Mosquito infestation has increased in the capital in recent times. But no significant steps have yet been taken to stop mosquito breeding.  Mosquitoes are one of the most feared insects in the world. Mosquitoes carry viruses and bacteria and spread them through their bites. About three and a half thousand species of mosquitoes have been found in the world so far. Mosquitoes spread 15 deadly diseases and malaria, filaria, kalazar, dengue, chikungunya, jika are caused by mosquito bites. The outbreak of mosquitoes is so high that every year in August, Mosquito Day is celebrated. According to international statistics, about 700 million people in the world are infected with mosquito-borne diseases and about 1 million people die every year. The dengue rate has increased almost 30 times in the last 30 years. It is difficult to find a person who does not suffer from mosquito bites.

It is important to take multi-pronged measures to prevent the spread of mosquitoes. A female mosquito can breed quickly in a very short time. Mosquito breeding is usually more at a temperature of 25 to 30 degrees. A mosquito-infected virus gives birth to 100 to 1000 viruses in four hours. A female mosquito usually lives 5 to 7 weeks. During this time a female mosquito breeds three to four times. Mosquitoes usually spend the first two weeks of their life cycle in water. It is very difficult to control when mosquitoes become adults. The life cycle of a mosquito is completed in four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult mosquito. Adult female mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water. We are all desperate to kill mosquitoes but we do not pay much attention to mosquito larva.  If this larva cannot be destroyed, it is not possible to kill mosquitoes in any way. The larva must first be killed to prevent mosquito infestation and this requires concerted efforts.

We try to avoid mosquito bites in various ways and we use coil and spray to repel mosquitoes. But the use of coils and sprays is very risky for health especially for children and adults. It is safe to sleep with a mosquito net. In order to kill mosquitoes, we need to have a clear idea about the origin, breeding, development and propagation of mosquitoes. There are many reasons behind the spread of mosquitoes and those are environmental pollution, dense population over-awareness, garbage, unplanned urbanization, industrialization, water-logging, unplanned drainage, Climate change, excessive use of pesticides and irregular mosquito eradication. The reasons behind the spread of mosquitoes that I have mentioned are all evident in our country. And for all these reasons mosquitoes spread very fast in our country. Mosquito bites not only cause discomfort but also cause various diseases in the body. If the Aedes mosquito bites, there are various complications in the human body including dengue fever. The task of killing mosquitoes is not as easy as it sounds.

There are a number of specific steps that must be taken to kill mosquitoes: 1. To collect sample, 2. Identifying larva, 3. To stop breeding, 4. Effective spraying of drugs, 5. Keeping the environment clean, 6. Removal of water-logging, 7. Be aware of the use of excess pesticides, 8. To secure the drainage system.  When the mosquito outbreak is on the rise, medicines are sprayed but it is not possible to kill mosquitoes just by spraying medicine. A recent survey shows that mosquitoes have increased their ability to survive in hostile environments. The effectiveness of mosquito killing medicine is not the same as before. Mosquitoes can be killed by pouring kerosene oil and Mobil into stagnant water but it is not a healthy method. Then how is it possible to kill mosquitoes? In this case, if the mosquito eggs can be destroyed, then it is possible to kill the mosquitoes very easily. It is never possible for the government alone to kill mosquitoes. We all have a responsibility to keep the environment clean. Therefore, besides state measures, we have to raise awareness among ourselves to kill mosquitoes. In 2019, 179 people died in dengue attacks.

Although there is no trend of Aedes mosquitoes this year, the number of other mosquitoes has increased. This increases the risk of other diseases, including filariasis and chikungunya. Meanwhile, many city dwellers complain that there are not enough spray of medicine for killing mosquito and if the medicine is used it does not work properly. Mosquito infestation exists in many parts of the world but by destroying the mosquito breeding grounds, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and some other countries have brought mosquitoes under control. The City Corporation says that the fourth generation larvicide pesticide is being sprayed to kill mosquitoes which are very effective. The city of Dhaka and its surrounding canals are crammed with garbage and it is possible to control me by cleaning all the garbage in the canals. Mosquitoes breed in these contaminated canals and drains. The breeding and spread of mosquitoes largely depends on the temperature. Community-based mosquito control activities are more likely to be effective. It is necessary to use integrated methods to kill mosquitoes and not just use chemical or pesticides.

It is essential to have a well-planned sample collection, detection and monitoring activities for the destruction of mosquito breeding grounds. It is more important to prevent mosquito breeding than to kill mosquitoes. It is easier to kill mosquito larva than to kill adult mosquitoes. So when the larva is formed in the water, it has to be killed. The larva can be killed by applying poison to the water but that is not a healthy method. Larva can be destroyed using soybean, neem or any other oily substance.

However, oily substances should not be used in the water in which fish is farmed. The larva can be destroyed using bleaching powder. Boiled garlic spray plays a helpful role in destroying larva. Dry ice can be used to destroy larva. Mosquito larva can also be destroyed by pouring apple cider vinegar in water. Soap and shampoo are quite effective in destroying mosquito larva. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water so no stagnant water should be kept around the house. The lion’s share of the budget allocated for mosquito control should be used to destroy mosquito breeding grounds. People need to be made aware of mosquito habitat, breeding centers and how larva spread. Allocations to this sector are increased every year to relieve the city dwellers from mosquito bites, but its success is not so visible. There are complaints that mosquito repellent devices do not work properly. Many machines are still crippled. Again people have a crisis. Crash programmes are adopted at different times to control mosquitoes, which is somewhat effective.

Those who spray medicine should also be monitored so that they cannot cheat. Some also allege that medicines are sold secretly and if it is done, surveillance should be stepped up. Machines that have become inoperable need to be repaired and put to use. It is not possible to kill mosquitoes with a fogger machine. The mosquitoes flee because of the loud noise of the fogger machine. However, a recent survey shows that 70 percent of mosquitoes are born from stagnant water and garbage in homes and from stagnant roof water. DCC workers are not allowed to spray medicine in all these houses. Therefore, the city dwellers should be more aware to prevent the spread of mosquitoes. Every citizen should continue their efforts from their respective positions so that mosquito breeding does not happen.

Mosquito breeding will no longer increase if citizens keep their homes and surroundings clean and remove stagnant water.

The writer is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola Dhaka Cantonment.

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