Guppies to be used for mosquito control as wells breed the pests
While announcing its intention to use fish as a mosquito vector control measure, experts from the Environmental Health Unit are advising homeowners to properly secure wells and septic tanks, which have been identified as prime mosquito breeding sites in many communities.
The experts say these are some of the major sources they identify when they conduct site visits in communities across the territory.
“Persons are encouraged to call us if they see that they have a mosquito issue, or whatever we can give advice on — whether it is a broken septic tank — because that is a source we are finding a lot of breeding in and we have also been finding open wells, so those are some major sources of mosquito breeding,” said Deputy Chief Environmental Health Officer, Henrietta Alexander.
“So we are imploring persons who have wells and septic tanks on their property — they need to check those, make sure they are properly sealed so that mosquitoes don’t fly in and breed,” Alexander added.
Mosquitoes are dangerous insects which carry dengue, malaria, the chikungunya and zika viruses, as well as many others which cause many deaths around the world on a yearly basis.
Using guppy fish to feed on mosquito larvae
To help stem mosquito breeding in the community, Environmental Health Officer Camile White said the Environmental Health Unit is getting ready to reintroduce guppy fish into the community so they can feed on mosquito larvae that are often in water catchment areas in many homes.
“We are also going to start our fish program where you could put fish in wells, abandoned cisterns and things like that. You could even put the fish in the tanks and your cistern at home, hopefully, we’ll start that next month,” White explained. She added that persons who would like to use the fish as an environmentally friendly method for mosquito control may contact the Environmental Health Unit.
The experts say they prefer to use the guppies as an eco-friendly preventative method, instead of fogging, which they prefer to use as a last resort.
“Fogging would only be done in dire situations where based on our data, we see that there is an increase in the adult mosquito population. That is not something we want to continuously do because mosquitoes can build a resistance to the chemicals we use. Then we’d be in even greater trouble. So the message is source reduction — keep your premises clean and let us deal with the mosquito at the larva stage rather than the adult stage,” Alexander stated.
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