The Shire of Broome maintains an extensive mosquito monitoring and control program throughout the townsite. The program is documented in the Shire of Broome Mosquito Management Strategy (adopted by Council in 2011) and has been an invaluable tool to respond to influx of mosquitoes, customer service requests, the prevention of breeding and the spread of mosquito borne disease.
The Shire of Broome receives significant rainfall during the wet season and combined with heat and humidity, usually experiences an increase in mosquito numbers until naturally occurring pooling water has evaporated from the environment. The Kimberley region also experiences large tides especially during autumn and spring. Inundation of tidal salt mangroves also contributes to an increase in mosquito breeding. The area is also affected by tropical lows and cyclones and localised flooding events that will provide for an increase in mosquito breeding.
Chemical treatment options like fogging will only occur during a disease outbreak and/or following a disaster event where the risk to public health of the community outweighs the risk to the environment from application of the adulticide. These treatments will also occur only under the direction of the Environmental Health Officer after consultation with the Department of Health Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Unit. The following is a list of key triggers they would consider before fogging (note that more than one trigger would be needed):
- High number of public complaints to the Shire
- Detection of Murray Valley Encephalitis and/or Kunjin Virus
- Above average rainfall
- Above average notifications of mosquito borne disease
- Trapping mosquitoes identified species found are recommended for adult control by the Department of Health.
Why do Health Services monitor mosquito numbers and species?
Although most mosquitoes will be considered a nuisance, entering houses and buzzing in your ear whilst searching for a blood meal, some species are known vectors of Ross River Virus (RRV) and Barmah Forest Virus (BFV). RRV and BFV can impact significantly on an infected person’s lifestyle. Symptoms can include painful and/or swollen joints, sore muscles, aching tendons, skin rashes, fever, tiredness, headaches and swollen lymph nodes
What does the Shire of Broome do to reduce the incidence of blood-borne diseases?
The key components of the program are:
- Pre and post treatment monitoring: find out where the mozzies are breeding and how effective the treatment was.
- Adult trapping: catching adult mosquitoes to monitor the identity and density of the adult population present; and
- Larviciding : treating the larvae present with a granular growth retardant called Prolink Prosand, to prevent the larvae from becoming adults.
The Environmental Health Team also conduct a sentinel Chicken program in conjunction with the Western Australian Department of Health. For further information regarding the mosquito monitoring and management program please call Health Services on 91913456.
What can I do to protect myself and stop mosquitoes breeding around my home?
- Reduce outdoor activities during high mosquito activity periods (dawn and dusk)
- Cover up by wearing light coloured long sleeve shirts and long pants that are loose fitting
- Apply personal insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin if possible
- Ensure fly screens to doors and windows are fitted and maintained
Check your property for potential breeding sources:
- Empty pot plant bases weekly or fill the base with sand to absorb water
- Bromeliads and other water holding plants should be washed out weekly
- Clean roof gutters out regularly and trim back trees which can block gutters
- Ensure rainwater tank overflow pipes are screened and access covers fitted securely
- Keep swimming pools maintained
- Ensure plumbing and vents to septic tanks are screened; and
- Birdbaths and ornamental pools should be washed out weekly.
Why do mosquitoes need a blood meal?
It is only the adult female mosquito that requires a blood meal (protein) to produce eggs. Some mosquito species can fly up to 50km in search of a blood meal, most species average up to 2-5km. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide (exhaled air), warmth, body odour, perspiration and light.
If you have a mosquito problem at your home or place of business it is more than likely to be a localised problem caused by one or more of the above factors. As mosquitoes can be vectors of debilitating and even potentially fatal diseases, it is very important that the community take responsible action to eliminate breeding sites around the home and work place. Local Government focuses on mosquito management on public land while but individuals have responsibility for management on their own property and for protecting themselves and their families from mosquito bites.
Many new people to town or visitors confuse mosquito bites with midge bites. To know more about biting midges please see the following link: Protecting yourself from biting midges