Mosquito menace

I was staying recently at a resort in Patong, and the area was full of mosquitoes at night, even though the ponds and even the flower vases have small fish in them. It is unbearable. The mosquitos even seem get into the air conditioned rooms. As you know, disease can be spread by mosquitoes. I hope the health authorities in Phuket can do something before there is an epidemic.

Worried tourist, Singapore.

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First of all you have to know which type of mosquito comes out to feed when. If they are mosquitoes that come out at night then they are most likely to be what we call “annoying mosquitoes” (scientific name Culex Tritaeniorhynchus). The type you should be worried about are not these but the ones that come out during the daytime, which are the yellow-fever mosquitoes. I think that the mosquitoes that tourists complain about are mostly the normal annoying mosquitoes. Why do hotels have so many mosquitoes? It’s because they plant so many trees and other flora. Annoying mosquitoes like the shade and darkness that the flora provides so they can reproduce. You also need to understand that our the sewage system is not fully developed and, on top of that, there is still a lot of construction in Patong. Standing water, even in bottle caps, provides an environment where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. We have reduced the mosquito population in communities by going in and overturning or emptying water in places likely to house mosquito larvae. That reduced the yellow-fever mosquitoes but now we have to find a way to deal with the annoying mosquito population. We sympathize with people who call us to tell us about mosquito problems, but places like hotels are private property and the owners are therefore responsible – they are the ones who must ensure there is no standing water. If they want assistance, they can contact us for advice on how to deal with mosquito problems at their hotel. Meanwhile you should use mosquito repellent and avoid wearing dark clothing, which tends to attract mosquitoes.

Amphet Chatpunyanon, Assistant Chief of Health and Environment, Patong Municipality.

Answered on January 23, 2004.
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