You might have heard the buzz - mosquito season has begun, and Wellington Shire Council has started spraying areas that are likely to hold larvae.
While mosquitos are a nuisance – and the itchy bumps they leave are, literally, a pain – Council’s saltmarsh mosquito spraying program is focused on the potential health effects the insects can cause, such as Ross River Fever and the rarely seen Barmah Forest Virus.
Council’s control program targets saltmarsh mosquito breeding areas, which stretch from Loch Sport to Seaspray. It sends samples for monitoring by the Department of Health and Human Services, so that areas of concern in the region can be identified.
Shire residents can also take steps to reduce the chances of a bloodsucker with its tell-tale high-pitched hum heading their way.
Recent rains mean there are a lot of potential backyard breeding grounds for mozzies – and a single mosquito can lay 200 to 400 eggs in its life cycle. So Council is asking locals to check their property for areas where container-breeding larvae lurk.
Wellington Shire Council Mayor Alan Hall said this means regularly flushing drains, gutters, birdbaths and water features; covering bins; securing rainwater tanks and septic tanks; and mowing lawns regularly.
“A tidy backyard is important – items as small as a drink can or a plant pot can harbour larvae,” Cr Hall said.
In the home, screen doors, windows, chimneys and other entrances. Change pet bowl water and vase water daily. And limit activity outside at dawn and dusk – the two peak times for bites.
Cr Hall said that bites can be reduced by covering the skin with loose-fitting clothing and applying mosquito repellent to exposed areas.
For advice on repellent for babies and toddlers, visit bit.ly/babiesandrepellent.
In November, Council will start trapping adult mosquitos – it trapped over 300,000 last season.