Sting in mozzie invasion
THE mosquito invasion has begun.
The miniscule insects have been out in force over the last few weeks due to a combination of high tides and rain in December.
Mackay Regional Council vector control officer Don Chatham said the mosquitos had been bad so far this year.
"We have had a significant increase in adult mosquitoes over the past two weeks," Mr Chatham said.
"The main reasons for the increase have been high tides (over 6.2m) prior to Christmas Day and periods of heavy rain, including optimum breeding temperatures.
"All of these contributing factors are pointing to a highly active mosquito season, not just for the Mackay region but for the whole of the eastern coast of Queensland."
Mr Chatham said one species in particular could be deadly.
"The main species identified at present is the Ochlerotatus Vigilax.
"It is a saltwater species, capable of transmitting Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus; that mosquito can also fly up to 50kms from its breeding site," he said.
"At present, vector control staff are continuing to treat with larvacide in all known breeding sites and are also conducting early morning ULV adulticide misting in targeted areas throughout Mackay in an attempt to reduce the mosquito population to a more acceptable level.
"All residents of affected areas should protect themselves from these biting insects and wear full-length, loose-fitting clothes; use personal repellents; and not venture into infested areas during the main feeding times (dusk and dawn)."
Rockhampton CQUniversity biology senior lecturer Bob Newby said it is the female mosquitoes that bite us.
"The female mosquito feeds on the blood for a high protein meal, whereas the males don't really eat."
Prof Newby said water was a major part of the mosquito's reproduction cycle.
"The main source for mozzies to breed is water that is lying around people's backyards," he said.
"They have to be in water as those larvae feed on algae, particularly in old tyres and pot plants."
To alert council to mosquito problems, call 1300 622 529.
- Queensland Health statistics show 170 cases of dengue fever were reported last year
- More than 1000 Ross River virus cases were reported in Queensland last year