Bicolano biologist shares eco-friendly ways to control dengue

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard)—A retired professor of Biology has imparted his thoughts on alternative ways of addressing the dengue epidemic.

In an interview with the Bicol Standard, Leovegildo O. Basmayor said biological control, or the introduction of predatory species to reduce the population of the target species, is an ecologically-friendly solution.

“There are many species that naturally prey upon mosquitoes and wrigglers. These include dragonflies, spiders, small crustaceans, birds, and many more.”

“The dragonfly nymph, for example, eats mosquito wrigglers. The adult dragonfly also eats fully-grown mosquitoes.”

He warned against the excessive use of insecticides that may kill not only the mosquitoes, but also the other organisms which prey upon the mosquitoes.

Further, he encouraged the community to teach children not to capture or harm these predatory organisms, as they are vital in the maintenance of a balanced ecosystem.

Meantime, he clarified that while the mosquitofish can be used to somehow control the mosquito larvae, which they eat, this form of biological control is only recommended in areas with natural bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, or rivers.

He also noted that the mosquitofish is not an endemic species, and therefore has the risk of threatening the indigenous fauna.

“In fact, in an article published by the World Health Organization, it recommends the use of only native larvivorous species,” he added.

Apart from these, there are also plants that are useful in repelling mosquitoes.

These include the citronella and the neem tree, among others.

He concluded by appealing to the community not to take advantage of the situation.

“Always verify information if the supposed means of dengue control is proven effective,” he said. “Otherwise, it may cause more harm than good.”

Earlier today, DOH Bicol announced that this year alone, it recorded 4241 cases of dengue in the region with 40 deaths, or a 157% increase than that of the same period last year.