Sunday, February 27, 2011

Integrated Pest Management

Living in the tropics has many advantages like sunny warm days surrounded by crystal clear blue waters full of amazing fish varying in size and all the colors of the rainbow. Palm tree lined beaches with white, white sand.

The Tropics

The tropics being very humid and wet at times also harbor insects too. Mosquitoes one of them. As life has it some people seem to attract them others never have a problem.

Trudy Rilling – Collins a consultant in “Integrated pest management – biological control of insects” has been a wealth of knowledge and help at Soneva Fushi. Trudy has developed a plan to support the resorts ecological philosophy of biological pest management. 

Treatment of mosquitoes mainly focus on killing the live adult as this is what we see and hear and get bitten by, only the female fortunately.
Pesticides of various forms are used to try and kill the adult usually a member of the pyrethroid family, permethrin and tetramethrin are non natural, non organic controls for pest populations. Research has shown that mosquitoes do become resistant to these chemicals and there for they become ineffective. Studies have demonstrated that the method has little effect on the mosquito population. Moreover, when space spraying is conducted in a community, it creates a false sense of security among residents, although it is highly visible and conveys the message that someone is doing something about the disease; this can be only a poor justification for using space sprays. (Often, members of  Corporations order fogging in their constituencies to 'satisfy' their voters!).


Since these pesticides are ineffective with adult populations not to mention the serious side effects to human, aquatic and insect life another way has to be found.   

The most important part of controlling mosquito species breeding involves eliminating the breeding sites or eliminating mosquito access to potential breeding sites.  Living in the tropics requires specific activities for the prevention of mosquitoes. Vegetation on the site and man made structures all need attending to.

Breeding Site
Once identifying the sites not all can be removed or sealed to prevent breeding.

Trudy cleaning and sealing breeding site 
Breeding site


Man made breeding site

Bti", Bacillus thuringienis ssp. israelensis, are bacteria which infect and kill mosquito larvae. These bacteria are highly selective, killing only mosquitoes and their close relatives like gnats and black flies. Formulations of Bti will only kill these types of insects and do not harm other kinds of insects, fish, birds, worms or any mammals! Bti is considered safe for human health.
Due to the complex structure of Bti toxins, it is seen by many researchers  that the acquisition of resistance in exposed insects would require multiple mutations at different loci, and is therefore largely delayed under natural conditions.
For these reasons, the use of Bacillus thuringiensis based insecticides in pest control programs is now considered as a viable strategy, which has proven to be both safe and reliable over the last 40 years

Recorded breeding sites
Treating with Bti


At Soneva Fushi a Mosquito breeding site elimination and prevention programme has been commenced.

On the Island identified areas to be targeted include:

    Coconut collecting 
  1. Collection of all of the coconuts on the ground before the beginning of the rainy season!  Even the smallest crack can contain enough water for breeding. 
  2. Fill in all the tree holes capable of holding water with cement or cut away tree holes if appropriate.
  3. Map and treat all of the domestic sources of water which are capable of breeding mosquitoes.

Sealing gaps after treatment
  1. Create tight seals on all of the grey water and sewage water drain clean out boxes and filling gaps under concrete lids with a layer of grout. Broken concrete lids to be repaired or replaced.  
  2. Screen all grey water and sewage water vent pipes appropriately to prevent mosquito access.
  3. Create mosquito proof lids for all water tanks, wells, sewage clean outs
  4. Clean out all rain gutters, checking for areas capable of holding standing water
  5. Check all areas for standing water.
  6. Remove any materials capable of holding water.
  7. Remove any unused materials or useful in the future.
  8. Clean, maintain and repair all areas capable of holding water and are capable of breeding mosquitoes.

Treated repaired and sealed

  1. Drill drain holes in all the garbage containers so they will not hold water in the rainy season.
  2. Eliminate tarps as they hold water and form breeding sites.
  3. Remove tires or store in a covered area.

Education of management, hosts and guests of the resort is also required as this will explain the project, gain support and instill the need for active measures to prevent mosquito breeding sites and how to identify and eliminate the breeding sites.

An ongoing awareness and surveillance programme is the final key to the programme as coconuts still fall from the palms, limbs of trees will rot creating holes and drains will clog.

A happy team working together for the benefit of all and environment


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