Dubai and Abu Dhabi weather: hot and dry spring leads to arrival of mosquitoes and bugs

Suburbs with lush landscapes and lakes are most affected, pest control companies say

A dry spring with almost no rainfall has coincided with the arrival of mosquitoes, flies and bugs in parts of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Residents told of swarms gathering on balconies and in gardens as temperatures rose to the mid-30°Cs in recent weeks.

People living in built-up districts, particularly areas with vast green landscapes and water bodies – such as canals and lakes – said the insects have become a nuisance.

Pest control experts said mosquitoes and midges tend to gather in large pools of standing water and breed at a rapid pace.

Midges breed in water and emerge in millions. Their life span is very short and after emerging, they swarm, get attracted to a light source and rest on wall surfaces

Dinesh Ramachandran, Rentokil

“Mosquitoes generally breed wherever a suitable water source is present,” said Dinesh Ramachandran, health and safety manager at Rentokil.

“The water source can be as large as a lake or as small as a pan collecting water.”

After reviewing images sent to The National by readers, Mr Ramachandran said the swarms appeared to be "non-biting midges" which are a nuisance pest.

“They look almost like mosquitoes, but do not have biting mouthparts,” he said.

The insects breed in water and swarm in millions.

“Their life span is very short and after emerging, they swarm, get attracted to a light source and rest on wall surfaces.”

Mr Ramachandran said mosquitoes and midges are "adaptable insects, so emergence largely depends on external environmental factors" such as water temperature, oxygen supply and chemical composition.

Overall, Rentokil has not recorded a surge in complaints this month, but he said reports most often come from areas with water sources. Just recently, the company was in talks with a local golf course in Dubai that reported a rise in midges breeding in nearby lakes.

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How to prevent mosquitoes and flies

1) Keep windows closed - after dark, keep windows and doors closed or block out the light with curtains

2) Insect screens - fit fly screens to windows

3) No standing water - do not leave standing water (in watering cans, for example) as this gives mosquitoes a good place to breed

4) Natural predators - if you have a garden pond, think about getting some goldfish as they will eat mosquito larvae

5) Natural repellents - try natural repellents such as citronella, neem oil, peppermint oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, witch hazel, garlic, lavender and vanilla extract

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Dubai resident Tanuj Damani has lived in a building adjacent to the canal in Dubai Sports City for several years and is no stranger to bugs.

In two weeks, he is moving from the area in the hopes of getting some respite.

“Thankfully my apartment isn’t as affected this time around but I was sitting at one of the restaurants on the promenade last week and it was unbearable,” he said.

A view of bugs nesting on balcony ceilings in Dubai Sports City. Supplied
Swarms of bugs nest on balcony ceilings in Dubai Sports City. Supplied

“There were too many insects and we still get tiny flies in our house, daily.”

Mr Damani, who works in the tech sector, said he complained to management about the issue several times and they suggested fogging and pest control.

In The Greens, one resident, who asked not to be named, said was dealing with swarms of midges on his balcony.

This is the first time he has dealt with the issue after three years living in the same apartment.

“[I’ve read] a few comments saying it’s all over Dubai,” he said.

“We have been in The Greens for six years. There is a lake here and lots of greenery, that’s why we like it.

“For three years we have been living next to the water but never had this problem until about a month ago.

“Emaar is doing its best to help for now and they will spray our balcony again so I can’t fault them, but we can’t open the doors or windows for now.

“I’m not sure what changed to bring them around like this.”

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Updated: April 18, 2021 05:42 PM

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