7 Things You Can Do During Renovation to Mosquito-proof Your Home and Prevent Dengue

  • Dec 8, 2021
Design: The Merry Men Interiors It is the year-end rainy season again when the monsoon season provides Singapore some sought after relief from the hot tropical heat. Nevertheless, although Covid-19 news still dominates the front pages, we should not forget that dengue still poses a serious threat to Singapore and dengue cases are expected to rise at year-end as Aedes mosquito population increases this year. Furthermore, the wet and damp weather sets the perfect condition for mosquitoes to breed and more people than ever are working from home. Therefore, we have far greater exposure to the dengue mosquitoes during this period. Since mosquitoes are one of the deadliest insects in the world due to their ability to spread deadly diseases to humans, the best way of dealing with mosquito-borne disease is to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your home right from the start. You can do so by proactively planning to have a mosquito-proof home with your renovation professionals before the renovation begins. Here is how we can do to make our home mosquito-proof to protect our loved ones!
Do you know?
Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include dengue, malaria, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever,[1]filariasis, tularemia, dirofilariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis,[2]Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Ross River fever, Barmah Forest fever, La Crosse encephalitis, Zika fever,[2] as well as newly detected Keystone virus and Rift Valley fever. - Wikipedia. You can also find out whether if your home is in the Dengue clusters by viewing this interactive map. As of Oct 2021, there are than 4,500 dengue cases and 12 active clusters in Singapore.

#1. Renovation planning has to be mindful of the top 5 mosquito breeding habitats

Based on the NEA website, the top 5 breeding sites in 2018 include:
* Domestic Containers (Pails);
* Flower pots, plates and trays;
* Ornamental Containers (Vases);
* Plants (Hardened Soil and Plant Axils) and;
* Canvas and plastic sheets.
What does this mean to you?
Only purchase water pails that come with covers so that they can be easily covered while not in use. When designed customised flower planter pots for your balcony, you need to consider incorporating self watering anti mosquito mechanisms too. For furnishing, minimize the use of ornamental containers and if possible, stick to glass vases so that you can monitor for any signs of mosquito breeding grounds. Avoid using canvas or plastic sheets for your balcony screens and if you do, remember to check canvas and plastic sheets regularly to ensure that they do not collect stagnant water.
Design: VOILÀ

#2. Replace the traditionally designed floor traps, air-con trays and bamboo pole holders

Aside from being a popular breeding place for moth flies, the kitchen and bathroom floor traps are also breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The air-conditioner trays or receptacles, which are placed beneath or on top of any air-con unit, and bamboo pole holders collect stagnant water which could result in mosquito breeding. Design: Ace Interior Design
What does this mean to you? Replace the bathroom floor traps with the ones with covers . Otherwise, you need to cover the floor traps which are not used with plastic container covers. Remember to ensure that only HDB patented air-con trays or receptacles, which is specially designed with a gradient, should be installed to collect the condensate. In additional, consider replacing the traditional bamboo pole holders with an automated laundry system, or installing the pole holders with a bamboo pole cover to prevent stagnant from accumulating.

#3. Rethink the colours of your walls and carpentry

Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours such as black, dark grey and navy blue, and tend to hide in dark dingy corners. Hence, painting the home interiors with gloomy colours and using dark-coloured carpentry will do a poor job of deterring mosquitoes from your property.
What does this mean to you? You should steer clear of dark colours for your walls and use bright colorful ones instead. In addition, consider using special paints such as the Nippon Paint MozzieGuard, which has a special coating with insecticide encapsulated in the polymer for interior use.  According to Nippon Paint, "the active ingredient within the paint enters the Aedes aegypti mosquito when it lands on the painted surface and disrupts the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes nervous system, leading to paralysis and mortality. By covering more surfaces with MozzieGuard, the probability of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes landing on the paint film becomes higher, which increases the chance of knockdown on contact". 
Image from Nippon Paint

#4. Install insect screens for windows, balcony and door gate

Open windows, balcony and doors are the perfect way for annoying insects and mosquitoes to invade your home, especially for homeowners who live near a park or forest.

What does this mean to you? To keep out any unwanted visitors, insect meshes, also known as insect screens, are the best way to keep you safe. Hence, you can consider installing insect screens by covering the window, balcony and door openings with magnetic insect mesh covers. The fine mesh gaps will keep out the mosquito without blocking the airflow.

StoryOfUs-Calrose-02Design: Story of Us

#5. Use door sweeps for all doors

Although installing the insect screens keep out the nasty pests, they can still invade your property through the large door gaps between the doors and floor. This usually happens at night when the annoying unwanted intruders are attracted to the bright light escaping from the bottom door openings.

Image from Easy Comforts

What does this mean to you? Seal up the openings by installing door sweeps, that seal the gaps between the bottom of the door and the floor. Aside from keeping out the pests, they also help to protect against moisture, dust and keep air con air from escaping.  A door sweep is a long strip of metal that holds a seal made of a material such as neoprene, silicone, or a nylon brush, mounted to the bottom of the door.

#6. Reconsider the DIY floor decking/interlocking tile project

DIY decking tiles have grown in popularity over the years since it is an affordable option for homeowners to cover outdoors and indoors floors with the tiles of their choice, by snapping the tiles together on their own. Nevertheless, water tends to accumulate below the tiles when such tiles are used outdoors.
Image from Ikea
What does this mean to you? Ensure that the DIY floor decking tiles do not unintentionally result in gaps for excess water to accumulate. In addition, remember to remove the interlocking tile periodically to remove the stagnant water, which has seeped through the tiles.

#7. Explore other ways to mosquito-proof your home

A. Utilize innovative gadgets to keep mosquitoes at bay

Aside from the omnipresent electronic ultrasonic mosquito repellents, you can consider using this specially designed anti-mosquito pot, which attracts mosquitoes before killing them! Attracted by the odour of carbon dioxide gas that the pot releases, there is also a light of wavelength 360-400nmm emitted by the UV lamp. Once mosquitoes hover near the pot, they will be sucked into the fan which eventually kills them.

Image from Tuvie

B. Use dunks and sand granular insecticide

Mosquito dunks are a safe, non-toxic way to kill mosquitoes as they are made of bacteria which is only toxic to mosquito larvae. They are so effective that the mosquito larvae will be killed within hours. Sand granule insecticides are chemicals that are designed to kill mosquito larvae, ants, fleas and other pests.
What does this mean to you?
 Add Mosquito dunks and sand granular insecticide in places where there is stagnant water, such as vases with ornamental plants, toilet bowls and sinks with U-shaped pipes. Mosquito dunks and sand granular insecticide can be found at major supermarkets and DIY stores. They are also retaining online at major e-commerce stores.

C. Consider having anti-mosquito plants at home

A natural way to make your home inhospitable to the mosquitoes is to keep mosquito-repelling plants at home. Mosquito-repelling plants work by blocking the mosquito's sense of smell, and this makes it harder for them to land on a human to feed.
Image from USA Today
What does this mean to you? Some of the anti-mosquito plants which naturally releases aroma includes, Basil, Lavender and Lemongrass. Leave these plants in places near windows, balcony and doors, where the mosquitoes find their way into your home.
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