Mosquitoes are pests best known for leaving annoying, itchy bites on our skin. However, they also have the potential to spread deadly diseases and viruses like Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika when they bite an infected person. Only pregnant female mosquitoes are responsible for biting — they obtain the nutrients they need for their eggs through our blood, and are attracted to the carbon dioxide, warmth and humidity we give off.
In Singapore mosquito control is of utmost importance. Our environment provides the ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed, and our country faces a year-round battle with the Aedes mosquito as it is the primary spreader of Dengue.
What Types of Mosquitoes are in Singapore?
There are over 80 species of mosquitoes in Singapore. Thankfully, the majority of these species are uncommon and do not pose a threat to our health or well-being.
Mosquitoes commonly found in Singapore come from three groups. They are the Aedes mosquito, Culex mosquito and the Anopheles mosquito. These are the mosquitoes responsible for spreading diseases and causing major health concerns.
The Aedes mosquito is typically found in urban and suburban areas. There are two variants of the Aedes mosquito in Singapore: Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopitus. Amongst the two variants of the Aedes mosquito, Aedes Aegypti is considered to be the more potent transmitter of Dengue.
Physical Appearance: Adults are 4 - 7 mm in length. Aedes Aegypti is typically dark brown to black in colour with distinct white stripes on the abdomen and legs. There are also two distinct silvery white stripes on the thorax that form the shape of a lyre.
Life Cycle: Aedes Aegypti takes 6 - 8 days to go from egg to adult. It has an average lifespan of about two weeks.
Biting Behaviour: Aedes Aegypti typically bites during the day at dawn and dusk. They gravitate towards dark colours like black and red.
General Behaviour: Aedes Aegypti prefers to rest indoors in cool dark places such as on clothes, behind furniture and curtains. The Aedes mosquito is not a strong flier, covering only about 50 to 100 meters at a time.
Breeding Habitat: Aedes Aegypti breed in clean stagnant water. This variant of the Aedes mosquito prefers to breed indoors, typically in containers like pails, flowerpot plates and vases.
Diseases Transmitted: Aedes Aegypti can transmit the Dengue and Chikungunya virus.
Physical Appearance: Adults are 4 - 7 mm in length. Aedes Albopictus are a dark black with distinct white stripes on the abdomen and legs. It has a single, silvery-white stripe in the middle of its thorax.
Life Cycle: Aedes Albopictus take 6 - 8 days to go from egg to adult. It has an average lifespan of about two weeks.
Biting Behaviour: Aedes Albopictus typically bites during the day at dawn and dusk. They gravitate towards dark colours like black and red.
General Behaviour: Aedes Albopictus prefers to rest outdoors in vegetation. The Aedes mosquito is not a strong flier, covering only about 50 to 100 meters at a time.
Breeding Habitat: Aedes Albopictus breeds in outdoor pools of water. They can breed in both urban and suburban areas such as discarded containers, tree holes, tree stumps, ground depressions, canvas sheets, construction debris and more.
Diseases Transmitted: Aedes Albopictus can transmit the Dengue, Chikungunya and West Nile viruses.
The Culex mosquito inhabits both urban and suburban areas depending on the species.
Physical Appearance: Adults are 4 - 10 mm in length. Culex mosquitoes range from pale and light brown to yellowish in colour.
Life Cycle: Culex mosquitoes take 10 - 12 days to go from egg to adult. It has an average lifespan of 60 days.
Biting Behaviour: Culex mosquitoes come out to bite at night between midnight to five am.
General Behaviour: When they are not feeding, Culex mosquitoes can be found resting in dark, indoor areas during the day where they can hide from predators. They are long-distance fliers and can traverse distances of up to 50km in search of food.
Breeding Habitat: Culex mosquitoes breed in dirty, organically polluted stagnant water. Their eggs can be found in ditches, blocked drains, septic tanks and rice fields.
Diseases Transmitted: Culex mosquitoes transmit Japanese Encephalitis, Lymphatic Filariasis and West Nile virus.
The Anopheles mosquito is found outdoors, typically in undeveloped swampy and heavily forested areas.
Physical Appearance: Adults are 3 - 4.5 mm in length. Anopheles mosquitoes are light brown, with pale and dark scales on their legs, proboscises and wings.
Life Cycle: Anopheles mosquitoes take 16 - 18 days to go from egg to adult. It has an average lifespan of two weeks.
Biting Behaviour: Anopheles mosquitoes come out to bite when it is dark and are active from evening to early morning.
General Behaviour: Anopheles mosquitoes are nocturnal. They mate, feed and oviposit at night and can be found both indoors or outdoors depending on the species.
Breeding Habitat: Anopheles mosquitoes prefer to breed in clean, unpolluted water. They frequent brackish pools with algae and can breed in temporary or permanent water bodies.
Diseases Transmitted: Anopheles mosquitoes transmit Malaria.
Why Are Mosquitoes Dangerous?
Mosquitoes are considered dangerous pests because of their ability to carry and transmit vector-borne diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika, Malaria and more. These diseases can pose serious health risks and can even be life-threatening. Mosquitoes transfer these diseases and viruses through their bites.
In Singapore, dengue is a nationwide, year-round risk with thousands of cases every year. No medicine is available to treat dengue, which is mosquito pest control in Singapore is especially important. The best way to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito bites from occurring and do the mozzie wipeout steps to stop the dengue mosquito from breeding.
Professional Mosquito Control Methods
In Singapore mosquito control comes down to eliminating breeding sites and managing Aedes mosquito infestations whenever a dengue outbreak occurs.
Professional mosquito pest control methods include solutions that target adult mosquitoes as well as larvae in the water.
Larviciding targets and eliminates mosquito larvae by inhibiting their development. This mosquito pest control method uses larvicidal oils, chemical insecticides or biological larvicides to prevent mosquito larvae from maturing into their adult stage.
Mosquito pest control specialists apply the treatment to potential indoor and outdoor breeding pools of stagnant water to stop mosquitoes at their source.
Mosquito pest control specialists carry out misting by using spray nozzles to produce a fine mist of insecticide onto the treatment area. The misting process leaves behind insecticide droplets that coat the treated surface and kill adult mosquitoes upon contact.
Misting is generally carried out on a smaller scale than fogging and is used to treat targeted areas with minimal risk and disruption to activities. Misting is a short-term solution used to control the population whenever a dengue mosquito outbreak occurs or if there is a sudden increase in the number of mosquito bites in an area.
Fogging is a widely used Singapore mosquito control method in areas with a dengue mosquito infestation and active disease transmission.
NEA-certified mosquito control specialists use foggers that vaporise liquid insecticide with water to produce a fog that spreads and can cover a wide area effectively. This fog kills any adult mosquitoes that it comes into contact with. Fogging is especially effective for getting into nooks and crannies like drains and sewage pipes which would otherwise be inaccessible to other mosquito control methods.
However, since it only targets adult mosquitoes and does not address dengue mosquito breeding — it is often employed judiciously in Singapore to eradicate the Aedes mosquito population in dengue clusters with a high number of cases.
DIY Mosquito Control Methods
In contrast to professional mosquito pest control methods, DIY methods typically focus on repelling mosquitoes and preventing bites from occurring rather than killing them outright.
Mosquito Nets and Screens
Mosquito nets and screens are an excellent, cost-effective way to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
Mosquito nets are typically made out of tightly woven polyester, cotton or bamboo fabric with holes measuring 2mm. This is ideal to allow for air to circulate through the net while making it impossible for mosquitoes to enter the netting.
Mosquito screens are typically made out of a fine fibreglass mesh that is installed over windows to prevent unwanted guests like the dengue-causing Aedes mosquito from entering your home. Like the mosquito net, it is thin enough to allow air to circulate through while preventing pests from entering. Mosquito screens also come in a variety of colours and designs to complement your interior.
Mosquito coils combine dried pyrethrum powder with citronella and other binding agents. When the coil is lit, it produces smoke that spreads and discourages mosquitoes from hanging around.
Mosquito coils are an inexpensive and portable DIY mosquito control method but are more suited for outdoor use as they emit smoke. Smokeless coils are available for indoor use, but coils, in general, may produce a smell that is unpleasant to be around. They also only cover a small area and the effectiveness of the smoke repellent is subject to environmental conditions like the wind.
Mosquito Repellents and Essential Oils
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide as well as the warmth and humidity we give off. Mosquito repellents work by interfering with these signals and disrupting the mosquito’s ability to seek and zero in on a host to feed. Studies show that topical repellents that contain DEET have more effective mosquito-repelling effects, so look for a repellent that contains it if you wish to keep the mozzies away!
If you would like to avoid chemical repellents, essential oils such as citronella or eucalyptus oil are natural alternatives which are popular for their mosquito-repelling properties. You can purchase them as off-the-shelf products in spray form or as candles.
What is the Most Effective Way to Control the Mosquito Population?
As we’ve covered so far, eliminating adult mosquitoes is only a short-term solution to mosquito infestations.
Female mosquitoes can lay 100 - 200 eggs at a time, going through an average of 5 egg-laying sessions in their lifetime — that equates to thousands of eggs! Furthermore, the Aedes mosquito can breed in water bodies as small as the size of a 20-cent coin, and their eggs can lay dormant in dry conditions for six months, hatching when they are exposed to water again.
To make things worse, Singapore’s hot and humid environment provides the ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed and grow. mosquitoes in Singapore grow and mature faster than in other colder regions.
No matter how we may try to eradicate adult mosquitoes, a few surviving members are all it takes for the population to recover in a short amount of time. Hence, the best way to control mosquitoes long-term and prevent future infestations from reoccurring is to disrupt their breeding cycle.
This is why so many of Singapore’s NEA dengue campaign efforts — like the mozzie wipeout campaign, are focused on educating the public to identify and get rid of potential dengue mosquito breeding hotspots.
How Can You Stop Mosquito Breeding in Your Home?
The easiest way to play your part and stop mosquitoes from breeding is to be more aware and proactive about removing potential breeding spots in and around your home.
You can refer to the B-L-O-C-K mozzie wipeout as outlined in many NEA dengue campaign materials as a guide to avoiding stagnant water.
- Break up hardened soil
- Lift and empty flowerpot plates
- Overturn pails and wipe their rims
- Change water in vases
- Keep roof gutters clear and place BTI insecticide
If you have an existing mosquito infestation at home, consider seeking out pest control companies that offer home fumigation for mosquitoes
How Does Singapore Battle Dengue Outbreaks?
Singapore battles dengue through a combination of public awareness and education campaigns, preventative measures as well as reactive measures. This includes NEA dengue efforts like the reporting of dengue cases and clusters, as well as regular dengue inspections in public and commercial spaces to remove breeding habitats.
In the event of a dengue outbreak, fogging and other professional mosquito control methods are deployed at the affected area in an attempt to bring the dengue mosquito population under control.
Most notably, NEA dengue efforts have also included the use of Wolbachia technology to reduce the population of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes. This involves releasing male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes mosquitoes at selected sites. When female Aedes mosquitoes mate with the male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes mosquitoes, the resulting eggs do not hatch — thereby reducing the population of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes.
How Can We Protect Ourselves Against Bites?
While we do our best to prevent mosquitoes from breeding, you never know when you might be bitten. Follow these tips to protect yourself from annoying mosquito bites and the diseases they carry:
When going outdoors:
- Use a topical insect repellent on your exposed skin when going outdoors
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants to reduce your skin exposure
- Wear light-coloured clothing
- Avoid forested areas at night when mosquitoes are active
- Stay indoors during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes come out to feed, or follow the tips above if you are unable to do so.
When you are indoors:
- Consistently practice the 5-step mozzie wipeout as outlined in the NEA dengue campaign
- Install window screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home
- Sleep under a mosquito net to prevent mosquitoes from reaching you
- Consider using chemical repellents or essential oils like citronella to stop mosquitoes from being attracted to you
System Pest: Speedy and Professional Services for Mosquito Infestations
If you are consistently being bitten by mosquitoes, you could have an infestation on your hands. Don’t waste your time and effort on short-term fixes or DIY methods only for the mosquito problem to come back a few weeks later.
At System Pest Control Services, we provide professional mosquito control services to help you get rid of mosquitoes for good. Our specialists focus on long-term solutions, first eradicating the mosquito population in your area before carrying out preventative procedures so the infestation does not have a chance to reoccur. Other pest control services includes cockroaches, bedbugs, termites and more.
Contact us for more details about our mosquito control services.