Take precautions - avoid mozzie bites

Published on 03 April 2019

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Don't let the mozzies bite - MidCoast locals and visitors alike need to take extra precautions against mosquitoes following recent rainfall and king tide events.

"The MidCoast is currently experiencing an increase in mosquito activity, as recent weather and tides have created favourable conditions in mosquito habitat - the vast expanses of flooded saltmarsh along our coastline," said Council's Manager of Building and Health Services, Gary Mead.

The salt marsh mosquito Ades vigilax likes to breed in coastal flooded saltmarsh and can disperse up to 50km from breeding areas. This mosquito is also a carrier of Ross River virus and Barmah River virus, so appropriate precautions need to be taken.

“People should protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing appropriate loose, long and light coloured clothing and by applying registered mosquito repellent. Protect your home with screens and ensure you remove water collections around the house where mosquitoes can breed.”

While mosquito reduction strategies would be ineffective in our region due to the vast expanse of tidal saltmarsh within our area, Council does undertake regular maintenance of stormwater and drainage easements to reduce and eliminate mosquitoes breeding sites.

“Mosquitoes that carry viruses are usually active in the hours on or around sunset and again around dawn,” Mr Mead said. “In ideal conditions, adult biting mosquitoes can emerge only three to four days after laying eggs, with adult mosquitoes typically living for up to three or four weeks”.

People should also avoid visiting the favoured habitats of mosquitoes. These include areas close to wetlands, bushland and the cool, dark areas of backyards during daylight hours.

Simple precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:

  • when outside, cover up as much as possible with light coloured, lose-fitting clothing and covered footwear
  • use an effective repellent on all exposed skin. Re-apply repellent every few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration, particularly on hot nights. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin
  • tropical repellents are not recommended for use on children under three months of age - instead use barriers such as netting of prams, cots and play areas;
  • light mosquito coils or use vaporising mats indoors. Devices that use light to attract and electrocute insects are not effective;
  • cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens;
  • when camping, use flyscreens on caravans and tents or sleep under mosquito nets;
  • remove mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as containers, buckets, tyres, tarpaulins, pot plant holders, aluminium cans and plastic containers.

Further information on mosquitoes and mosquito borne viruses can be found on the NSW Health website