PUB taking measures to reduce midges near Pandan Reservoir: Masagos

Channel NewsAsia 13 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB has noticed an increase in non-biting midges emerging around Housing and Development Board blocks near Pandan Reservoir and have stepped up measures to control the population of the pests, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on Tuesday (Sep 13).

In a written Parliamentary response to Member of Parliament Foo Mee Har, Mr Masagos said the increase in the population was largely due to the intermittent hot and wet weather.

PUB has been "actively monitoring" the midges population in the area and has stepped up measures to reduce inconvenience to nearby residents, he added.

These measures include regular removal of the midges' eggs from the reservoir’s floating structures, increasing the frequency of application for a biological liquid larvicide along the reservoir perimeter from three times to five times per week, as well as increasing the dosage of the larvicide to kill the insect larvae and increasing the frequency of fogging and misting around the reservoir to kill the adult midges.

PUB has also installed bright spotlights at the Pandan Reservoir pumping station to attract adult midges at night and deter them from flying into nearby residential areas, the minister said.

"We will continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust our measures accordingly," he added.

Mr Masagos said that PUB had also taken measures to keep residents in the area informed of the midges situation, including conducting a dialogue session in August to address their concerns and distributing educational brochures.

Despite the nuisance posed by non-biting midges, Mr Masagos stressed that the insects are harmless to human beings.

"They are a natural part of the aquatic ecosystem and are food for fishes and birds ... they neither bite human beings nor spread any disease," he said, adding that the authorities seek residents' understanding and tolerance should they find the midges in their homes.

Non-biting midges thrive near water bodies such as canals, ponds and reservoirs, and swarms of the small flies have been previously reported in Singapore during warm months. In June this year, residents and shop owners near Bedok Reservoir also noticed an increase in the number of midges entering their homes and shops.

- CNA/mz

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