Thai disease control officers spray chemicals to kill mosquitoes in Bangkok. Thailand is launching a nationwide clean up of mosquito breeding sites as new figures showed dengue fever deaths have more than doubled this year.(AFP/File/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)
The newspapers today are reporting an alarming increase in the number of people suffering from Dengue Fever. So far this year there have been 9000 cases with 1000 reported in the last week alone. There has also been 16 deaths so far which is significantly higher than the same period last year. Rayong is apparently the worst affected area and Bangkok the highest area for deaths! The government has now renewed their public awareness campaigns and even at our school the students have been making posters about disease carrying mosquitoes. This has got me a little worried as the number of mosquitoes around the house has increased since the rainy season began.
I think my recent problem with mozzies started after I had bought a lot of flowers for my back yard. I was playing darts there the other week when I kept getting bitten by mozzies. This was unusual. A few minutes later I accidentally knocked one of the flower pots and then half a dozen mozzies flew out! So, I am breeding mosquitoes now! I quickly went for my electronic zapper which looks a bit like a tennis racquet. This then did a good job of killing the mozzies. However, the next day it looked like I had electrocuted half of my flowers! Many of them were now dead. Never mind, I rather have dead flowers than mosquitoes.
At this time I decided I should take the mosquito threat more seriously. I went to one of the local department stores to see what they had on offer. I didn’t really want to buy mosquito coils or sprays because that relied on human intervention in a regular way. So, my first buy was an electronic zapper that had an ultraviolet light. The theory was that the light would attract the mozzies which would then be electrocuted. The cheapest version was about 800 baht in the local hypermarkets. I decided to pay a bit more for a heavy duty looking one in Home Pro.
The results were a little disappointing. I have it set up by the front door which in my house is usually open all the time. I know when a mozzie gets zapped because its makes a snapping sound. But, I don’t hear that noise often. I suppose it was helping to an extent as it only takes a bite from one infected mozzie to give you dengue fever. However, these mozzies only come out during the day time and I think the ultraviolet light doesn’t have so much of an effect during the daylight.
My next buy was a gizmo that produces an ultrasonic sound which apparently annoys the mozzies. These varied in price depending on the brand name but were still a lot cheaper than the ultraviolet light version. I bought two to use in two different rooms. They also sold a battery version which you could take with you to restaurants! For best results, you need to use it in smaller rooms and not open spaces.
At first I thought it wasn’t working very well as I kept noticing mozzies flying around. The package did say that it would only scare off some of the mozzies and not all so I was prepared to have limited success. However, I then started noticing that mozzies were dropping like flies in front of me. They were also acting sluggish and almost drunk like. It looked like it was working as a few days later I kept finding dead mozzies. But, like anything it wasn’t 100% and I still got bitten on my ankles in the dark space underneath the computer workstation. So, I put a small version of the ultraviolet light under the table which helped.
I think in conclusion, my favourite weapon in the war against the mozzies is the electronic tennis racquet zapper. It not only does a good job but also gives you good aerobic exercise. The best thing is the price as it is only about 80 baht or so. If you are coming to Thailand, don’t get paranoid. Cover up when mozzies bite and use a spray or lotion. Consider buying a mozzie zapper. Also maybe a small electronic box with the ultrasonic sound.
Dengue Fever in Thailand
The Mosquito Zapper