Container reduction

They breed in containers, not the jungle

Eliminating breeding sites for dengue mosquitoes is the most important thing you can do.  You have to be very thorough, even ruthless, and eliminate them all.  Once you have done this, the mosquito traps work extremely well since the females have no where else to go.

The Aedes mosquitoes are adapted to live and reproduce around humans, specializing in reproducing in containers we leave lying around, the bigger the better.  They may also reproduce in ponds. They do not tend to live in the middle of the jungle, unless it is near humans.

Things to look for:

  • Empty tires.  These are phenomenal mosquito factories, and never go away.
  • Discarded containers, like bottles, jars, cans, buckets.
  • Discarded pipes and hoses.
  • Empty buckets, especially when full of organic debris.
  • Some plant structures: coconut halves, papaya trunks (it’s hollow, and can fill with water after the papaya falls over or is cut off).

It cannot be stressed how important this is.

Bromeliads

Yes, Aedes can reproduce in bromeliads, however, their strong preference is for containers.  If you have eliminated all containers, then it is likely they will try to use bromeliads.  The treatment is to use Altosid Pro-G granules. Ritchie & Broadsmith [1997] showed Altosid was very effective at eliminating mosquitoes for long periods (6 months).  However, heavy rain will dilute it making it prudent to reapply it monthly during the rainy season. Or, use Mosquito Bits and apply every two weeks.

Roof gutters

Researchers in the West Indies found that about half of the Ae. aegypti populations were coming from roof gutters. Clean your gutters so they flow well, and if water puddles in low spots that you can’t correct, consider drilling a 1/8″ hole in it.

Septic tanks

Lastly, consider underground sources.  Septic tanks with broken lids or pipes were found in one study to be creating as many as 18,000 adult Aedes aegypti per day [Berrera, 2008]!  Check your tanks are properly covered and screened.  As a rule of thumb, if you can sometimes smell septic gasses then you have a problem.

Any underground structure that might hold water should be checked and treated.