This article was taken from the Sunshine Coast Council Website - Factsheet 21/11/2017
Mosquito bites are not just a nuisance – they also have the potential to pass on disease to humans. This information sheet is for residents of Caloundra West, Bells Creek and Pelican Waters, outlining information on local mosquito prevalence and control measures to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
When are mosquitos a problem?
The high levels of mosquitos are typically recorded during December to April each year and represent increased nuisance levels, peaking in February and March. This reflects the increased abundance of saltmarsh mosquitoes (Aedes vigilax) through summer and the increasing populations of freshwater breeding mosquitoes that proliferate in temporary pooling water such as backyard pots and old palm fronds during the late summer/autumn wet season. The cooler months from May to September typically have very low to no mosquitoes.
The long term trend for mosquito species abundance on the Sunshine Coast is represented in the graph below.
The Saltmarsh mosquito
The saltmarsh mosquito is the most common of the species throughout this area due to proximity to the 500 hectares of identified breeding habitat in the Pumicestone Passage. Mosquitoes typically reach nuisance levels 7 to 10 days after the full and new moon tides through the warmer months, persisting for 2-3 weeks. These tides occur every fortnight between September and April.
This species has a nuisance range of 10km+ from its breeding habitat as shown in the attached map. With E-SE trade winds and the close proximity to breeding habitat, Caloundra West, Bells Creek, Golden Beach and Pelican Waters will experience greater and more frequent impacts then areas further to the north and west. The closer to the breeding areas you are, the greater and more regular the impacts.
Why do mosquitos bite?
Both male and female mosquitoes feed on honeydew, nectar, and plant juices. They use the sugar from these liquids for daily life. However, only female mosquitoes bite people and animals to get a ‘blood meal’. They need the protein and other components in the blood to produce their eggs.
What does Council do?
Council officers set weekly surveillance traps at locations in Caloundra and Bells Creek analysing data to maintain knowledge of what species are currently impacting these southern areas. This helps us understand where the weekly issues are originating from and current status of disease vector risks.
In addition the saltmarsh breeding areas (shaded red on the map) are surveyed weekly to determine what the current larval levels of the key ‘saltmarsh’ species are and when the best time/day is for targeted broad scale aerial control work.
Larvacide control work is done which targets larvae at the source with an average of 90% reduction in potential mosquito numbers. The window for aerial control work is usually 24-48 hours within a 2 week tidal cycle, often managed around wind, wet weather and larval development susceptibility to control products.
Up to 12 larvacide treatments per season are done targeting breeding habitat locations thoughout the Pumicestone Passage.
Please note: Council does not spray for adult mosquitos. Qld Health guidelines advise these are only to be considered in the event of a public health outbreak (eg. Dengue fever).
How you can better protect yourself?
Residents can play a major role in reducing the risk of mosquito disease transmission by;
- Avoid or reduce exposure in outdoor areas at dawn and dusk during peak times
- Wear appropriate clothing and using insect repellents when outside
- Removing temporary or stagnant water sources around the home each week to reduce freshwater mosquito risks
Please visit Councils website for further information on when upcoming treatments of the saltmarsh areas are scheduled and ways to better protect you and your family at home.