Mosquitoes are known for causing malaria, dengue and other diseases. There are a variety of insecticides that have been developed to control the mosquitoes and medicine to counter those mosquito borne diseases as well. The use of insecticides has caused an increase in environmental pollution, thus, the need for better and more sustainable options. There are ways to control mosquitoes which are mainly through environmental management.
After an intense research with the WHO, they figured out how you can use fish to control mosquitos. This is mainly done with the use of larvivorous fish whose main purpose is to vector control. After several experiments, the results were positive as the fish effectively controlled mosquito-borne diseases. This research approach occurred in both through an integrated approach and alone as well.
The potential larvivorous fish should possess certain characteristics.
- The fish should have a preference for immature mosquitoes plus a variety of food such as plankton.
- They should feed on surface food since that’s where the anopheline larvae is.
- They should be active, fast, and small in size.
- They should also have a high breeding potential.
- Considering that they will be going to the surface of the water to feed, they should be able to withstand environmental conditions and stresses. These mostly include intense temperature and pollutants.
The process requires more than just one fish to be successful. This means that they need to be in large numbers. This, however, may be a problem since most fish don’t breed in large numbers with the exception of a few species. The best way to approach mass production is through a controlled environment which involves the following:
- Eliminating the predators – for the fish to survive, the predatory fish has to be removed. This can be done by simply netting every now and then, pumping the water out, and cleaning the pond or nursery, and also by using fish toxicants.
- Removing weeds – aquatic weeds can be removed manually.
- Removing aquatic insects – they can be removed through oil and soap emulsion on the water surface.
- Fertilization- this mainly applies to new hatcheries.
After correct selection of the appropriate larvivorous fish, they are then released and can be monitored. Some ecological considerations have to be put into consideration which include the pH levels, temperature, pollutants, and salinity of the water. This should be properly researched before setting up the fish farm. The release should also be done at a controlled rate which will depend on the size and type of fish as well as the ecological habitat. You will need to periodically monitor the fish in the breeding sites.
The success of this project will need and require constant observation. Keeping a record and noting down the recurring events, you will get a more definitive observation. That way, you can make proper conclusions on whether the method is working or not.