Mozzies set to buzz off by end of May
  • Friday 24 April 2009

Relief is in sight for locals itching to see an end to the swarms of mosquitoes that have been buzzing Sunshine Coast beaches and hinterland recently.

Monitoring by the Sunshine Coast Council has found that mosquito numbers have dropped by about 30% a week over the past three weeks, with cooler nights and aerial control measures taking a toll on mosquito breeding grounds.

Council’s Healthy Places Manager Jason Brewer said mosquito numbers at a central Coast monitoring site had dropped 67% from 6 April to today.

“If this trend continues, mosquito numbers should be back to normal within seven to ten days,” he said.

As the cooler weather approaches, the days are numbered for mosquitoes, which can’t survive overnight temperatures of 10 to 12 degrees. That’s why the mosquito season usually doesn’t last beyond late May, Mr Brewer said.

This has been a challenging mosquito season, with high tides, heavy rains and big swells causing inundation of tidal wetlands and freshwater, he said.

This allows mosquito eggs, which can lay dormant for years, to turn into larvae which quickly breed more mosquitoes.

“Conditions this season have worked against us and we have had to conduct more control measures than usual, including our intensive aerial application program using larvicide dropped from helicopters in coastal wetland areas, where some of the worst biting mosquitoes are known to breed,” he said.

But the trick is to catch them at the right moment of the larval cycle, he said.

“With our recent warm and humid weather, this window of opportunity can be as short as three days. That’s why council teams have been kept busy over the past three weeks carrying out mosquito control measures on a daily basis.”

Council has been using a combination of aerial application and land-based “fogging” treatments for smaller areas.

In the meantime, 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. Outside, empty any stagnant water, put sand around pot plant bases, clear overgrown vegetation and gutters and maintain water tank screens.