The high-pitched whine of mozzies and the itchy bites they leave behind are a nuisance, but mosquitoes can also carry serious diseases, so Wellington Shire Council is stepping up efforts to control their numbers and learn more about the bloodsuckers.
Mosquitoes can transmit Ross River Virus and the rare Barmah Forest Virus. Both viruses are found in the Gippsland region and cause joint pain and stiffness, headaches, fever, rashes and fatigue.
To combat the spread of mosquitoes when warmer weather comes, Council has been working with the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to increase monitoring and trapping.
Monitoring and trapping to determine species and provide notification of diseases found was conducted from November to April.
“Officers from Council’s Mosquito Control Program caught an impressive 350,000 mozzies in six months, at sites ranging from Seaspray to Loch Sport to Longford,” Wellington Shire Council Mayor Garry Stephens said.
“And Council has conducted research though additional trapping. This provides more data about how much breeding is going on along Ninety Mile Beach,” Cr Stephens said.
“In addition, some 78 hectares of breeding sites were treated using a natural, larvae-killing bacteria called Bti.”
Reducing mosquito levels on private land is also important. Council can be asked to check potential breeding sites on private property and householders are asked to regularly remove water from places where larvae lurk. This includes bird baths, old tyres, pot plant bases, buckets and pet bowls.
Rainwater tank openings should be covered with mesh, and swimming pools chlorinated. Fishponds should be stocked with Australian native fish because they eat mozzies.
For more information visit, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/campaigns/beat-bite
or head to www.wellington.vic.gov.au/bees-wasps-mosquitoes