PEST WARNING SUMMER 2023: Mosquitoes

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PEST WARNING SUMMER 2023: Mosquitoes

Pest Alert Mosquito Warning

NSW residents have been warned to take precautions in wake of the heavy rain and floods we have experienced due to La Nina. 

A professor of virology has stated that “when the La Nina system was being established on the east coast, it was known that wet areas that were going to stay wet would be very good breeding grounds for the mosquitoes and mosquito-borne virus.”

Mosquito eggs can lay dormant for many years, just waiting for ideal conditions to hatch. 

These conditions have arrived in NSW!

When you have stagnant water from  heavy rain & floods in the environment these conditions become ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes as  other mosquitoes also become attracted to these areas, move in, mate & their populations explode! 

With an increased numbers of mosquitoes lead to an increased risk of being bitten and contracting mosquito borne diseases.

Mosquito Borne Diseases

Japanese encephalitis virus has been detected in samples in southern and western NSW indicating the virus is likely circulating in the mosquito population.

JE is a mosquito borne disease that may affect animals, including pigs, and humans. The virus is spread by mosquito bite.

One person so far in NSW has died from JE, and several other have been hospitalised.

The most common mosquito-borne diseases in Australia are Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses. 

Outbreaks of dengue and a strain of West Nile virus called Kunjin virus, Zika virus and Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) have also rarely been reported.

Symptoms to look out for: 

Symptoms often present 3–15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

IMPORTANT – Less than 1% of people infected with Japanese encephalitis experience symptoms. 

Common signs and symptoms of those that do become unwell are:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Skin rash
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea.

In rare cases, infection may result in brain inflammation (encephalitis). It is important to seek prompt medical assistance for any of the following symptoms:

  • Confusion/drowsiness
  • Neck stiffness
  • Seizures
  • Limb weakness

Reduce the Risk

You can reduce the number of potential breeding sites around your home:

• Clean up around your house.

• Remove any pools of standing water around your house and yards.

• Clean up debris deposited on your property by flood waters.

Rain or floodwater may have collected in containers around your yard, so make sure you empty and wipe out containers and store them in a dry place or dispose of them.

Common mosquito breeding sites include:

  • Pot plant bases
  • Tyres
  • Tarpaulins
  • Palm fronds and bromeliads
  • Buckets
  • Tin cans and plastic containers
  • Boats
  • Bird baths
  • Outdoor toys
  • Roof gutters

Rainwater tanks can also be a potential breeding site for mosquitoes. 

  • Check the mosquito screens and flap valves on rainwater tanks
  • Make any necessary repairs.

Did You Know

Swimming pools can also become a potential breeding site for mosquitoes.

  • Ensure your pool is free from debris and chlorinated or salted appropriately.

Personal Protection – Pest Alert Mosquito Warning

  • Cover up- wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear when outside.
  • Use an insect repellent on exposed skin and reapply within a few hours.
  • Use insecticide sprays
  • Use vapour dispensing units (inside) 
  • Use mosquito coils (outside) 

Further Reading

Mosquito Control 

Mosquitoes 101

Are your gutters a haven for pests ?

Are you a mosquito magnet?

Is your home a mosquito sanctuary?

Mosquito Afflictions: 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4