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Healthy Living

How to Control Pests

Bug life abounds around the house. Animal conservator Gerald Durrel felt what a tree is to creatures, a city is to man. Even concrete has become an accepted habitat of pests. Here we take a look at the one bug that is the most prevalent in India and that which causes a variety of diseases: the mosquito.

Types of Mosquitoes

If it is any consolation, mosquitoes are present in all parts of the world. There are four species in India which are the main cause of concern from the health point of view.

The species and the diseases they spread are:

Species Diseases
Anopheles Malaria
Mansonoides Malayan (Brugian) filariasis and Chigungunya fever
Culex Bancroftian filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile fever and Viral arthritis
Aedes Dengue fever (among others)

About the Mosquito


The male mosquitoes live on plant juice. Only the females feed on blood, once in 2-3 days for nourishment of eggs. Some species prefer human blood, some animal blood. Usually they feed in the evening or the early part of the night.


They rest during the day in dark, cool corners. They hibernate in severe winters or when the environmental conditions are not favourable.


Anopheles prefers clean water, Culex dirty water, Aedes artificial collection of water and Mansonoides water with particular vegetation.

Life span

They live from 8-34 days. Both high and low temperatures are fatal for them. They don't seem to fly very far (only about 11 kms) from the place where they breed.

Control and protection


Destroying their breeding places

Depending on the breed of mosquitoes, water sources should be treated, covered up or drained. This is the most effective method.

Chemical control

Pouring oils such as diesel, kerosene or mosquito larval oil on the surface of stagnant water cuts off air supply to pupae and kills them. But this can't be done to large water bodies as it will render water unfit for drinking and kill fish. Paris green (Copper acetoarsenite) and larvicides such as Fenthion are also used.


Spraying DDT on surfaces where mosquitoes rest is effective for over six months. This can be tried in residential areas. Pyrethrum flower extract can also be sprayed. It is a nerve poison and kills mosquitoes instantly. But it cannot prevent mosquitoes flying in from other places and breeding.


Mosquito nets

If you have a little patience and if you do not have the habit of getting up frequently at night, this is the best option. A rectangular net, made of white cotton with fine holes is the best kind. White colour helps easy detection. Cotton fabric is cooling (Unlike nylon nets). But if you forget to tuck in tight, the mites will have a midnight feast.


Fine meshes such as netlon keep out mosquitoes effectively. But this means closing windows, compromising on natural illumination and ventilation.


Mosquito mats, creams and coils have been found to be pretty effective against mosquitoes.

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