Many methods are used for mosquito control. Depending on the situation, the most important usually include:
- Source reduction (e.g., removing stagnant water)
- Biocontrol (e.g. importing natural predators such as dragonflies)
- Trapping, and/or insecticides to kill larvae or adults
- Exclusion (mosquito nets and window screening)
Source reduction means elimination of breeding places of mosquitoes. It includes engineering measures such as filling, leveling and drainage of breeding places, and water management (such as intermittent irrigation). Source reduction can also be done by making water unsuitable for mosquitoes to breed, for example, by changing salinity of water. Some specific measures are:
- For Culex: abolition of domestic and peridomestic sources of water suitable for breeding, for example removal and disposal of sewage and other waste water
- For Aedes: eliminating incidental containers such as discarded tins, crockery, pots, broken bottles, and coconut shells
- For Anopheles: abolish breeding places by filling or drainage
- For Mansonia: removal of aquatic plants manually or by application of herbicides
Details of the biology of different species of mosquitoes differ too widely for any limited set of rules to be sufficient in all circumstances. However, the foregoing are the most economical and practical measures for most purposes. The importance of peridomestic control arises largely because most species of mosquitoes rarely travel more than a few hundred meters unless the wind is favorable.
In combination with scrupulous attention to control of breeding areas, window screens and mosquito nets are the most effective measures for residential areas. Insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets are particularly effective because they selectively kill those insects that attack humans, without affecting the general ecology of the area.
An ideal mosquito net is white in color (to allow easy detection of mosquitoes), rectangular, netted on sides and top, without a hole. The size of opening in net should not exceed 1.2 mm (0.05 in) in diameter, or about 23 holes per square centimeter (150 per square inch). Window screens should have copper or bronze gauze with 16 wires per inch.
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