Post date: Feb 12, 2014 6:45:09 AM

By: Maria Joby F. Zulueta, RN

Ever wonder what public school teachers are mixing in black tumblers and strategically placing them at the corners of their classrooms? Poison? Mouse trap? Witch craft? Hardly. Don’t ever think that teachers are out casting spells or hexing anyone. Those are Ovi-Larvicidal Traps. Say what?!

Ovi-Larvicidal Trap or OL Trap is the contraption that teachers assemble inside their classroom. It consists of a regular-sized black plastic tumbler, a 1”x6.5” lawanit paddle and mosquito-attracting pellets dissolved in water. Yes, it is for mosquitoes. Not for mouse or any other creature. Ideally, two tumblers are placed per classroom. So, what are these things for? How can it be helpful?

According to Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the scent of the solution invites female aedes mosquitoes to the trap where they lay eggs on the stick and on the solution itself. The stick, moistened by the solution through capillary action, is highly attractive for mosquitoes to lay eggs on. As the eggs and the hatched larvae get exposed to the solution, they die. The trap does not kill adult mosquitoes. Instead, its ovicidal and larvicidal effect prevent the next generation of mosquitoes from reaching adulthood, thus curbing the Aedes mosquitoes population. Another salient feature of this contraption includes safety and cost effectiveness. The solution is organic and non-toxic. It does not contain any harmful chemicals that may endanger children when accidentally ingested. It is also relatively much cheaper as compared with other commercially available mosquito-control products. This is DOST’s contribution to the national concern on “Dengue” in tandem with DOH. The two departments have collaborated for the nationwide rollout of this technology. On our part, the implementation of this program is through Science department headed by Dr. Flordeliza A. del Rosario. Sounds good, isn’t it?

Despite that, the local government of Balanga through City Health Office doesn’t seem to think so. According to Mr. Oliver R. Enriquez, it contradicts the City’s Container Reduction Management Program which eliminates unnecessary container habitats that collect water in which Aedes aegypti can lay their eggs. Their basis for prevention is through environmental sanitation and behavioural improvement towards healthy living as WHO suggests may offer improved potential for combating dengue fever, the world's fastest growing vector-borne disease. Aside from doubting the effectiveness of OL Traps, they say the implementation and monitoring of this program is complicated, as it needs properly trained personnel for vector surveillance. The City also advocates through conducts of orientations to community to create awareness regarding the deadly disease, active source and case finding, clean-up drives and focal spraying. Now, it’s confusing.

However our world evolves nowadays, no matter how fast the mutations of mosquitoes and all other virus-carrying creatures, we have the power to overcome them. We just have to begin the battle within ourselves. Modify our behaviour and make room for healthier, cleaner and wiser improvements. Be vigilant to these diseases and empower yourself with knowledge on how well you could combat them. It doesn’t matter if you place OL traps or do as officials from barangays tells you, as long as you do it with conviction. Installing OL traps is a huge responsibility because it may become a breeding receptacle of dengue-causing mosquitoes. Simple negligence and it might cost us a life or two.

Now, do you think OL trap is a solution? Or would it just aggravate the current health status of our City? It’s really up to you.