American Mosquito Control Association
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The American Mosquito Control Association states that there are over 3,000 known species of mosquitoes in the world. The most common and could be health threatening includes the Culex, Anopheles, and Aedes genera. (Mosquito World, 2017) According to an article by Orkin, mosquito eggs hatch into larvae within 24 to 48 hours. Their growth rate is naturally dependent on other factors such as temperature, moisture, and other environmental conditions.
On average, within seven to ten days, larvae enter the pupal stage. It will later on emerge as an adult mosquito. Male mosquitoes normally feed on plant extracts unlike female mosquitoes. Females extract blood of hosts in order to develop and nourish eggs. Antennae receptors provide the mosquitoes aid in tracing the moist trail filled scent humans leave behind upon movement. Carbon dioxide and other substances including lactic acid attract them (Matthew Chmielewski, 2007) Based on an article by PubMed: Dengue Literature, mosquitoes’ lifespan ranges from two to four weeks, although external conditions such as the environment may affect this. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes usually live on an average of one and a half to three weeks.
James Becnel of the US Agricultural Research Service, the idea of eradicating mosquitoes is not realistic although reduction and management of their population is very much feasible. This could be achieved by public education and awareness, and behavioral, chemical and biological controls through the usage of insecticides. There are several known ways to ward off mosquitoes. Some products involving skin contact include lotions and body sprays. Non-contact products such as mosquito incenses and coils are oftentimes used as well (Mosquito Bytes, 2002) Furthermore, mosquito incenses are not affected by their shape and does not necessarily have to be in the form of a coil. (F. Drake III, How to Make Mosquito Coils)
Mosquito coils are commonly used in most of the households in the Philippines. Although, some studies suggest that the smoke may contain pollutants of health concern. In Floyd Drake III’s How to Make Mosquito Coils, he quoted a study from the University of California, Riverside saying commercial mosquito coils often contain up to one-percent BCME. BCME or bis (cloromethyl) ether is a dangerous, lung cancer-causing chemical.
In a research article, commercial mosquito coils used in Malaysia and China were used in an experiment to characterize the emissions. After conducting their experiment, they have found that pollutant concentrations resulting from burning mosquito coils would exceed health-based air quality. And under the same conditions, the Malaysian mosquito coils created more pollutants than the Chinese mosquito coils. The findings from the study suggest that exposure to the smoke of mosquito coils are similar to ones who can pose significant acute and chronic health risks. The emission of formaldehyde from one mosquito coil can be as high as those released from burning 51 cigarettes. (Environ Health Prospect Research Article, 2003)
Over-the-counter mosquito coils usually contain DEET or diethyl-meta-toluamide. DEET was developed for the use of the US Army during the World War II in 1946 and was later on classified as a pesticide when it became available in the consumer marker (BugOfff: Pros and Cons of DEET Mosquito Repellant, January 2015) DEET has been closely studied by scientists due to its possible side effects upon contact with the skin.
An article by The Locals indicated that in 1995, products with more than 30% DEET concentration was banned in New York. According to the article by BugOfff, the longevity of DEET’s effectiveness depends on the percentage of its concentration on a product. As an example, 10% DEET products are effective for two hours. DEET has been proven to enter the bloodstream upon application to the skin. Some reported effects of DEET may include rashes, hives, irritation to the eyes or lips, and even muscle spasms that may contribute to further health complications (The Locals, DEET Free Insect Repellants) On the contrary, life-threatening effects of DEET are not yet scientifically proven. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the substance is safe when used according to proper directions and quantity.
A common used plant in mosquito-repelling products is citronella. The plant contains a variety of scented germanium that simply produces a citronella-like scent when the leaves are crushed. Citronella is a perennial clumping grass that emits a strong aroma. The aroma masks the scent and keeps mosquitoes from being attracted to the things located around it (Tubman University, Liberia, 2016) Although, some studies indicate that citronella oil is unsafe to inhale since it may be subject to lung damage (WebMD: Citronella Oil, 2017)
Citrus fruits usually cause a distinct smell caused by the rinds the give off their highly aromatic and familiar aroma (Citrus Oil Guide, 2017) Peels of these fruits are commonly used as incenses while their respective contents are most likely for ingestion.
Lemon, scientifically identified as Citrus limon, is one of the world’s most common citrus fruits. It contains very little amount of fat and protein and is made up of carbohydrates (10%) and water (88-89%). Main plant compounds found in lemons are citric acid, hesperidin and diosmin (HealthLine: Lemons101, 2015) Lemons are commonly used as a natural cure for common flu and colds. Other benefits of lemon with regards to ingestion include aiding in kidney stone prevention, swelling, and provision of lacking Vitamin C (WebMD, 2017) With addition to this, mosquitoes do not like the odor of lemons, according to a research worker in Singapore, Mrs. Daniels in 2009 (HsTreasures, 2017) This was proven by simply rubbing the rinds of these fruits to the skin, which may cause skin irritations and allergies in the cases of some people. Oranges could obtain the same effect in the same manner.
Oranges, scientifically identified as Citrus sinensis, is another common citrus fruit known for its poignant and distinct aroma. It contains Vitamin C, fiber and other nutrients. Some reports of oranges’ health benefits indicates cardiovascular disease prevention, and other similar effects with that of lemons (WhFoods, 2017)