January 02, 2019

Brrr! Does Singapore’s recent cold spell affect mosquitoes?

Brrr! Does Singapore’s recent cold spell affect mosquitoes?

“Baby it’s cold outside”

Last week, National Environment Agency (NEA) reported the lowest daily minimum temperature between 21.2 and 22.4 degree Celsius since 2016. This is caused by the second monsoon surge that pummelled South China Sea and the surrounding region with wind, clouds and, of course, rain between 10 to 14 January.

Learn more the monsoon surge here.

Bundling up for the cold. Image source: The Straits Times (https://goo.gl/466PTc)

This cold spell certainly sent many of us digging out our mittens, scarves and coats that we stored away after our recent trip from Japan or Switzerland, while some of us had to make a beeline to the malls to buy them. Juggling winter getup with the usual December umbrellas and ponchos, one would wonder – wouldn’t this unusually low temperature kill those pesky mosquitoes?

Let’s look at Northern Hemisphere now

Mosquitoes in temperate climates have two ways to cope with very cold temperature. First, adult mosquitoes lay eggs and die in winter, allowing the eggs to hatch in spring when the temperature is optimal. Second, in some mosquito species, larvae, pupae and even adults enter diapause mode, where their development process is delayed until spring. Almost like how bears and groundhogs hibernate over winter.

Either way, it is not a comfortable way to survive winter.

Aedes mosquito. Image source: Dreamstime Stock Photos (publicdomainphotosID 97214283)

What about the mosquitoes here?

Looking at the sub-zero temperature associated in those examples, our 21.2 degree Celsiusdoesn’t seem to pack apunchon the mosquitoes here in Singapore, not even a pinch. One thing is for sure, they will not die out from this cold spell. Instead, the mosquitoes here would limit their activity to areas where they are not directly exposed to rain and cold, such as indoors and under shelter, and continue their biting and resting pattern within those areas.

The increase in potential breeding sites from the rain would certainly keep the mosquitoes busy too. After all, it is egg-laying bonanza for them!

When the rain pours in, the mosquito breeding goes up.

What should we do?

We should be concerned about mosquito breeding because the monsoon surge brings in more rain than normal, and more rain means more risk of stagnant water.

Did you know that an Aedes mosquito can breed in a puddle of water as small as a20-cent coin? Let alone a 339.4mm rainfall(206% above average) we saw last week!

20-cent coin. Image source: Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

 The first place we should check is our home. NEA has provided a very helpful guide on preventing mosquito breeding in HDBs, condominiums and landed homes.Also known as 5-Step Mozzie Wipeout, the steps are very easy and they seem very basic, but these steps are what standing between you and your family from mosquito breeding, mosquitoes and the diseases they bring.

The 5-Step Mozzie Wipeout. Image source: National Environment Agency (NEA)

After you have made sure your home is not breeding mosquitoes, the next best step is to protect yourself and your family when you’re outdoors because you will never know where the mosquitoes will be coming from.There are options available, from skin-application repellents to area repellents like Thermacell. Find out more here how Thermacell help repel mosquitoes and how it can be excellent for you and your family outdoors.

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