‘Tis the season for mozzies to multiply
  • Tuesday 05 January 2010

Summer rains – combined with the onset of hot weather – are expected to create a surge in mosquito numbers this January, Sunshine Coast Council has warned.

“Council officers are monitoring the main mosquito breeding areas and have undertaken helicopter treatments over the past few days from Caloundra to Noosa,” council’s Manager Healthy Places Jason Brewer said.

Mr Brewer said a total of 1390 hectares of coastal areas were treated for mosquitoes in this latest assault on their breeding grounds – the second aerial treatment this season.

Although effective, aerial spraying cannot reach everywhere, so council is reminding residents to do their bit to keep the biting pests at bay.

“Council staff are doing all they can but we do not have the resources or science to effectively control all mosquito species over such a vast geographical area and therefore, if the risk of disease is to be reduced, we need the help of residents too,” Mr Brewer said.

“As we all know, mosquitoes have the potential to transmit diseases such as Ross River Fever, Barmah Forest Fever and encephalitis.

“Mosquitoes can breed in untreated water that remains standing for seven days or more – and that includes fresh or salt water.

“The most important thing you can do to reduce mosquito numbers around your home is to check for any water in buckets, pots and gutters and empty it out.”

Tips for helping reduce mosquito numbers include:

  • Empty pot plant drip trays at least once a week or fill them with sand
  • Empty or dispose of containers, buckets, jars, old tyres or anything holding water
  • Cover all openings of rain-water tanks (including overflow pipes) or septic tanks with wire mesh no coarser than 1mm
  • Keep swimming pools chlorinated – unused swimming pools should be emptied or super chlorinated
  • Flush water-holding plants such as bromeliads with fresh water
  • Empty wading pools at least once every five days
  • Keep ornamental ponds stocked with fish and/or aerated
  • Empty out and refill birdbaths and pet water bowls at least every five days
  • Keep open drains and channels clear of rubbish, weeds, grass and other debris so that water can flow freely and reduce ponding.
  • Keep roof gutters in good repair and regularly remove leaves and debris so that pools of water do not form

On rural and rural/residential properties, residents can look at filling in depressions that hold water for several days and also stocking dams with suitable fish that consume mosquito larvae. (These fish can generally be obtained from registered fish breeders).

As well as reducing the opportunities for mosquitoes to breed, residents are reminded to follow the usual advice at this time of year – cover up, wear mosquito repellent and keep screen doors shut, especially at dawn and dusk.