The Ultimate Guide to Mosquito Prevention, Treatment and Control in Singapore

Mosquitoes are tiny creatures. Without their wing’s buzzing sounds, we might not be aware of their presence. Nevertheless, they feed on humans and animals, leaving itchy, annoying bites on the flesh that can cause excessive irritation and infection. Mosquitoes cause annoyance with their uncanny ability to detect humans’ presence, taking blood and disappearing before a fatal swat.

Types of mosquitoes in Singapore

Numerous species of mosquitoes are active in Singapore. Some of the species are uncommon or seldom pose a threat to public health.

Mosquito and dengue in singapore

The primary mosquito species of concern in Singapore are:

  • Aedes aegypti
  • Aedes albopitus
  • Culex quinquefasciatus
  • Anopheles sundaicus
  • Anopheles maculatus.

Aedes Mosquitoes

Aedes mosquitoes exist in urban and suburban areas. They are black with white stripes on their body and legs. They are the so-called container breeders that prefer to breed in stagnant water, including natural and artificial containers.

Aedes Aegypti

Aedes aegypti is an indoor species that tends to breed and rest in cool dark places.

Aedes Albopitus

Aedes albopitus mosquitoes prefer to breed outdoor, especially in areas with vegetation.

Culex and Anopheles mosquitoes

Culex and Anopheles mosquitoes are night biters. Most of them are brown. Culex mosquitoes tend to breed in polluted water while Anopheles mosquitoes breed in brackish water (depending on the species).

Signs of Mosquito Infestations

A mosquito infestation in premises is most easily detected through mosquito bites.

These bites leave itchy bumps on people’s skin.

Besides mosquito bites, you may also notice an irritating buzzing sound as mosquitoes fly near your head. It is common to spot flying adult mosquitoes around the infested premises. Their larvae and pupae may be found in water bodies such as vase and flowerpot plates.

aedes mosquito and dengue

Life Cycle and Biology

The life cycle of Aedes Mosquitoes (from eggs to adults) takes around one week under favourable conditions. The tropical climate in Singapore provides mosquitoes with optimum temperature for their growth. Compared to other countries outside the tropical region, mosquitoes require less time to complete their life cycle in Singapore.

A female mosquito generally can lay about 100 to 200 eggs per time.

Also, it can lay eggs up to 5 times in its lifetime. Hence, a viable female mosquito produces a thousand eggs. One terrible fact about Aedes mosquitoes’ eggs is that they can resist dehydration for more than 6 months. In other words, the eggs can survive in a dry condition for up to 6 months or more and hatch once they are exposed to water.

The hatching of eggs takes about 2 to 3 days. The larvae formed have four developmental stages. They grow from one stage to another, moult in water and get bigger. It usually takes about 4 to 5 days for a larva to become a pupa.

As they grow to become pupae, this is a stage where they do not feed at all. They will usually rest at the water surface and wait for their emergence of becoming adult mosquitoes. This process only takes 1 to 2 days.

For adult mosquitoes, females will suck blood to provide nutrients for their eggs. However, male mosquitoes will only feed on nectar or plant juices. Both sexes prefer to stay in cool and dark places.

Medical Importance

Beyond the nuisance factors, mosquitoes are vectors of some deadly diseases, including Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, Zika, Japanese Encephalitis, and Malaria. Among these diseases, Dengue Fever is one of the most severe vector-borne diseases affecting our community in Singapore.

Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopitus are the two main species of Aedes mosquito that can transmit Dengue fever in Singapore.

The most common mode of transmission starts when an Aedes mosquito bites a person infected with Dengue virus. The virus then undergoes an extrinsic incubation period in the mosquito. It takes about 8-12 days before granting the mosquito the ability to transmit the virus for the rest of its life. The infectious mosquito then transmits the virus to humans via its bite. The intrinsic incubation period in humans can take up to 10 days. An infected human will then begin to show symptoms of the disease.

Symptoms of Diseases

symptoms of dengue

If someone is infected with Dengue fever, they may only show few or no signs of the disease. This is called asymptomatic. Some people may experience symptoms a few days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus.

The common symptoms of Dengue fever are:

  • Recurring fever
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Bone pain
  • Severe headache
  • Skin rash with red spots

While the fever is usually not fatal, it can progress to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF). Life-threatening complications may then occur.

The symptoms of DHF include:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Bruising
  • Uncontrolled bleeding

Finally, DHF can also lead to a high fever (lasting between 2 to 7 days) and Dengue Shock Syndrome.

Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites

Singapore’s hot and humid climate makes it a paradise for mosquitoes to breed. The threat of Dengue in Singapore is all year round. However, there are still no vaccines or drugs that can effectively treat or prevent dengue fever. Hence, reducing the risk of getting mosquito bites will lower the chances of having dengue fever. Several factors can affect the attraction of female mosquitoes towards a blood meal, namely carbon dioxide, body odour and the heat emitted by animals and human. Here are some ways to prevent mosquito bites:

1. Use insect repellents

Apply insect repellent to bare skin when going outdoors. Repellents containing DEET (the common active ingredient in insect repellents) are the most widely available insect repellents in the world. A great deal of testing has been done on DEET insect repellents. They are proven to be safe to use.

2. Wear protective clothing

Vision is one thing mosquitoes use to search for their blood meal. Black or dark coloured clothes are proven to be more attractive than light coloured clothes for mosquitoes. However, mosquitoes can bite through clothing that is made of thin materials like tights. Hence, long-sleeved thick clothing is advisable as mosquitoes might find it difficult to bite through.

3. Avoid peak mosquito hours

To avoid mosquito bites, you might need to plan any outdoor activities when mosquitoes are less active. Although different species have different active hours, mosquitoes are generally more active during dawn and dusk.

4. Keep air circulating

Mosquitoes are weak fliers, which means they are not that efficient at flying and are not able to handle strong wind. Use of electric fans for outdoor activities and gatherings can prevent you and your family from mosquito bites. Mosquitoes usually fly at the lower half of our bodies and near the ground. Therefore, aim fans towards that area.

5. Sleep under a mosquito net

If you notice mosquito bites on your body after hours of sleeping, using a mosquito net would be a good idea.

6. Get rid of stagnant water

Any puddles of water around your home can become a potential breeding source for mosquitoes. Always be mindful to empty water from flowerpots, plates, pet food, WC pan collar, buckets, barrels and cans at least once or twice a week as mosquitoes’ life cycle can be completed within a week. Always cap the bamboo pole holders when not in use to prevent rainwater from splashing into the holders.

7. Keep your landscapes and home clean

Remember to keep the gully traps, scupper drains, and roof gutters clean. Thinning dense vegetation will help to improve air circulation. You can avoid getting mosquito bites by making your environment less desirable or appealing to them.

mosquito tips

How to Prevent Mosquito Breeding In and Around your Home

Controlling and preventing mosquitoes in Singapore is a real challenge. As mentioned, the climate offers an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. However, public awareness, preventive methods, and collective efforts are crucial in the battle against Dengue in Singapore.

Aedes mosquitoes can breed in water bodies that are as small as the size of a 20 cents coin. Thus, all stagnant water must be eliminated to prevent mosquito breeding.

Practice the following 5-step Mozzie Wipeout recommended by the National Environment Agency:

  1. Turn any unused pails
  2. Regularly change the water in vases
  3. Flip flowerpot plates
  4. Loosen hardened soil in flowerpots or planter boxes
  5. Clear roof gutter and place biological control (Bti)

Other than the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout, we must also do a thorough check-up and prevention including:

  1. Cover rarely used gully traps/ install anti-mosquito valves
  2. Cover all containers storing water
  3. Clear water from dish rack trays
  4. Cover bamboo pole holders
  5. Keep drains free from obstructions such as dry leaves and tree branches
  6. Seal up tree holes in gardens using sand or cement to prevent the collection of stagnant water
  7. Seal up gaps around covers using a silicone-based caulk
  8. Remove unwanted receptacles to avoid the accumulation of rainwater
  9. Repair outside leaks
  10. Consider poking a tiny hole with a pin in leaf axils (between the leaves and the stem) for proper drainage as those areas are likely to collect water.

DIY methods

The use of essential oils to repel mosquitoes is not a new thing. The essential oils extracted from some plants such as lemongrass and peppermint contain chemical constituents that are proven to be effective mosquito repellents. If you cannot stand the smell and smoke of mosquito coils, you may consider using essential oils since they are derived from natural plants while also packed with other benefits to the human body.

One of the most effective ways of preventing mosquito bites is by keeping them out of your house.

You can do this by using insect screens. This method is simple, chemical-free yet effective since you can protect your home from the invasion of mosquitoes and other pests.

Professional mosquito treatment

Adoption of permanent measures is strongly advised to address and eliminate the root cause of mosquito breeding. The DIY methods are recommended if the level of mosquito activity is low, and if our only aim is to repel them. The common ways of reducing the number of adult mosquitoes and eliminating the breeding source are thermal fogging, misting and larviciding.

Thermal Fogging

Thermal fogging is widely used in Singapore. It is a method used to kill adult mosquitoes. The hand-carried fogger runs by heating mixed solution with gasoline from the combustion chamber. The insecticide will be pumped via a delivery valve and injected to the fog head or nozzle. From there, insecticide liquid will be vaporized into hot gas and released into the target places.

Thermal fogging provides a better penetration of aerosol insecticide, which the insecticide can reach target areas more effectively. However, the duration of its residual effect is short, which can only kill adult mosquitoes present during the treatment.

Misting

Misting is a motor-driven ULV unit that targets flying insects, especially mosquito species. This method sprays fine mist of insecticide into the air. The gasoline-driven engine is used to pressure and force the formulation from the insecticide container to produce the high-volume insecticide mists through the nozzles. Misting leaves behind insecticide droplets and creates residual chemical effect on the treated surface to kill adult mosquitoes upon contact. However, the droplets can be washed off by rainwater.

Larviciding

Larviciding is used to eliminate the larvae found in a water body, and to prevent the breeding of mosquito larvae before it takes place. Some of the most common larvicides used are larvicidal oils, chemical insecticides and biological larvicide such as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti).

Larvicidal oils have a physical mode of action whereby they act as surfactants that prevent mosquito larvae and pupae from rising to the water surface for respiration, causing them to drown. Chemical larvicides usually kill larvae and pupae by affecting their nervous system. Bti is a microbe that will be ingested by the larvae, and their toxins will be activated in the larvae’s midgut, paralyzing and damaging their digestive systems, thus killing them.

Vehicle Mounted Fogging & Misting

Killem Pest is one of the few pest control companies in Singapore that uses the vehicle-mounted fogger and mister. The fogger is a large version of the common hand-carried fogger and has a higher performance because of its faster application rate.

On the other hand, the vehicle-mounted mister provides a better application compared to the normal hand-carried mister. The adjustable aerosol nozzles allow a better variation of misting direction and ensure wider distribution of insecticides towards the treated areas.

Controlling the population of mosquitoes in Singapore is not an easy challenge, but we are certainly taking it on. Early detection facilitates the prevention of their breeding and management of their population. With more research and knowledge about the insects, we will be able to keep their populations under control.


Dengue in Singapore

The Major Threat of Dengue in Singapore

Outbreaks of Dengue in Singapore are very common. 2019 saw several significant Dengue cluster formations. The charts for 2020 predict a continuation of the threat of Dengue in Singapore. The coronavirus outbreak has sparked concern that construction sites may become Dengue hotspots.

NEA Dengue Cases in Singapore
Chart of Dengue cases in Singapore (as of May 15th, 2020). Source: NEA

Risk of Dengue in Singapore

Dengue is a tropical disease that is caused and transmitted through mosquitoes. Singapore’s hot and humid climate makes it a paradise for mosquito breeding.

The threat of Dengue in Singapore is all year round.

In recent years, the two most significant Dengue outbreaks occurred at the beginning of the year (2016) and around halfway through the year (2019). See chart above.

Common Symptoms of Dengue Fever

If you are infected with Dengue fever, you may only show few or no signs of the disease. This is called asymptomatic.

Some people may experience symptoms a few days after they’ve been bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus.

Common symptoms

  • Recurring fever
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Bone pain
  • Severe headache
  • Skin rash with red spots

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF)

While the fever usually isn’t fatal, in some cases it progresses to something called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF). Life-threatening complications may then occur.

Symptoms of DHF include:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Bruising
  • Uncontrolled bleeding

Finally, DHF can also lead to a high fever (lasting between 2 to 7 days) and Dengue Shock Syndrome.

Transmission of Dengue

Dengue is transmitted via Aedes mosquitoes. The most common mode of transmission starts when an Aedes mosquito bites a person infected with Dengue virus.

The virus then undergoes an extrinsic incubation period in the mosquito for 8-12 days before granting the mosquito the ability to transmit the virus for the rest of its life. The infectious mosquito then transmits the virus to humans via its bite. The intrinsic incubation period in humans can take up to 10 days and the infected human will begin to show symptoms of the disease.

aedes mosquitoes

Control of Dengue in Singapore

The control of Dengue focuses on reducing the number of mosquito vectors. The control methods can be categorized into 4 main groups, namely cultural control, physical control, chemical control and biological control.

The National Environment Agency has been promoting the Mozzie Wipeout campaign that encourages the public to eliminate all potential mosquito breeding sites and make the environment less suitable for the mosquitoes’ survival. The Mozzie Wipeout campaign is an example of cultural control.

An example of physical control is the placement of gravitraps (and its predecessor ovitraps) to trap gravid mosquitoes.

Chemical control is the most common among the control methods. They rely on the use of chemical insecticides and is usually done via larviciding, thermal fogging and misting methods.

The biological control is another environmentally friendly approach to control mosquito populations. It involves the use of biological agents such as bacteria to control the mosquito population. Another innovation is the Project Wolbachia which reduces the population of Aedes mosquitoes through the release of sterile male Aedes mosquitoes.

Tips to Reduce Mosquito Bites

Let’s take a moment to look at some ways to reduce the risk of getting bitten mosquitoes.

7 Tips:

  1. Use insect repellents
  2. Wear protective clothing
  3. Avoid peak mosquito hours
  4. Keep air circulating
  5. Sleep under a mosquito net
  6. Get rid of stagnant water
  7. Keep your gardens and home clean

mosquito bites

Controlling and preventing mosquitoes in Singapore is a real challenge. As mentioned, the climate offers an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. However, public awareness, preventive methods, and collective efforts are crucial in the battle against Dengue in Singapore.

Pest control companies such as Killem Pest play a crucial role in this battle. The team of Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) is experienced, knowledgeable, and equipped with the right tools. Together we can win this battle!


COVID-19 versus Dengue

COVID-19 Versus Dengue: What Do We Need to Know?

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly worldwide. It was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 12th. In Singapore, there are 1309 confirmed cases as of April 5th, 2020.

With the outbreak of coronavirus worldwide, another public health concern faces neglection by the public: the Dengue virus (DENV). This life-threatening mosquito-borne disease is highly active in Singapore for years. People may not realize that the rise of dengue fever cases is looming in Singapore. There are 4776 dengue cases recorded as of March 28th, 2020. Twice the number compared to the same period of 2019.

Death cases: COVID-19 versus Dengue

How deadly is COVID-19, and how can Dengue be lethal to us? In Singapore, the total of deaths from COVID-19 rose to 6 death cases on April 4th. However, the Dengue virus took a total of 20 lives in 2019. So far, there are no cases of deaths due to the Dengue virus in 2020.

You may wonder if we can differentiate between the symptoms of COVID-19 and Dengue fever without laboratory testing. Here are some ways to tell the difference:

  • People who are infected with Dengue virus share similar symptoms as those with COVID-19, such as high fever and headache.
  • However, they may also develop other symptoms such as joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, rashes of the skin, and mild bleeding from nose and gum.
  • Respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, and breathing difficulties are not common in the Dengue virus.
  • The spread of COVID-19 is mainly person-to-person.
  • COVID-19 can be passed over to a healthy person by nasal discharge and saliva droplets from coughs and sneezes of a person infected with COVID-19.
  • The virus can easily infect a healthy person if the person uses his or her contaminated hand to rub or touch the eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Not surprisingly, the infection of COVID-19 can happen through the inhalation of infected droplets into the lungs.
  • In the case of the Dengue virus, the transmission of the disease is vastly different compared to COVID-19. It is a vector-borne disease that requires the help of Aedes mosquitoes to spread the virus.

 

Prevention

Dengue

Dengue virus cannot be transmitted directly from one human to another.

Instead, it transmits through an insect vector – mosquitoes. By pulling mosquitoes out of the transmission or infection chain, we can stop the transmission of the virus. In other words, avoiding mosquito bites is an essential aspect in the prevention of Dengue. 

Read more: 7 Tips To Reduce Your Risk of Mosquito Bites

Eliminate mosquito breeding in and around your house

Controlling the mosquito population is essential in the fight against Dengue. Aedes mosquitoes breed in clean water found in natural and human-made containers. They can breed in water bodies that are as small as the size of a 20 cents coin, so all stagnant water must be eliminated to prevent mosquito breeding. Practice the following 5-step Mozzie Wipeout recommended by the National Environment Agency:

  1. Turn any unused pails
  2. Change water in vase regularly
  3. Flip flower pot plates
  4. Loosen hardened soil in flowerpots or planter boxes
  5. Clear roof gutter and place biological control (Bti)

Prevent mosquito bites

We can minimize our risk of getting mosquito bites by taking extra precautions when visiting places that are prone to mosquito attacks.

Long sleeve tops and long pants offer basic protection against mosquito bites. There are a variety of mosquito repellents that are made of either chemical compounds or natural plant extracts. You may choose any mosquito repellent of your preference, or that is available to you. However, it is essential to follow the instructions and reapply the repellent regularly as they may be rubbed or washed off during activities.

COVID-19

The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid exposure to the virus as no vaccine is available yet.

WHO and CDC recommend some steps to protect you and the others from the virus. At the top of the list, we need to maintain good hygiene practices. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to properly remove germs from your hands. Hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content can be used if soap and water are not available. It is also important to avoid touching your face or eyes with unwashed hands.

Social Distancing 

Social distancing plays an integral part in the prevention of COVID-19 as you may pick up someone else’s respiratory droplets if you are standing too close to each other. A distance of at least 1 meter between individuals is recommended to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. Social distancing is even more important in communities where COVID-19 is spreading. Avoid close contact with people who are sick to protect both the person and yourself.

Be socially responsible. Seek medical attention if you are sick or experiencing respiratory symptoms. Follow the doctor’s advice and stay at home to prevent the disease from spreading. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets. Lastly, wear a facemask to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets to other people.

Cleaning and disinfection should be carried out on frequently contacted surfaces.

The NEA provided a list of household products that can be used for disinfection. Several sources reported that the virus was able to last on various surfaces up to days. Thus, disinfection should be done regularly.

Related: What Role Can The Pest Control Industry Play in Fighting Off Coronavirus in Singapore?

How to Prevent Dengue?

Dengue can be prevented by taking basic precautions. The number 1 tip is to wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts. Reduce your skin exposure as much as possible! Next, a mosquito net helps protect you at night while asleep. Keeping your living and office spaces clean also helps prevent mosquitoes and dengue.


Coronavirus in Singapore

What Role Can The Pest Control Industry Play in Fighting Off Coronavirus in Singapore?

The year 2020 started with the uncertainties caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, which include those that cause the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

SARS-CoV is a well-known coronavirus in Singapore as its outbreak in 2003 killed 33 people while leaving various social and economic impacts.

Although COVID-19 is more contagious compared to SARS and MERS, it is less fatal than the two, meaning that it is less likely to kill.

How active is the Coronavirus in Singapore?

There are 85 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Singapore as of 21 Feb 2020. Moreover, there are currently 5 clusters in Singapore, with the Grace Assembly of God Church being the largest cluster. Most of the cases are linked to one another, but the emergence of cases without any known links to other cases caused Singapore to raise DORSCON level to orange.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The initial stage or main symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

It is hard to differentiate between COVID-19 and common cold without other indicators such as the recent travel record to mainland China or close contact with other confirmed cases.

In most cases, the symptoms will appear within 5 to 6 days. However, the duration of the period between infection and the onset of symptoms can be as long as 14 days.

How can the symptoms of the Coronavirus be confused with dengue? Are the symptoms of dengue and the Coronavirus similar? 

The patient infected with dengue virus shares similar symptoms as those with COVID-19, such as high fever and headache. However, the one who has dengue virus may develop other symptoms such as joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, rashes of the skin, and mild bleeding from nose and gum. Respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, and breathing difficulties are not common in the case of dengue virus.

In Singapore, a 57-year-old lady who was first admitted as a dengue patient turned out to test positive for COVID-19 on 18 Feb 2020.

After several laboratory testing, MOH (Ministry of Health) had confirmed that this lady is the only known person in Singapore who is infected with both dengue and COVID-19.

Now, there is a deep concern of the laboratory tests of COVID-19, which show negative results initially but ended up diagnosed as COVID-19 in the final examination. It may take more than one test to confirm a COVID-19 case as the viral material collected in the initial test sample may be too little for the test to detect the virus.

COVID-19 in Singapore

What animals carry coronaviruses?

There are many coronaviruses known to circulate among animals and birds in the world. Nonetheless, only seven of them are capable of causing disease in humans. Some animals that are closely related to coronaviruses include bats, camels, and cats. The animal source of the COVID-19 virus has not yet been identified.

An animal from the live animal market in China may have caused the first reported human infections. Let’s look at the case of SARS coronavirus. The common perception is that it originated from bats that transmitted it to humans directly. Instead, it jumped to infect humans via civet cats. Furthermore, MERS coronavirus was also believed to have originated from bats but jumped to infect humans via camels.

Can pests carry Coronavirus?

In view of WHO (World Health Organization), there is no evidence at present to show COVID-19 can infect pests or spread through pests. Currently, it spreads only by infected people.

Can pest control prevent Coronavirus?

While pests may not spread COVID-19, controlling the population of pests around you reduces the number of disease-carrying pests such as mosquitoes and rodents.

Some of the pest control companies provide disinfection service that can effectively kill various germs, including coronaviruses.

Pest management professionals are equipped with the necessary chemicals and equipment to eliminate harmful pathogens.

What does Killem Pest do to protect ourselves and our clients from Coronavirus in Singapore?

In light of recent events with regards to COVID-19, Killem has been adhering to measures put in place by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation. All our staff are

  • To have their body temperatures checked and recorded twice a day
  • Required to wear masks when entering client sites
  • Must see a doctor and stay away from work for at least 5 days if they are unwell

Our Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) receive a thermometer per vehicle to ensure this, and they use hand sanitizer before and after each job.

It is our responsibility and duty to protect our family and friends from the Coronavirus in Singapore.

Avoid COVID-19 by taking necessary actions.

A good practice of respiratory hygiene is the staple step in preventing the spread of it. Notably, disinfection is vital to ensure our living and working environments are free of germs and viruses.

For the last 27 years, Killem has been at the forefront of protecting Singapore from vector-borne diseases such as Zika and Dengue. Right now, we are doing our part to curb the spread of the contagious Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), so please contact us if you need our assistance in the fight against the disease. We offer a Home Disinfection Service and a Disinfectant Spray.


mosquito bites

7 Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Mosquito Bites

Revelling in outdoor activities like jogging, hiking, and barbeques during a long-awaited weekend or school holiday in perfect weather are our desired plans. However, nothing spoils these plans like the whine of a mosquito searching for a fresh blood meal. The itchy mosquito bites and whiny hum of their buzzing wings can ruin not only our daily activities but also affect our quality of sleep.

Beyond the nuisance factors, mosquitoes are vectors of some deadly diseases including Dengue fever, Chikungunya, Zika, and Malaria.

These mosquito-borne diseases are transmitted by infected mosquitoes to healthy and uninfected people. Unfortunately, there are still no vaccines or drugs to treat or prevent dengue fever, other than avoiding ourselves from getting mosquito bites.

Learning how to reduce your risk of mosquito bites will lower the chances that you encounter these unwanted guests in your surroundings.

Here are 7 tips to reduce your risk of mosquito bites:

1. Use insect repellents

Apply insect repellent to uncovered skin when going outdoors. Repellents containing DEET (common active ingredient in insect repellents) are the most widely available insect repellents in the world. A great deal of testing has been done on DEET insect repellents and they are proven to be safe to use.

2. Wear protective clothing

Vision is one thing mosquitoes use for searching for their blood meal. Black or dark coloured clothes are proven to be more attractive than light coloured clothes for mosquitoes. However, mosquitoes can bite through clothing that is made of thin materials like tights. Hence, long-sleeved thick clothing is advisable as mosquitoes might find it difficult to bite through.

3. Avoid peak mosquito hours

To avoid mosquito bites, you might need to plan any outdoor activities when mosquitoes are less active. Although different species have different active hours, mosquitoes are generally more active during dawn and dusk.

4. Keep air circulating

Mosquitoes are weak fliers, which mean they are not that efficient at flying and are not able to overcome strong wind.

Use of electric fan for outdoor activities and gatherings can prevent you and your family from mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes usually fly at the lower half of our bodies and near to the ground. Therefore, aim fans to that area.

5. Sleep under a mosquito net

If you notice mosquito bites on your body after hours of sleeping, using a mosquito net would be a good call for you.

6. Get rid of stagnant water

Any puddles of water around your home can become a potential breeding source for mosquitoes. Always be mindful to empty water from flower pots, plates, pet food, WC pan collar, buckets, barrels and cans at least once or twice a week as mosquitoes’ life cycle can be completed within a week. Always cap the bamboo pole holders when not in use to prevent rain water being splashed into the holders.

7. Keep your landscapes and home clean

Remember to keep the gully traps, scupper drains, and roof gutters clean. Thinning dense vegetation will help to improve air circulation. You can avoid getting mosquito bites by making your environment less desirable or appealing to them.

The recommended measures discussed above may help to protect you from mosquito bites. However, mosquito bites are inevitable during some uncontrollable situations and in specific environments. To read more, click here.

Adoption of permanent measures is strongly advised to address and eliminate the root cause of mosquito breeding. To find out the available permanent measures, you may seek help from our expert team.


prevent mosquitoes

The Best Ways To Prevent Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes feed on humans and animals through an appendage called a proboscis, which pierces skin and allows the females of the species to find blood. These pests are not choosy about their victims. They feed on reptiles, amphibians, mammals, fish, and birds. Feeding leaves itchy, annoying bites on the flesh that can cause excessive irritation, infection, and the transfer of disease.

Some common illnesses transferred by a mosquito bite include malaria yellow fever, the Zika virus, and Chikungunya.

Because of the potential risks, dangers, and all-around irritation of mosquitoes, it should be no surprise that humans have developed numerous methods to prevent mosquitoes.

They Live in the Water

One of the most natural and easiest ways to prevent mosquitoes from lurking is removing sources of standing water. Stagnant moisture is an attractive location for females to lay eggs. Their larvae live in the water until they have developed and prefer shallow pools less than two feet deep.

One of the quickest ways to prevent mosquitoes is to ensure that you have few water features that are not treated in some way.

There are many chemical additives for pools and ponds that can make the liquid unpleasant to mosquitoes. People who are uncomfortable with chemicals can regularly remove organic material such as algae and can only install water features deeper than two feet and with steep sides.

Puddle Of Water On A Street

The Mist

The most effective method to keeping mosquitoes out of a property is the installation of a misting system.

Misting systems are automated devices which regularly spray low-grade pesticides around a property. They can be installed on fences and will release pesticides during timed intervals or when the owner manually presses a button.

The misting systems release chemicals that contain pyrethrins and permethrin. Although effective, these systems can be dangerous. Pets and children who come into contact with the pesticides can be poisoned and face other serious health hazards. The mist will additionally kill other pests in the area, including beneficial ones like spiders and bees. These should be used with caution but are great for preventing mosquitoes.

Prevent Mosquitoes: A Spritz of Citrus

People who dislike using traditional repellents can invest in citronella spray.

Citronella is a natural ingredient that has been used to fight and prevent mosquitoes since the 20th century, when it was used by the Indian army.

Citronella repellent is formulated into a mixture that includes about 5% to 10% of the plant extract. This can be sprayed every two hours without causing skin irritation. It is also possible to purchase citronella candles which can be lit outdoors to protect gatherings. One downside of this method is that while its use can cause a 50% reduction in mosquito bites, it must be reused regularly to maintain protection.

Insect Repellent

Finally, individuals can prevent mosquitoes by using approved insect repellents. These repellents often contain a mixture of ingredients which are unpleasant or toxic to the pests. They can be sprayed on the skin, fabrics, and objects like backpacks to prevent bites. The majority of insect repellents use DEET or citronella oil in their formulation and can be reapplied every four hours. Many insect repellents remain effective after consistent use because mosquitoes have failed to become resistant to the natural ingredients. For people who need to be on the move, these are an effective solution.

Close Up Of A Fly

Conclusion

No one likes mosquito bites. The chances for irritation and disease are too high and cause many to worry about the flying menaces whenever they go outdoors. To help combat this pesky pest, it’s important to choose a method which suits an individual’s lifestyle and helps protect a person without endangering them further. These featured solutions can help keep people safe whenever they want to go outside.


natural remedies for insect bites

Natural Remedies for Insect Bites

Not everyone feels comfortable using certain insect bite medications because of their potentially harsh ingredients. For people suffering from insect bites but dissatisfied or uncomfortable with chemical solutions, there are natural remedies that can help soothe irritation and swelling. Some can also reduce redness and even repel pests like mosquitoes due to their scent.

So, what can someone do to stop uncomfortable sensations?

Smooth and Mild

One of the first available solutions is to mix baking powder with unscented body lotions.

The baking powder reduces inflammation and redness while the lotion holds it in place.

Anyone who has ever worked with baking powder knows that it refuses to stay in one location for long, so it is important to find a mild adhesive to help! The mixture can be left for ten minutes and then wiped away with a damp cloth. As it is mild, affected people can reapply the mixture as often as needed. A similar material is oatmeal, which can be mixed with water and then applied as a paste.

Soothing Aloe

Another potential remedy is aloe vera. This spiky plant produces a thick, sticky gel inside of its tendrils which can be scooped out and applied to insect bites, burns, and other forms of skin irritation.

Its composition helps sooth bites and redness and contains a healthy amount of water and antioxidants.

To this day, it is one of the only natural remedies which is also frequently used by doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and the beauty industry. Chances are that if someone has received a sunburn, they have used aloe vera. The same properties that calm these burns also help fight back against the irritation of insect bites.

Succulent

It Sticks With You

People who are not afraid to deal with stickiness can use common household items like toothpaste or honey. Mint toothpaste is especially potent because the mint cools the affected site and can numb pain and discomfort while reducing swelling and redness.

Honey possesses antibacterial properties that can help prevent some common forms of skin irritation.

The thick substance additionally helps stop itching and can keep children from scratching at insect bites. Both items can be bought from local grocery and general stores, making them quick remedies to a common problem.

Fragrant and Cooling

Finally, there are products with calming scents and properties.

One method individuals can use is to develop a peppermint paste, which cools the inflamed and annoying site of an insect bite.

Chickweed has a similar effect and can be found at many herbal stores. Another common natural remedy is the use of essential oils, which have gained popularity in recent years. Tea tree oil has been shown to be particularly effective because of its antiseptic properties, while lavender and peppermint have similar effects and a more nuanced smell. The only downside to these methods is that the scents can be irritating to people with sensitive noses or skin, so they might need to be diluted.

Essential Oils

Conclusion

Most of these natural remedies can be found at regular stores, and some are even used in pharmacies as common treatments. By using one of these solutions to insect bites, individuals can prevent potential further irritation from the bite and the chemicals in more processed materials like antihistamine creams. Nevertheless, if swelling and irritation persist after trying these home remedies, you should follow up with your GP to be prescribed the appropriate treatment.


common pests in your garden

What Common Pests Are Found in Your Garden?

You may love spending time in your backyard and tending to your garden. Your children and pets also enjoy playing outside. Perhaps you grow flowers, or vegetables and fruit for you and the family to eat. However, many different types of pests enjoy the garden just as much as you do, and that can be a problem. Let’s take a look at some of the most common pests that like to hang out in the garden.

Bees and Wasps

If you see a bee or two in your garden, it’s not usually a sign to worry. In fact, bees are essential for pollination, and they can do your garden, and the rest of the gardens in the area, a favor. However, when it comes to wasps, or if you have too many bees that are causing problems, you may want to contact a bee or wasp removal specialist to have them removed because the stings are not only painful, but may also be fatal to people that are allergic to bee and wasp stings.

Bee on Flower

Snakes

Most people hate seeing snakes in the garden, and they do have the potential to be a problem.

If you have non-venomous snakes that are small and not overly aggressive, they can help to control the rodent population, which is another garden pest we will discuss.

However, if the snakes are venomous, if it is very big, if you are unsure about them, or if you simply have a fear and dislike for snakes, you should have them removed as soon as possible. This is an especially good idea if you have children or pets.

Garden Snake

Termites

If you notice termite mounds in your garden, this is a very bad sign and an indication that you already have an infestation. While those termites will not be interested in the flowers and vegetables you are growing, they will be interested in marching to your house so they can start eating the wood so get a termite control specialist in to remove them as soon as possible.

Termite Mound by Tree

Rodents

Rodents in the garden can be very destructive. They may start to eat at the items you are growing, and they are disease carriers. Nothing good comes from having rodents in the garden, and they may also decide to move inside your home where they can get at even more food and cause more issues.

Mouse

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are very dangerous, not just annoying. These pests carry diseases, such as the Zika Virus and Dengue. They breed in areas of standing water, which could be a bird feeder, a puddle, or a water collection bin. It is always a good idea to have someone take care of the mosquitoes before they become a problem.

Ants

Depending on the types of ants in the garden, it might not be a problem.

Smaller ants can help with the pollination as they are crawling around the garden, and they can also help to keep caterpillars and other types of pests at bay.

They do not generally cause issues by eating anything in the garden, but if you have a lot of ants, they could always decide to head inside. It might still be a good idea to contact pest control.

What Should You Do?

If you have pests in the garden, the best way to get rid of them is to call a professional for help. They can come and look at your problem, and then determine the best way to proceed and to provide you with a pest free environment.

If you would like more information on how Killem can help you keep your garden pest free, visit our residential pest control services page.


zika virus

How the Zika Virus Spread Across the World

If you have been paying attention to the news recently, you have probably heard people talking about the Zika Virus. Last year in Singapore there was a Zika Cluster near Sims Avenue and now clusters have been found in Hougang with the number of people infected on the rise.

However, you might not know too much about this virus or the type of damage it can do. In this post, we will be taking a closer look at the virus to see just why so many people are worried about it.

History of the Zika Virus

Zika History Map

Image source: World Health Organization

What Is the Zika Virus?

The Zika Virus is an infectious disease that is spread through the bite of mosquitoes. Those who are bitten by the insects carrying this disease may develop a range of systems.

This includes muscle and joint pain, rashes on the skin, red eyes, headaches, and fever.

Most of the time, this will only last for about seven days. While this doesn’t sound too terrible, the real danger comes from infection while a woman is pregnant. It can cause microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head, a result of incomplete brain development) and other types of brain malformations in babies. In some adults, it has also been connected with Guillain-Barre syndrome (muscle weakness).

Microcephaly

How Is It Carried?

The virus is typically carried in mosquitoes, specifically the aedes. You can recognize this mosquito through the markings. They have white markings on their legs and on the upper thorax is are markings that look similar to a lyre. This mosquito is one of the most common in Singapore, and it can spread other diseases such as dengue and yellow fever which are equally problematic and actually more prevalent then Zika.

Aedes Mosquito

When the aedes mosquitoes bite, they can infect the person with the virus. However, the virus can be carried and spread through humans who have been bitten, as well. This occurs in the bodily fluids, so it is important to be safe and cautious around family members or friends who have the Zika Virus until they are better.

How Can It Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine or cure for this virus, but there are ways to prevent the spread of the disease. Since the disease is carried by mosquitoes, you need to take steps to prevent bites from the insects.

You do not want to have standing water in your home or your yard, as this can be a breeding ground for the insects.

Contacting professional pest control companies to take care of mosquitoes on your property is always a good idea. After all, mosquitoes can carry diseases other than just the Zika Virus. If you control the mosquitoes outside of your home, you should not worry about them going inside.

Fogging Mosquito Treatment

Misting Mosquito Treatment


safe pest control with children

How to Carry Out Safe Pest Control with Children and Pets in Your Home

Let’s be honest, no one wants to have pests in or near your home, especially when you have children or pets.

Infants and babies may be exposed to more pesticides than adults because they often spend more time closer to the ground, touching furniture bases or playing in the gardens where pesticides may have been applied. Infants and babies are also more likely to put fingers, toys and other objects that may have come into contact with pesticides into their mouths.

There are many different types of pests that can cause serious problems if they get out of hand, and you need to find ways that you can control those pests safely and efficiently, without compromising the health and safety of your children and pets.

You can do some basic things that will help to keep the pests out of your home, but there might come a time when you need to call in the professionals.

What Are the Most Common Types of Pests?

While there are many different types of pests that could be plaguing your home, some of the most common and intrusive include:

Ants

Cockroaches

Mosquitos

Rodents

Termites

Pests have the potential to destroy your home, get into your food and carry diseases. You should never have to live with pests. You should find ways to eradicate them.

What Are Safe Pesticides?

When it comes to choosing pesticides that you want, or you want your professional provider to use in and around your home, you need to be very careful. Many brands on the market are full of chemicals that could harm your children and your pets if it were ingested.

When you are choosing pesticides that you can use to deal better with the pests that you find, you should look for those that are organic and that do not have toxic chemicals in them.

One of the best things about working with Killem Pest for your pest control needs is that we use original, non-generic chemicals that are environmentally friendly and they have a low mammalian toxicity. This means that even if children or pets accidentally ingest the pesticide, they would not become ill.

In addition, you can do other things that will help to keep your children and pets safe. If you are putting out bait for rodents, for example, never leave it in an area where your children or pets could have access to it. They could put it in their mouth. Instead, put the bait into a locked bait station or in an area that cannot be opened or reached by children or pets so that only rodents can access it.

If the pest control company has come and sprayed, make sure that any of the residual spraying has dried before allowing children or pets into the area. Make sure your animals are not licking the plants or the walls where the chemicals were sprayed, too.

You should also always make sure your children wash their hands after they have been playing outdoors, and stress the importance of not touching any bait stations that you might have.

Pet Pest Control SafetyChild Pest Control Safety

How to Keep Pests Away

The following are some very simple and basic tips that can help you to control some of the pests in and around your home:

  • Keeping your food in airtight containers can help to control the influx of ants, as well as rodents and roaches.
  • If you have fruit that is left out on the counter, check it regularly to see if there are any bad spots on it, as this can draw fruit flies and other types of pests.
  • A natural type of pesticide that you can make at home is citrus oil. You can use equal parts orange peels and water, and simmer them. Remove the peels and put the water into a spray containers and then spray around the windows, doors, and other areas where pests might be getting into the property.

Call in the Professionals

Of course, when it comes to pest problems, sometimes, the DIY home pest control methods are simply not enough. You need to call in the professionals that can provide you with a thorough service and remove those pests for good no matter what type they might be.


pest control in singapore

When Will You Most Likely Need Pest Control in Singapore?

Is Pest Control Seasonal in Singapore?

Have you discovered that you have a mosquito problem in the backyard? Perhaps you’ve seen rodents in the pantry or you have a nasty nest of wasps up under the leaves that you would like to have removed. Regardless of the pests that might be causing problems for you, or whether they are in your home or business, you want to have them removed as soon as possible.

What Is the Impact of Weather on Different Pests?

In some parts of the world, pest control tends to be seasonal, as there could be various types of insects or rodents that are more problematic during certain times of the year.

Being one and a half degrees north of the equator, Singapore’s climate is classified as a tropical rainforest one. Thus, Singapore does not have traditional seasons, although it does have a wet and a dry season. While pests of all types have the potential to be a problem all the time, you will find that certain pests tend to be more active based on whether it is the dry or wet season.

Singapore’s warm climate and high humidity also make it an attractive environment for pests to breed more quickly.

Wet vs. Dry Season

During the wet season, for example, you may find that insects are more of a problem which could increase the chance of you requiring services such as ants, fly or mosquito control. They may want to escape from the downpours outside. Of course, during extremely dry times ants, rodents, and other pests might try to come inside trying to find water to drink. This means that pests of all types tend to be active in the Singapore area throughout the year, and you need to be vigilant if you hope to keep them under control.

Wet Season Umbrella

There are some things you can do to reduce the “attractiveness” of your property to different types of pests. Make sure that they do not have easy access to food or water, for example. They will not be as likely to want to make your home their new residence if they do not have the things they need to survive. Of course, this is not always easy, and you might find yourself inundated with pests whether it is the wet or dry season. In those cases, you need some help.

We have collected data on the pest control jobs we have carried out over the calendar year to provide you with a guide on when you are more likely to require certain types of pest control during the wet and dry seasons:

Pest Control Season
Dry Season Wet Season
Ant Removal Medium Requirement Medium Requirement
Fly Control Medium Requirement Medium Requirement
Mosquito Control Medium Requirement High Requirement
Rodent Control High Requirement High Requirement

Getting Help for Pest Control in Singapore

No matter the time of the season, you need to make sure that you have control at your home or business.

Whether they are rats, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, flies, or any other type of pest, it is vital that you have them removed quickly and efficiently.

This means you should hire a professional service for pest control in Singapore. Have the professionals come to your property to kill and remove the pests, and to provide you with tips on how you can keep those pests from returning.

Research the company you are considering and make sure they have the experience and expertise to handle the type of pest problem you have currently so you can keep the property free from infestations of all sorts.


pest control treatment methods

What Pest Control Treatment Methods Can You Use To Eradicate Pests?

In our last post, we discussed a little bit on the different Pest Control treatments that Killem Pest has to offer. But what are the treatment methods used, to ensure that these pesky pests stay away from our personal spaces?

Treatment methods vary for different pests, for example, the ways used to eradicate mosquitoes are very different, when compared to those methods that help get rid of termites. Years of experience have allowed us to fine tune and provide you with the most effective service!

Effective pest control treatment methods:

Mosquito Treatment

Mosquito Treatment is separated into 2 areas. The first targets the larvae population, and the second targets adult mosquitoes. Treatment can be carried out via:

Larviciding

Larviciding is when there is an application of insecticide, which is specifically targeted at the larval stage of the mosquito. A thorough inspection for any potential breeding ground will be conducted before we carry out the larviciding treatment, and this will help to control the population, thus preventing the larvae from reaching the adult stage.

Mosquito Larviciding

Thermal Fogging

Thermal Fogging is the application of insecticide through water droplets in a highly visible fog to target adult mosquitoes. It is preferable, to fog at a time when mosquitoes are most active in order to get the best results, as thermal fogging only kills adult mosquitoes which are there at that time.

Mosquito Fogging

Misting

Misting applies the insecticide, by covering a large surface area, using a highly efficient motor blower with strong pressure. This creates a barrier of protection, with a long residual and rapid knockdown effect. It is odourless and has low acute mammalian toxicity.

Mosquito Misting

If you need further information or would like to contact Killem to help you control Mosquito problems, please visit our Mosquito Control page

Termite Treatment

Baiting

Termite baiting is a fuss free treatment, where baits are placed in strategic locations, to target the worker termites. These worker termites will then bring the bait back to their colony, where it will be shared with the rest of the colony.

Termite Baiting

Dusting

Dusting treatment is the application of powder to termite trails. These powder particles will be passed on to other termites and taken back to the nest.

Soil Treatment

Normal Soil Treatment is when chemicals are applied to pre-treat the soil for the protection of buildings against subterranean termites.

Rodding is when the external perimeter of the building blocks is treated with termiticide solution. An injector is inserted into the landscape soil near the unit structure wall.

Corrective soil treatment is when a number of holes are drilled into the perimeter of the building, right through the concrete slab, if the building perimeter is cemented or tiled. Termiticide will be injected through these holes, and then sealed up with waterproofed concrete.

To find out more or request our services, visit our Termites Treatment page

General Pest Treatment

For rodents, there will be an inspection within the premises for infestation, before baiting stations or traps are installed.

For other pests such as cockroaches and flies, all potential breeding and harbourage areas will be sprayed with insecticidal chemicals to the internal and external locations that are likely to be infested.

We are confident that with our extensive experience in urban pest management, we will be able to deliver the best service for any type of pest concern.