DIY traps may end up as mosquito breeders: NEA

The Straits Times (17 April 2012) by Salma Khalik

DON'T make your own mosquito traps. They might just end up as mosquito breeders, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has warned.

It was referring to a cheap, do-it-yourself mosquito trap, instructions to the setting up of which have been circulating on the Internet.

Building the trap involves concocting a solution of water, sugar and yeast in a plastic bottle, based on the idea that the carbon dioxide released as a result would attract mosquitoes, which would fly in and become trapped.

Pointing out the flaw in the concept, an NEA spokesman said an adult Aedes mosquito needs a blood meal before it can lay eggs, 'so humans are more attractive than any artificial carbon dioxide source'.

In any case, she added, the amount of carbon dioxide generated by the fermentation that takes place in the trap is insufficient to attract the Aedes mosquito.

What the NEA is concerned about is that people may set up these traps and forget about them; over time, mosquitoes may use the stagnant water in these bottles to breed.

Dengue numbers have been relatively low lately, with 55 cases in the first week of the month. In the corresponding week over the last five years, a median of 86 cases was recorded.

Associate Professor Leo Yee Sin, who heads the department of infectious diseases at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, noted that there may have been a switch in the type of dengue virus circulating here.

In the first two months of this year, the Den-1 virus appeared to have a slight dominance; last month, the Den-2 virus 'regained dominance'.

Any change in dominant strain could signal a higher number of infections.

Prof Leo said: 'We've seen an overall increase beyond epidemic level this year. We need to continue watching the situation.'

She noted that general practitioners are now more adept at separating the mild cases, which can be safely treated at home, from the critical ones, which need hospital care.

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Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.