The Shire of Broome maintains a comprehensive mosquito monitoring and control program across the townsite. The program is documented in the Shire of Broome Mosquito Management Strategy 2021(PDF, 2MB) (first adopted by Council in 2011), which guides the Shire’s response to managing mosquitoes, customer service requests, the prevention of breeding and the spread of mosquito-borne viruses.
If you have a mosquito problem at your home or place of business it is more than likely to be a localised problem. As mosquitoes can be carriers 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. However, individuals have responsibility for management on their own property and for protecting themselves and their families from mosquito bites.
The Kimberley has four main mosquito borne viruses of public health concern. There is no vaccination or cure for any of these diseases, meaning the only protection from being bitten and contracting them is prevention.
Ross River Virus (RRV) and the similar and usually less severe Barmah Forest Virus (BFV), which are carried in marsupials including kangaroos and wallabies, and probably other mammals, tend to be more common. These viruses can cause fatigue and tiredness and severe aches and pains and may last from many days to many months.
Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE) and Kunjin Virus (WNVKunjin) are carried in birds. Of these MVE is the more serious virus and in severe cases can be fatal or leave a victim with permanent disability.
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is an emerging mosquito borne disease of concern in Australia. While there have not been any cases in Western Australia, there is a high risk of the virus becoming established.
Only a small number of mosquito species in the Broome region can carry these viruses and have potential to transmit disease to humans.
Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and zika virus are not present in Western Australia.
Residents of Broome are encouraged to ‘Fight the Bite’ as part of a ‘Healthy WA’ campaign to reduce the mosquito population and the incidence of mosquito-borne disease.
The three central messages are to:
- Cover up.
- Repel (use repellent).
- Clean up areas around the home where mosquitoes can breed.
What can I do to protect myself and stop mosquitoes breeding around my home?
- 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.
- Reduce outdoor activities during periods when mosquitoes are more active (dawn and dusk).
- Ensure fly screens to doors and windows are fitted and maintained.
- Some spatial repellents might also be useful (pyrethroid containing coils etc).
Check your property for potential breeding sources
- Empty pot plant bases weekly or fill the base with sand to absorb water.
- Plants that can hold water such as bromeliads 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, ornamental pools and pet drinking bowls should be washed out weekly.
Throughout the year the Shire’s health staff trap mosquitoes at designated locations to count and type them. This work is more frequent in the wet season or if there are complaints from the community Checking for mosquito larvae (the water-based pre-adult mosquitoes) at recognised breeding sites is also performed.
Sentinel Chicken Program
The WA Department of Health maintains two sentinel chicken flocks in the Shire’s catchment. The Shire and Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation administer the Sentinel Chicken Program which uses the chicken flocks to monitor MVE and WNVKunjin activity in the environment.
People who are diagnosed with a mosquito-borne virus have their details provided (confidentially) to a member of the Shire’s health team. The environmental health officer will try to contact the person affected (by telephone or mail) to complete a questionnaire about the symptoms, likely places of exposure to mosquitoes and other relevant information which is provided to the Medical Entomology department within the WA Department of Health. This helps inform state and local government authorities on disease trends and control measures.
The mosquito lifecycle includes a water phase as well as the adult mosquito phase. It is only the adult female mosquito that bites because it requires a blood meal (protein) to produce eggs. Eggs are laid on or very close to standing water. This is why managing standing water around your property is important. Eliminating free standing water removes possible breeding sites.
Mozzie and Midges
Biting midges are tiny flies. They are smaller than mosquitoes but do have a similar appearance. While the midge bite can be irritating and its bites can become infected in susceptible individuals, midges are not known to spread disease. To find out more about midges please click here.
Managing rodents around the house
There are ways to deter rodents or manage them safely and effectively.
The Shire of Broome does not provide rodent baits to residents. It is the responsibility of owners and occupiers of premises to prevent rodents from living and breeding on their property. Rodents are well adapted to living in human environments.
There are native rodents that are part of the ecosystem as well as introduced rodents we also call vermin, which can proliferate in close proximity to human activity and our built environment if reasonable care of your property is not taken.
To reduce their numbers on your property you can:
- Remove accumulations of disused materials and rubbish including building materials, woodpiles and old furniture etc.
- Prune and remove overgrown vegetation.
- Remove fallen fruits, nuts and seeds (if practical) from trees and rotting vegetables from vegetable gardens to reduce food sources for rats (this also assists with fly prevention).
- Ensure compost bins are covered with a secure lid or hatch and prevent rodent access.
- Keep pet food dishes clean and only feed pets (including birds) enough food for the day.
- Store pet food, poultry and bird feed in sealed air tight containers.
- Clean out chicken pens, aviaries and other outdoor animal enclosures on a regular basis.
- Set traps in areas of suspected harbourage.
- Block any potential access points/holes around your home, such as around air conditioning services or electrical conduit entries into the roof cavity (please ensure that you do not seal up 'weep-holes' or other ventilation bricks required to remove moisture from your home’s wall cavities).
- Older properties in the Shire may have open eaves; chicken wire is a common method of preventing entry by rodents and other pests.
Alternatively, a licensed pest control operator may assist by completing a pest control treatment.
The Department of Health has further information about keeping mice and rats under control.
Baiting safely and effectively
The major problem with many rodent baits is they cause secondary poisoning to many native animals potentially including native rodents, reptiles, birds and of course our pets. Unfortunately, secondary poisoning has been detected in several species such as lizards, snakes, and and birds of prey.
The Shire recommends the following;
- Use traps rather than baits to control rats and mice without harming wildlife.
- Live traps rather than lethal traps enable release of any unintended wildlife captures.
- Use only the less harmful baits containing the active ingredient coumatetralyl (e.g. Racumin) or warfarin and carefully follow package instructions.
- DO NOT USE ‘second generation anticoagulant rodenticides’ (SGARs) with difenacoum, brodifacoum, bromadiolone or difethialone as active ingredients.
- Take great care with storing and placing baits so that pets and wildlife such as possums in your garden can’t reach them.
For more information, contact the Shire’s Health Services on 9191 3456 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more: Bird-friendly rodent control(PDF, 1MB)
To keep an apiary you must register with the Department of Primary Industries as a Bee Keeper, then notify the Shire of Broome of your registration.
This notification form is used to maintain a record of bee keepers in Broome. By reporting your registration, it helps us to -
- Respond to complaints from the community
- Involve bee keepers in discussions when mosquito fogging is being undertaken
It is a requirement under the Shire of Broome Health Local Law 2006 to notify the Local government of any beekeeping activities. There are no fees charged for this notification.
Application can be completed here Notification for registration as a beekeeper
Updated June 2022