From early January to June 2015, approximately 50,152 dengue cases were reported in Malaysia, with over 138 deaths recorded within the same period averaging over 300 new cases each day! Besides dengue, mosquitoes also serve as carriers for other viruses such as Yellow fever, Chikungunya and West Nile. It is disturbing considering more than 60% of Aedes mosquito breeding sites are documented in urban residential areas.
In an attempt to keep these disease transmitting, blood-suckers at bay people have invented all sorts of commercial and homemade devices and chemicals. Most interesting of these are the ones we can make at home using cheap, household stuff.
Note that most methods discussed here have never been scientifically proven to be effective, but some in the community think they are. They have been used in other countries, notably Thailand, as complementary vector control methods.
Innovative Vector Control Methods for Personal Use
1. Mosquito bottle trap
2. High velocity fan method
3. Mosquito light trap
– Place basin directly below the lamp
4. Black box trap (with electric insect swatter)
* Mosquitoes look for dark are
5. Rearing mosquitofish (guppies)
– Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) have been known to be a good biological control for mosquitoes because they feed on mosquito larvae. Some people rear them to prevent mosquitoes from using their ponds as breeding grounds.
6. There are also other scientifically-backed alternatives:
- Lime extract rubbed onto skin with a little vanillin (vanilla extract)
- Pelargonium radula or geranium plant placed inside the house
- Undiluted clove oil rubbed onto skin
Note that most research on plant-based repellents report their efficacy based on the use of the plant’s extract not the whole actual plant.
Whichever contraption, device or invention you use in your home, just make sure you also practise these preventive measures:
- Use mosquito coils, repellent or spray whenever necessary
- Avoid outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active (i.e. 5.30-8.30 am and 5.30-8.00 pm)
- Wear bright-coloured, long sleeved shirts and pants when going outside
- Install mosquito mesh/screen on windows
- Destroy mosquito breeding places. (e.g. open pots, basins or containers which retain water)
An educational contribution by Malaysian Paediatric Association.