According to a recent study, controlling the mosquitoes at the larval stage may be the best strategy to reduce their population.
In the study published in the journal ‘PLOS ONE,’ introducing hungry minnows — small freshwater fish — into bodies of water where mosquitoes breed, can dramatically decrease the number of adult mosquitoes, especially those capable of carrying the West Nile disease, the virus of which is spread by infected mosquitoes.
Once an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites multiply in the host’s liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells.
Nigeria suffers the world’s greatest malaria burden, with approximately 51 million cases and 207,000 deaths reported annually (approximately 30 per cent of the total malaria burden in Africa), while 97 per cent of the total population is at risk of malaria infection.
Although, the use of insecticides remain one of the most effective ways to get rid of mosquitoes as well as other flying and crawling insects, researchers have found a cheap and pesticide-free way to combat mosquito populations. However, previous studies show that pesticides are poisons and, unfortunately, they can harm more than just the ‘pests’ at which they are targeted. They are toxic, and exposure to pesticides can not only cause a number of health effects, but is linked to a range of serious illnesses and diseases in humans, from respiratory problems to cancer.
The findings showed that treatment ponds suppressed levels of mosquito larva over each season compared to controls with a model-predicted 114 per cent decrease in larva density within treatment ponds.