Mosquito – a small fly, with a piercing/sucking mouth part and a thirst for blood which takes it from being an annoying fly, to a disease carrying, much feared pest of humans. Mosquitoes are a known vector for diseases which kill millions of people around the world annually. Malaria is the biggest killer of the mosquito transmitted infections but luckily, Australia is classed a ‘malaria free’. Thanks to huge efforts to control both the disease and the genus of mosquito known to transmit the infection throughout the 50’s and 60’s and we were certified a ‘malaria free’ in 1981. Australia still suffers from dengue fever, however, when this is diagnosed and treated early it has a mortality rate of less than 1%.
Here on the Mid North Coast in areas like Port Maquarie, Taree, Forster and Tuncurry, we are lucky. The genus of mosquito that transmit malaria, anopheles, or the species known to transmit dengue, Aedes aegypti, do not inhabit this far south! None the less, mosquitoes still cause a large amount of distress and annoyance to residence of the Mid North Coast, so we thought we’d give you some ways get reduce the numbers!
Non-chemical, environmental change will achieve the best long term results for pest mosquito control.
Stagnant water – Where possible all sources of stagnant water should be removed. Stagnant water provides a breeding ground for pest mosquitoes and in order to control the adult pest, you must also control the larvae!
Common sources of stagnant water are:
- Rubbish – Old tyres, cans, buckets, plastic bags etc left out where they can get wet often hold water for long enough to allow mosquito breeding. Removing these will have a huge impact on local pest numbers!
- Gutters and drains failing to drain – Channel drains and house gutters often hold water either due to faulty installation, sagging or obstructions (leaves etc) which stop water from draining away as it was intended to.
- Septic and water tanks – While these are a necessary evil, there are products on the market which are safe to use in drinking water storage to control pest mosquitoes.
- Fish ponds – Fish ponds with fish in them = good, fish ponds with no fish in them = bad! Fish in a pond will generally control pest mosquito larva ‘wrigglers’ by eating them. If there are no fish in the pond, the pests have a free run.
- Pot plant trays – The water trays on the bottom of pot plants often hold water for long enough to breed mosquitoes. Calm down, I’m not telling you to remove your pot plants, but the water trays should be cleaned out fortnightly to remove breeding pests.
Leaf litter and dense shrubbery – Leaf litter and dense shrubbery, especially close to entertainment areas can be a BBQ ruiner. These areas may provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes, but at very least offer a dark, warm, humid environment for mosquitoes to hang out, extending their life and increasing the infestation!
Increase airflow – Mosquitoes are a fly. This means that they only have 2 wings and while this is an advantage for precise, erratic flying, it is an exploitable disadvantage as their flying strength is low. This low flying strength means that they cannot fly in air currents and will avoid these areas where possible. Allowing natural airflow through your entertainment area or the installation of fans can have a huge impact on pest mosquito populations.
Traps – Light traps and carbon dioxide traps are an effective way to remove small numbers of insects. They should not be a primary form of mosquito control and well planned placement will increase their efficacy exponentially.
Chemical control may be necessary to achieve mosquito reduction, especially on a short timeline. For long term results however, an integrated pest control approach is necessary with a high focus on environmental change.
Pesticide application – Pesticide control of mosquitoes can be applied by Local Pest Experts and is an effective way to achieve fast population reduction of mosquito adults. Care must be taken when implementing chemical mosquito control to ensure non target pests are not affected. Adult mosquito control, contrary to popular belief, does not simply ‘repel’ the pest from the treated area and relies on pest ‘contact kill’. Because of this, other non target insects such as bees can be affected if the appropriate risk management actions are not taken.
Repellents – There are many off the shelf, commercially available mosquito repellents which can provide temporary relief from mosquitoes. While these are often effective for a short term response, they are a reactive action and can be used to complement other control methods and should not be used as a stand alone option.
We hope this has helped with mosquito control at your house, if you have any other questions, please head on over to our Contact Us page and get in contact.