mention getting infected at all. Yet even though Singapore has implemented strategies to control the Dengue outbreak, case numbers are still going up.
Rentokil experts stated that the continued and increased spread of Dengue despite government intervention is due to a few challenges when it comes to dealing with “mozzies”.
Firstly, the dense population of Singapore is an ideal mosquito breeding ground – with high temperatures, humidity, and steady rainfall all year round.
Secondly, the Singapore population has lower immunity to the Dengue strain DENV-3 – which has shown a recent increase in infections – as it has not been dominant for the past 30 years.
Lastly and most importantly, it still takes a community effort to contain the “mozzie” situation, and requires the collective effort of individual citizens.
Even though there is some form of fogging carried out regularly, this may be inadequate as fogging only addresses the adult mosquito population, and the mosquito breeding source is not eliminated; furthermore, the designated fogging coverage might not extend to your space, and even with fogging, mosquitoes can still fly to other surrounding areas.
In addition, common practices may not work as effectively as believed. For example, using Lemongrass with Citronella to repel mosquitoes may help in the short term but is not recommended as a long term intervention; and though using insecticide kills pests and mosquitoes, it releases harmful active ingredients into the household and does not address the root problem.
Taking these factors into account, Rentokil advised that the best way to control “mozzies” is to target the very source. One effective method would be to remove mosquito-breeding sources such as blockages and unused containers.
Rentokil experts also suggested for Singaporean households to take this opportunity and switch to a novel contact-less pest control such as In2Care.
The In2Care Mosquito Trap utilizes a Smart Control method that leverages on the typical behavior of adult female mosquitos to deliver larvicide which effectively kills both adult mosquitoes and larvae. A water-filled container attracts adult female mosquito when they are ready to lay their eggs.
When the mosquito enters the trap, it lands on the floater treated with In2Mix and gets infected with these biocides. It will lay a batch of eggs in the trap, but these will never develop into adult mosquitoes as they are killed by the larvicide in the water.
The infected adult female is then allowed to fly out of the trap to continue its search for new breeding sites. However, it is now carrying the larvicide powder and will spread to all surrounding breeding sites that it visits.
In this way, female mosquitoes control larval development in surrounding breeding sites up to 400 square meters around the trap. Eventually, the infected adult female mosquito is slowly killed by the larvicide that renders her less able to bite, and she will die within 7 to 14 days.
With the In2Care’s efficient mode of eliminating the breeding cycle on a wide scale basis, Rentokil experts noted that this would be a more efficient and feasible way to reduce the harmful mosquito population.
Pest control experts would also like to address a common misconception regarding shifting conditions due to the Work From Home (WFH) advisory – with increased food consumption and poor habits in households, this has led to an increase in pest issues such as ants and cockroaches.
Moreover, with island-wide shut down of work and retail premises, the public may perceive that the number of pests will be reduced. However, this is not the case as the pest population has in fact increased. This has prompted Rentokil’s technicians who are working even harder as essential servicing to disinfect and carry out pest control measures daily in the field.
“Dengue fever, at its highest level on record, requires a community effort to keep the mosquito population and breeding sources under control. In particular, during the COVID-19 period and during the circuit breaker where the fast majority of us spend more time at home, potentially closer to these breeding sites, there is a greater risk to our health and safety. We should take proactive steps in eliminating all diseases including some of the more commonly known diseases such as Salmonella often carried by cockroaches and Leptospirosis carried by rodents,” said Rentokil experts.
“With more people working from home, the pest activity among residents may increase because of the various activities such as increased food consumption and preparation at home as well as keeping homes more open for longer periods for pests to enter. Ongoing pest control protection is essential during this critical stage,” they added.