UAE residents are being urged to report mosquito sightings and potential breeding sites as authorities step up efforts to eliminate the flies. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) has seen an increase in the number of mosquito sighting reports it gets, especially after heavy rains in mid-April and the first week of May, a top official told Khaleej Times.

In an interview, Othaibah Saeed Al Qaydi, director of Municipal Affairs Department at the ministry, attributed the increase to the changing climate and weather conditions.

“Climate change has been seen to alter the distribution and behaviour of mosquitoes. While changes in precipitation patterns can create new breeding habitats, warmer temperatures can extend the mosquito breeding season,” said Othaibah Saeed Al Qaydi, director of Municipal Affairs Department at the ministry.

Mosquitoes thrive in warm and humid environments and over the last few months, the UAE has experienced a mild wet season, she explained.

“The UAE experienced a rainy season this year before April 16 (when the country received its highest rainfall on record), which resulted in accumulation of water in many parts across the country. Areas with stagnant water such as ponds, puddles, or even improperly drained flowerpots, can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” said Othaibah.

Urbanisation can also create new habitats for mosquitoes. “Urban environments with green spaces and water sources tend to support large mosquito populations.”

How to stay safe

Residents are to dial 8003050 to report areas with stagnant water that have been left unattended for some time. They have been told to also report areas with high mosquito proliferation.

“People can significantly reduce the risk of mosquito bites and the potential transmission of mosquito-borne diseases by taking appropriate measures and avoiding water accumulation in residential and office areas,” said Othaibah.

Residents have also been advised to use mosquito repellents and wear protective clothing that cover their arms and legs to minimise exposure. “Installing anti-mosquito screens and … nets are very helpful. Mosquito traps also go a long way in eliminating mosquito populations. It would help greatly if residents maintained their gardens and yards by cleaning them regularly and avoiding water accumulation in these areas.”

The ministry has called on all community members to participate in the mosquito control efforts.

“Communities can assist by eliminating areas of standing water around their homes and by not allowing rainwater to collect in containers and pots left outside without covers. They are also advised to eliminate stagnant water from irrigation basins, swimming pools, and fountains by either drying, covering, or moving them regularly.

“It is important to repair water leaks, which serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Regular monitoring of private swimming pools is also critical in preventing the breeding and spread of mosquitoes.”

Using tech to reduce spread

The ministry is using GIS mapping, sensors, predictive modelling and big data analytics to curb mosquito proliferation. Satellite imagery and drones help identify mosquito breeding sites and assess environmental factors influencing spread.

“The latest mosquito traps are equipped with sensors, cameras, and attractants that can efficiently monitor and capture mosquitoes. These solutions can help identify hotspots, track mosquito movement, and provide real-time data for targeted control efforts,” said the official. “Predictive modelling techniques, fuelled by big data analytics, forecast mosquito population dynamics and disease transmission patterns based on factors such as weather, land use, and human behaviour. These are great tools that enable proactive decision-making and timely interventions to prevent outbreaks.”

Human-safe mosquito control

The materials the ministry uses in campaign are not harmful to humans or animals. “The pesticides used in residential communities to kill mosquitoes are rapidly degraded by sunlight and other environmental compounds/factors,” the MoCCAE official said.

The UAE uses silicone films, biological control, and physical methods to eliminate mosquito larvae. “We also use thermal foggers, misting machines, and ULV sprayers, which specifically target adult mosquitoes and cause no harm to humans or animals.”

Campaign to continue till 2025

The first phase of the UAE’s anti-mosquito campaign was launched in February 2022 and will continue until May 2025. “The current stage of the campaign requires more attention … due to the recent heavy rains in the country, which have resulted in water accumulation in many parts of the country. The rains have created a conducive environment for mosquitoes to breed,” explained Othaibah.

Breeding hotspots

The ministry has offered tips for residents to identify stagnant water bodies that can become mosquito hotspots:

  • Small pools of water in discarded tires, cans, or flowerpots.
  • Containers such as barrels, buckets, and pots, if left uncovered, can collect water and become potential breeding sites for mosquitoes.
  • Ponds, marshes, swamps, and lakes.
  • Construction sites often use pits, ditches, and tanks for collecting water temporarily. These areas need regular maintenance to avoid mosquitoes.
  • Uncovered septic tanks.
  • Unused swimming pools, decorative ponds, and fountains.
  • Clogged storm drains, blocked gutters, and improperly maintained drainage ditches.

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