It’s the festive season – for mosquitos. With the rain we’ve had, and the heat to come, it’s the perfect environment for mozzies to breed. And you’ve only got about a week to get to them before they’re hatched and in the air.
While only a few species can infect humans with diseases like Ross River Virus, Barmah River Virus and Murray Valley Encephalitis, they’re all very annoying on summer evenings, and especially if one gets into your room overnight! In Victoria there were more than 1000 cases of Ross River Virus last year after rains, flooding and heat came together.
Mosquitos can breed in very small amounts of water, and can take as little as eight days from being laid as eggs to being in flight and giving you the itches. The females lay their eggs in water (or leave them for up to a year in spots where water will be), and the eggs hatch in as little as 24 hours. Once they hatch, the ‘wrigglers’ are in the water for 5-7 days before going into a pupae for a day and then taking flight.
The mozzies biting you are probably the ones you bred – most mozzies won’t fly more than 2km from where they hatched. You’re first in line to be bitten if you’ve left breeding habitats for them.
Here’s what to do:
1. Remove Stagnant Water and Prevent Pools from Forming
- Empty water troughs when animals aren’t in the paddock
- Fix drainage to low lying areas and remove puddles
- Cover or turn over wheelbarrows, trailers, boats, tools and kid playground toys
- Clean up unused tins, tyres etc
2. Manage Water Sources
- Change water in pet bowls, vases and pot plants at least once a week
- Fix leaking taps
- Put sand around the base of pot plants to prevent open water
- Flush unused toilets once a week
- Empty kids pools if not used regularly
3. Keep Lawns and Gardens Tidy
- Trim your lawns, pastures and gardens to reduce areas where mosquitos rest
- Low grass helps the ground and puddles dry out quickeR
4. Seal Your Water Tanks
- Check tops, lids and covers on all water tanks – tanks must be completed sealed
- Check screens on inlet and outlet points
5. Regularly clean your gutters
- When wet they’re a breeding ground, when dry they’re a fire season hazard
Learn more here: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/campaigns/beat-the-bite