Mosquito levels steady thanks to council control program
  • Tuesday 17 March 2009

The Sunshine Coast region is experiencing a challenging mosquito season, with high tides, heavy rains and big swells causing local inundation of tidal wetlands and freshwater.

However, the number of mosquito-borne viruses thus far is no higher than usual for this time of year.

Community Policy and Programs Portfolio holder Councillor Jenny McKay said council officers remain vigilant across the region, conducting larval and adult mosquito surveys on a regular basis to monitor mosquito levels and head off disease outbreaks.

“A regional approach to mosquito control provides the opportunity for council officers to work together to coordinate responses and promote prevention,” Cr McKay said.

“Additionally, council continues to monitor local advice provided by Queensland Health on mosquito-borne diseases.”

Manager for Active and Healthy Communities, Charlie Eames, said the good result is largely due to an intensive aerial application program, known as Vector Control, using a larvicide that is harmless to humans and the environment at application levels.

“The product targets the larvae, which prevents them from hatching into insects,” Mr Eames said.

“Treatment must be applied at the right moment in the larval cycle to prevent an outbreak, and with our current humid weather, this window of opportunity can be as short as three days.”

Control efforts are being concentrated around the wetlands of the river systems, where some of the worst mosquitoes, including the aedes vigilax variety, are known to breed.

“This approach has largely replaced the previous land-based ‘fogging’ treatments, which can have adverse impacts and must be used with caution,” Mr Eames said. “Land-based treatments are now used only occasionally to target small areas where aerial treatment is ineffective.”

Residents are advised to cover up when outside, apply a mosquito repellent and close screen doors especially at dawn and dusk.

“To reduce the risk of mosquito breeding around the home, residents should empty containers of stagnant water, place sand around pot plant bases and clear overgrown vegetation and gutters,” Mr Eames said.

“Residents with rainwater tanks should ensure any gaps are sealed and screen gauze is less than 2mm to prevent mosquitoes from gaining access.”