THE city recently intensified its anti-dengue campaign with its “Denguerra” or war against dengue by conducting massive clean-up drives all over the city every Thursday of every week for the whole month of July.
Having joined the “denguerra” last Thursday, along with other colleagues from the city government as well as volunteers and barangay officials, at South Central Aurora Hill Barangay, several suggestions came to light. Among these are the following : a) There is a need to carefully check abandoned houses where the aedes aegypti mosquito may breed and hide – during our sortie at the said barangay we discovered several abandoned houses that had locked doors but open windows. We informed the barangay officials about this and advised them to call the attention of the owners if they are still in the city so that these abandoned houses can be fumigated either by the city government or the barangay; b) In dimly lighted alleyways where a large number of houses are located, neighbors should cooperate with one another in installing mosquito coils or “katol” just outside their doors to deter mosquitoes from congregating in their vicinity; and c) Grow and cultivate potted anti-mosquito plants inside and outside their homes to repel the insects. We advised the barangay officials accompanying us to encourage their constituents to cultivate anti-mosquito plants instead of other ornamental plants, and we also suggested if the barangay can come up with their own project to acquire these anti-mosquito plants and have them distributed to their constituents for free; and d) We advised residents having their houses near creeks and other waterways or bodies of water to take extra steps in preventing mosquitoes from entering their homes such as putting up removable screens in their doorways or windows (e.g. modified mosquito netting).
It might also be a good idea to expand the suggestion of cultivating anti-mosquito plants and include it in the program of the city government and the 128 barangays as an add-on to the plantito/plantita activity begun during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Browsing online, we found, according to experts, the top anti-mosquito plants that can be planted in gardens or pots. These are the following: 1) Lavender, 2) Marigold, 3) Citronella (Lemon Grass), 4) Catmint, 5) Rosemary, 6) Basil, 7) Scented Geranium, 8) Bee Balm, 9) Mint, 10) Floss Flower, 11)Sage, and 12) Allium. Having two or three of these plants thriving in your backyard, in front or inside (pots) your home will go a long way in warding off these pesky mosquitoes, which hopefully will also include those of the aedes aegypti type.
It is also important to know the enemy and thus the aedes aegypti is physically described as, “Adult Aedes mosquitoes are distinguished from other types of mosquitoes by their narrow and typically black body, unique patterns of light and dark scales on the abdomen and thorax, and alternating light and dark bands on the legs. Females are further distinguished by the shape of the abdomen, which usually comes to a point at its tip, and by their maxillary palps (sensory structures associated with the mouthparts), which are shorter than the proboscis. Aedes mosquitoes characteristically hold their bodies low and parallel to the ground with the proboscis angled downward when landed.” (https://www.britannica.com/animal/Aedes
So if you see something that flies towards you that looks like what is described above, then feel free to swat it away immediately. Better yet start cleaning your home surroundings and following tips and guides provided by the city: grow anti-mosquito plants, apply anti-mosquito repellants, wear clothes that do not expose a large surface of your skin, and help your neighbors do the same.
The war against dengue is a concerted community effort. Everyone must be involved because everyone is at risk from the aedes aegypti mosquito and the dengue disease it carries.