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July 4, 2011

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Annoying travelers create buzz on Metro

WAVING a fan while waiting at Metro Line 3's Caoyang Road Station, a middle-aged woman was trying to keep cool in the summer heat - and swat the mosquitoes buzzing around the platform.

In recent days, passengers at many of the city's Metro lines have found themselves joined by the unwelcome fellow travelers.

Experts say this is because the Metro system provides an ideal environment for the insects to thrive.

"Cool during summer and warm in winter," said Leng Peien, a department director with the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "The conditions at subway stations are perfect for mosquito breeding."

Online, passengers have voiced concerns about the pests, and pondered how best to tackle them in public.

Passenger Steven Kong asked: "What should I do? Beat it or leave it alone?"

Kong feared he would look odd chasing a mosquito in a crowded carriage and trying to swat it with his hands.

Mosquitoes have become a particular problem at elevated stops - which are easier for the insects to reach - and on new lines, such as Line 11, stretching to suburban areas with more open land.

Puddles at stations, also contribute to the problem as mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. Mosquito density usually doubles in June, health officials said.

The Metro operator is to conduct pest control operations at about 200 stations.


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