Cyprus Mail

Public urged to help keep mosquito numbers down

Sources of stagnant water are breeding grounds for mosquitos

Authorities on Wednesday said they are taking measures to combat greater numbers of mosquitos this year but urged the public to do their bit by ensuring they are not carelessly encouraging the insects to breed in their own yards.

The health ministry released a leaflet with useful information on how the public can prevent a mosquito infestation on their own property.

It said that the state health services are already implementing a mosquito control programme by focusing on killing mosquito larvae in rivers, streams and public places through various methods by reducing stagnant water but also by using larva-eating fish and organic substances.

Head entomologist at the Joint Services Health Unit British Forces Cyprus, Kelly Martinou, told the Cyprus Mail that there are more mosquitos this year due to larva in the wet soil cause by heavy rainfall.

She said that spraying has been stepped up, using substances that do not contain chemicals as per EU regulations.

The health ministry urged the public to check their gardens for items that may contain stagnant water, as this is a source of hatching mosquitos.

These items may include old tyres, washing basins, water tanks and barrels, water and feeding troughs, bottles, cans, old shoes and toys, gutters, gardening equipment, even holes on trees and bamboo plants.

Those who have fountains or small water tanks are advised to place mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) that feed on mosquito larvae.

People are urged to avoid creating sources of stagnant water in their farms or other property and repair or replace broken water tanks.

They must also remove or destroy empty containers that can collect and keep water for more than one week. Containers used to store water such as barrels should be kept closed with fitted covers.

Property owners are also advised to repair or replace broken covers of septic tanks and use properly anti-mosquito aerosol sprays.

To keep mosquitos from entering buildings, the health ministry advises fitting insect protection nets on doors and windows.

Another way of protection is the use of mosquito repellent creams and oils and electric devices to repel mosquitos.

Persons who plan on travelling to countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America where there are mosquito-related diseases must take protective measures. They are urged to contact the state health services for advice and guidance, the ministry said.

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