Mar 13, 2016 News
By Sharmain Grainger
Mosquitoes were probably here before mankind inhabited the earth and probably will be here for many, many more years to come. I say this to emphasize that there is no point in trying to have them extinct altogether.
What is however recommended and is very achievable, I believe, is controlling the size of their population by doing some rather simple things. By simple, I mean embracing the notion that “cleanliness is next to godliness.”
Keeping your immediate environment clean should be your responsibility. By simply discarding containers in which water can settle for days or clearing a clogged-up drain could help get rid of a great deal of your mosquito troubles.
But there are some less obvious water accumulating sites that can also be very friendly to mosquito-breeding activities. These can include flower vases, clogged gutters on your roof and even tyres.
You should know that old tyres that are stored around the yard are an especially perfect haven for mosquitoes to breed. Whether left in an upright or lying position they have this great way of holding water for days after rainfall.
And mosquitoes simply love stagnant water since it helps them to thrive unabated. And they can breed well in both fresh and dirty water.
According to experts, most mosquitoes only need water to be stagnant for about three to four days before they start to make use of it as a breeding site. Once ideal, the female mosquito can reportedly lay between 100 and 300 eggs in a body of water. And based on some reports, a single mosquito could help to unleash a new batch of mosquitoes in your environment every week.
It is important to note that a female mosquito can lay from 1,000 to 3,000 eggs during her lifetime. And her lifespan can range from a week to several months. Just imagine how many mosquitoes are already in your environment and are preparing to infiltrate, if you have the conditions that are conducive for breeding.
But what makes the mosquito breeding process really frightening, if you take the time to think about it, is that the female mosquito needs our blood to nourish her developing offspring. This is the only reason mosquitoes bite. What you may not know is that as adults, mosquitoes are really vegetarians, as they feed on plant nectar for their survival. Their babies, however, need our blood to join them.
Moreover, it has long been established that only the female mosquitoes indulge in the feeding of their babies, which in the developmental stage are called larvae.
But what scientists were able to ascertain is that in taking our blood, mosquitoes have been leaving behind residues. And among these residues are in fact viruses such as Malaria, Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and Zika, among others. In essence, if a mosquito bites a person who is infected with one of these viruses it can easily transmit the virus to an uninfected person while sucking their blood. Creepy, but proven to be very true. It is even creepier if you saw a close-up of how a mosquito drinks on your blood pretty much like a vampire. You can check out many such eerie videos on YouTube.
They, however, can’t transmit the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This is a fact that has been established for years, otherwise it might have been extremely taxing on Governments to cater to the needs of a vastly infected population.
But Governments already see mosquitoes as a major threat. This is in light of the fact that they already leave many Governments financially spent, tackling the known viruses they transmit. The local health sector has time and again attested to the fact that millions are spent annually to combat mosquito-borne viruses. And dealing with emerging mosquito-borne viruses is certainly not very comforting to Governments and citizens alike.
Currently, the most feared mosquito is the fairly domesticated Aedes type. They live among us, they breed among us, and so they easily transmit viruses among us. The Zika Virus is probably one of the most dreaded, currently, due to the fact that it has been linked to birth defects and autoimmune disorders. Protecting pregnant women is a high priority of Governments, since many children in Brazil have been born with defects believed linked to the virus.
Otherwise, the virus is reportedly rather mild, but if symptoms are apparent they can be easily treated. It manifests itself similarly to Dengue Fever and Chikungunya with muscle and joint pains, rash, headache and fever with added conjunctivitis (pink eye).
Although Guyana has been able to confirm five cases of the virus thus far, there have been no reports of pregnant women contracting the virus. This is according to Minister of Public Health, Dr, George Norton, who told me last week “we have been extremely lucky.” He insists though that his Ministry is not naïve about the possibility of such an occurrence.
Moreover, the health sector has been engaging in regular fogging and residual spraying to help keep to a minimum the transmitting vector.
But the health sector cannot do it alone. Your help is also needed and probably won’t cost you much more than a little time and effort, all in the interest of protecting yourself and family.
Maybe we can take a page out of the life of the female mosquito, which sacrifices being a vegetarian in order to ensure that her young ones can thrive. By this I mean, sacrifice some time today to ensure your immediate environment is clean, thereby helping to reduce the mosquito population and safeguarding your family’s wellbeing.
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