Demand up for pest-control services and anti-mozzie items
WORRIED Singaporeans have been ringing up pest-control companies, asking for help in destroying any potential mosquito breeding sites in their homes and offices following an outbreak of the Zika virus here.
Three pest-control firms have received between 45 per cent and nearly triple the number of calls than usual since last Saturday, when news of the first case of locally transmitted Zika infection broke.
Zika is spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, although it can also spread through sexual transmission.
Ikari Services, which has noticed a 50 to 60 per cent spike in calls, said customers have asked for advice on how to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
Those who live in landed properties have asked to bring forward the dates of their homes' pest-control inspections, while others wanted to increase the frequency of these sessions.
"Many of them are asking for more thorough and intensive treatment that searches for and destroys larvae," said its director Declan Ee.
Such a service can cost between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars.
The usual treatment involves misting which kills adult mosquitoes.
Rentokil Initial, which has seen a 172 per cent spike in calls, is anticipating larger call volumes in the next few weeks.
The calls came from across Singapore - not just the Zika-hit area around Aljunied - and includes business and home owners, said its operations director Lim Min Hui.
At PestBusters, most of the inquiries have been from construction companies, hotels and hospitals, said chief executive Thomas Fernandez.
Upon receiving a call, his staff will give advice on how to prevent mosquito breeding.
If there is a need, they will go to the site to investigate and recommend solutions, he added.
Meanwhile, mosquito coils, anti-mosquito repellents and patches continue to fly off the shelves at pharmacies and supermarkets.
Sales of sprays, patches, bracelets, lotions, wipes and clip-ons at the Unity Pharmacy chain have increased by more than 50 per cent since the outbreak.
It now restocks these items daily instead of once a fortnight to meet the increased demand.
Supermarket chains FairPrice and Sheng Siong, and pharmacy chain Watsons also reported a surge in demand for anti-mosquito items.
Additional reporting by Ng Huiwen