Dealing with Mosquitoes in the Philippines
The mosquitoes in the Philippines are not only annoying, they’re dangerous. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about them all year round – at least in most areas.
The summer heat tends to wipe out the standing water where they breed. The problem is that they breed from the time the rain stops until the water evaporates.
Before the last of the United States military departed in 1992, they would use aircraft to spray a pesticide above the countryside to suppress the mosquito population. I’m not sure how regularly it was done, but my wife said it was at least once per year.
Nowadays, mosquito exterminators are dispatched by the local city government (and everything is done on foot). I don’t know how often it’s supposed to happen, but I’ve only seen them spraying once in the last seven years. It wasn’t effective at all and perhaps that’s why it isn’t being done anymore.
Mosquitoes here carry malaria as well as dengue. The fever produced by these diseases will obviously make children ill, but they’re fatal to adults if not treated immediately.
The Philippine government issues health warnings on a regular basis, on both television and radio. Residents are advised to cover storage containers and not keep standing water uncovered. These warnings go unheeded because mosquitoes are all over the place even when there aren’t any nearby ponds or lakes to breed in.
Low Mosquito Population Periods
There are only two official seasons of weather in the Philippines: Dry and rainy. When it’s supposed to be cold, it really isn’t cold, but rainy is definitely rainy and hot is definitely hot. The only season that has a high mosquito population is during the cold part of the dry season – at the beginning.
The hot part of the dry season clears out the mosquitoes because any standing water (places where mosquitoes breed) dries up, even though I’ve never seen any standing water areas close enough to my house to account for all the mosquitoes.
Preventing Contact with Mosquitoes
This applies everywhere you find mosquitoes, not just the Philippines. Mosquitoes travel away from their breeding grounds during the dawn and dusk hours. They don’t travel during the dark of the night or the brightness of the day. It’s essential to keep doors and windows closed when they’re out and not so much during the other hours.
Staying indoors during the dawn and dusk hours will help to lower the number of mosquito bites you receive. There are skin lotions you can use to repel mosquitoes (as well as other flying insects), but I’ve been told that Avon’s “Skin-So-Soft” product works better than most. My aunt used it when she was here (visiting from the US) and she didn’t get bitten at all.
Like other insects, mosquitoes get confused by indoor light. If a mosquito gets trapped indoors during the dusk hours, the mosquito will continue to do what it would normally stop doing – hunting for blood. That’s why it’s important to keep windows and doors closed during the dusk hours. Of course, closing windows doesn’t do any good if there aren’t any window panes or bug screens on them and they’re not shutters. I can’t tell you how many windows I see on regular basis that are nothing more than openings.
If controlling the mosquito population doesn’t work, regardless of who’s responsible for it, the next best thing is prevention of mosquito bites and that’s all up to you. In the seven years I’ve lived in the Philippines, I haven’t been bitten more than few times.