Mozzie Extinction Wrecked: Tampines Girl Who Decimated 323 Mosquitoes Could Have Killed Dengue Fighters, Singapore Information
Eradicating mozzies may be an essential life skill in Singapore, but before we get too trigger happy, it’s worth noting that not all of them are pests.
It turns out that the woman who recently made headlines for killing 323 mosquitoes in a month and collecting their carcasses in carefully labeled Ziploc bags may have killed dengue-fighting Wolbachia Aedes mosquitoes, according to a statement from the National Environmental Agency (NEA).
The woman, identified only as Jen, first turned to Stomp on Dec. 7 to complain about the number of mosquitos in her mother’s apartment at Block 509 Tampines Central 1.
The problem started in October, she said, adding that the mosquitoes were affecting her family’s quality of life by flying around them and occasionally biting them.
She also suggested cutting down a nearby “overgrown tree” as she suspected it was a mosquito breeding site.
Jen then resorted to “hourly erasures” with electric claps to get rid of the mosquitos.
Unfortunately, it may have killed more than a few Wolbachia Aedes mosquitoes that were specially bred and released by NEA as part of the Wolbachia project to reduce the number of dengue-causing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
The idea of the project is that the male Wolbachia Aedes mosquitoes mate with the female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The latter then lay eggs that do not hatch and effectively suppress their numbers.
Wolbachia Aedes mosquitoes are essentially harmless in that they do not bite or transmit diseases.
In response to media inquiries, NEA stated that Jens Block is in the Tampines East constituency, where Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes have been released since February this year.
“We understand the inconvenience some residents in Project Wolbachia areas have when the male mosquitoes choose to swarm in a particular area, as the feedback provider has experienced.”
The dengue mosquito population has “generally declined,” but the release of more Wolbachia Aedes mosquitoes is required to suppress 90 percent of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito population and prevent large dengue outbreaks.
Even so, the Project Wolbachia team will work to minimize the swarming by optimizing the distribution of their releases, assured NEA.
The NEA also warned that residents of the area could see an influx of mosquitoes on Monday and Friday mornings if the releases are normally carried out.
It also confirmed that its officials had found two mosquito habitats in the area on November 24 and December 8, and urged residents to be vigilant and remove all sources of stagnant water in their homes.
NEA is in contact with Jen and is working with her to obtain mosquito samples to further investigate the matter, the spokesman added.
In response to Stomp’s questions, Tampines City Council said it had arranged for the tree to be pruned near Jen’s house. It will continue to work closely with NEA on the release of the male mosquitoes, it added.
When Jen spoke to Stomp again on December 21st, she agreed and said, “I’m so glad the tree is being felled. I hope this helps with the mosquito problem.”