A Closer Look Inside the Common Mosquito Species in Singapore

A Closer Look Inside the Common Mosquito Species in Singapore

As a global travel and shipping hub with a warm, humid climate, Singapore faces ecological challenges that allow mosquitoes to thrive. Recent studies have identified over 180 different species of mosquitoes thriving within the city-state’s urban tropical landscape.

While these numbers might sound alarming, only a handful of these mosquito species pose a substantial health concern. In fact, the majority of adult mosquitoes do not transmit diseases, and some species even prefer feeding on non-human hosts. Additionally, only female mosquitoes bite and draw blood from humans.

Yet, it’s the minority that poses a serious threat. These species are carriers of life-threatening diseases that claim nearly a million lives yearly, justifying their notorious status as the world’s deadliest animals.

In this blog, we’ll narrow down the 3 most common Singapore mosquitoes and examine their physical characteristics, lifecycles, behaviours, and the diseases they spread. By the end of this blog, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to manage and minimise the risks they pose to your business.

Why is it Important to Understand the Differences Between Mosquito Species

Before we start, you might wonder: why should a business care about types of mosquitoes? It’s not as if, when one lands on your arm, you will pause to say, “Ah, that’s an Aedes with black and white stripes!” just before that mosquito bites you and gives you dengue, right?

This light-hearted observation often surfaces during pest awareness training and merits a serious answer.

While our first instinct might be to strike any mosquito on sight—and rightly so—it’s crucial for businesses to go beyond simple swatting. Recognising different mosquito species is important because each one behaves differently and requires specific control strategies.

For instance, not all adult mosquitoes are fans of dirty water. Some, like dengue-spreading Aedes mosquitoes, actually prefer to breed in clean water. If your pest control plan only targets dirty stagnant water, you might only instruct your staff to clean out dirty water and leave the clean ones unscattered. This oversight can turn your cleaning protocol into a costly, or even deadly, mistake.

Now that we’ve outlined the importance of distinguishing them, let’s move on to examine the common types of mosquitoes in Singapore.

The 3 Types of Mosquitoes Found in Singapore <h2>

In Singapore, the most notorious species belong to the three genera: Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes of these species carry deadly pathogens that cause vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, Zika, West Nile Virus, and Chikungunya Virus.

Let’s delve into a detailed examination of each species to understand their behaviours, habitats, and the specific threats they pose to Singaporeans.

Aedes Mosquitoes

A comparison image of two Aedes Mosquitoes. One is the Aedes aegypti and the other one is the Aedes albopictus.

Aedes mosquitoes, otherwise known as the Dengue Mosquito, have 2 primary species: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. As the name implies, this genus is the primary vector behind dengue outbreaks in Singapore. They are also potential vectors for Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever.

Physical Appearance

Both species are easily recognisable by distinct markings.

Characterized by a slim black or brown body, the Aedes aegypti mosquito is easily identifiable by distinctive white stripes across its thorax and banded legs. On the other hand, an Aedes albopictus features a single white stripe down the centre of its back and similar leg banding. These distinctive markings are key identification features used by professionals.

Habits and Behavior

Unlike its nocturnal counterparts, this mosquito prefers to feed during daylight hours. In terms of habits and behaviour, Aedes aegypti tends to breed in clean, stagnant water that accumulates in everyday household items such as vases and flower pot saucers. A closer inspection reveals their eggs to be attached just above the waterline in these domestic containers.

In contrast, Aedes albopictus can thrive in both urban and rural environments and is more versatile in its feeding habits, biting at dusk and dawn. This species is known to exploit any container capable of holding water—from bamboo stumps and tree holes in natural settings to abandoned buckets and construction materials in urban areas. Their eggs are laid individually.

Both species are highly adaptive and aggressive biters.

Diseases Transmitted

Disease transmission is a significant concern with these mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti is primarily responsible for spreading dengue fever, Zika virus, chikungunya, and yellow fever. Aedes albopictus also transmits dengue and chikungunya and has been known to carry Zika as well.

Recommended Control Measures

Reducing Aedes populations involves eliminating mosquito breeding sites, such as stagnant water in indoor pots and discarded containers, and using larvicides in water storage areas.

Culex Mosquitoes

A close-up image of a Culex Mosquito.

If Aedes mosquitoes are active during the day, the Culex variant bites at night and has a preference to breed in polluted waters. Culex mosquitoes are primarily known for their role in transmitting the West Nile virus, filariasis, and encephalitis.

Physical Appearance

Culex mosquitoes are less distinctive in appearance than their Aedes counterparts but are characterised by their dull brown colour and rounded abdomen.

Habits and Behavior

Culex mosquitoes are night biters (nocturnal) and are known for breeding in polluted, stagnant water like drainage ditches and ponds. They lay cylindrical brown eggs in clusters that float like rafts on the water’s surface.

Diseases Transmitted

The diseases transmitted by Culex mosquitoes include the West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis Virus (JEV), and filariasis. They are particularly notorious for their role in spreading the West Nile virus, which has emerged as a serious health threat in various parts of the world.

Recommended Control Measures

Managing Culex mosquito populations requires regular cleaning of exposed containers and applying larvicides in areas of polluted water to prevent breeding. Installing window and door screens is also an effective strategy against these nocturnal mosquitoes.

Anopheles Mosquitoes

A close-up image of an anopheles mosquito.

Anopheles mosquitoes are primarily distinguished by their unique feeding posture, where they position themselves at an angle to the surface. Additionally, Anopheles mosquitoes are known vectors of malaria. 

Physical Appearance

Anopheles mosquitoes are recognised by their typical resting position where their bodies are tilted at an angle to the surface, giving them a distinct profile compared to other mosquitoes. They have spotted wings and a slender body.

Habits and Behavior

Anopheles mosquitoes breed in brackish waters like swamps and ponds. They are most active during dusk and dawn and are known to rest indoors after feeding. 

When it comes to egg laying, these mosquitoes lay their eggs singly on the surface of the water, not in rafts like some other common species. Each egg has a pair of tiny structures called “floats” which help them stay on the surface.

Diseases Transmitted

The most significant threat from Anopheles mosquitoes is malaria. Although the disease is not native to Singapore but could potentially be imported, this specific species is the primary vector for malaria and plays a critical role in the transmission of this disease. 

Recommended Control Measures

To combat Anopheles mosquitoes, it is essential to maintain clean water sources and eliminate standing water where these mosquitoes breed. Employing insecticides and mosquito traps can reduce their populations and prevent malaria transmission.

Protecting Your Property and People From the Deadly Types of Mosquitoes

The mosquitoes present a nationwide challenge, especially for businesses where the impact of such deadly insect bites in Singapore makes the stakes high.

Effective pest control services protect the health of your employees, customers and anyone involved in your business. With targeted treatment methods, businesses can get rid of mosquitoes and reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.

Our mosquito management services leverage scientific insights and experience to deliver solutions that are both effective and environmentally responsible. 

Let us help you establish a safe, mosquito-free zone on your property.