Worldwide, mosquito borne viruses and parasites are major causes of human and animal sickness and death. There are almost 100 species of mosquitoes in Western Australia and many of them can be serious pests, interfering with leisure time and outdoor activities. Therefore it is important for people to take personal measures, such as the use of repellants, to reduce the risk of contracting disease and to reduce the breeding.
Mosquito bites cause discomfort and pain, particularly to babies and those with sensitive skin. Only the female mosquito bites. They need blood to be able to develop their eggs. While taking blood, infected mosquitoes can pass on disease-causing viruses and parasites. Exposure to large numbers of mosquitoes increases the chance of being infected with mosquito borne disease.
What are state and local governments doing with mosquito control?
The Department of Health, in collaboration with local governments, conducts mosquito control programs in areas where mosquitoes are suspected of carrying disease. However, despite these programs Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus will always be a threat as they occur in natural cycles and it is not possible to eliminate all mosquitoes.
The Shire's Environmental Health Officers survey and treat mosquito breeding areas on a regular basis. The Shire has a proactive mosquito control program which involves pre-treating areas which may become inundated during rainfall events with briquette stations. These briquette stations disperse a target specific pesticide which kills mosquitoes while they are in their larval growth stages.
Additional hand application of the larvicide chemicals is undertaken where the briquette stations alone are inadequate, which includes both biological and chemical agents. Where possible, the Shire's Environmental Health Service applies target specific products which have minimal effect on both the aquatic life and other non-target insects.
How can I eliminate mosquitoes from my backyard?
Eliminate Breeding Areas
Mosquitoes breed in standing water which can be found in old car tyres, pot plant drip trays, water tanks, roof gutters, domestic ponds, neglected pools etc. Removal and prevention of backyard breeding is an effective way to reduce breeding.
Following are some examples how this can be achieved:
- Keep ornamental ponds stocked with mosquito-eating fish e.g. Goldfish.
- Keep margins free of vegetation.
- Keep swimming pools well chlorinated and filtered, as well as free from leaves.
- Fill or drain depressions in the ground that hold water.
- Screen rainwater tanks with insect proof mesh.
- Ensure guttering does not hold water.
- Empty pot plant drip trays once a week or fill with sand.
Spraying of Backyard
Residual pyrethroid sprays (eg bifenthrin, deltamethrin), outdoor foggers or permethrin can be used to further reduce mosquito numbers; however it should not replace the removal and prevention of backyard breeding areas.
Avoid Being Bitten
- Avoid being outside early mornings and evenings when mosquitoes are most active.
- Cover up as much as possible with loose fitting, long clothing.
- Use insect repellents at four-hour intervals. Most effective and long lasting are repellents in lotion form.
- Screen all doors and windows on housing. All doors should be self-closing and open outward.
- When camping, sleep in tents or swags fitted with mosquito netting.