Post-rain mosquito reduction underway in Broome
Published on 11 January 2023
Following heavy rainfall, such as what the Broome experienced in early January, we expect to see increased mosquito activity that brings a heightened the risk of exposure to mosquito borne disease.
What is the Shire of Broome doing to reduce mosquito numbers?
The Shire utilises integrated pest management principles to respond to mosquitoes, which includes surveillance (larvae and adults), a sentinel chicken bleeding program, community education, larviciding and, in certain circumstances, adulticiding.
After the recent rains ended, the Shire's Environmental Health Officers began monitoring standing bodies of water around the town for any mosquito larvae and treating were required. Where water cannot be removed form a site, application of larvicide is an effective way to control mosquito larvae.
So far, we have seen very limited mosquito breeding in drains, basins and flood water. This may be due to water levels dropping fast enough to prevent mosquito eggs and larvae from surviving, along with high temperatures.
Additionally, the prevailing conditions, which include westerly winds and hot sunny days, may further limit mosquito breeding around Broome townsite.
Mosquito trapping will be undertaken in the coming days to better identify possible breeding sites and the risk to public health.
Blood samples are taken from our sentinel chicken flock on a fortnightly basis during the wet season. The chickens are an early warning system for increase presence the mosquito borne diseases, such as West Nile Virus Kunjin Strain, Murray Valley Encephalitis and Japanese Encephalitis.
How to prevent and protect yourself from mosquito bites
Currently, the biggest risk for mosquito breeding is from private property, where there may be sheltered containers of water that provide a haven for breeding, dense vegetation for adult mosquitos to hide in, and a food source (you!).
Clean up: Remove anything that may hold water which mosquitos breed in. It may be as small as a pot plant base, pet water bowl, disused tyres or palm fronds. Anything that can hold water for longer than three days can become a breeding site for mosquitos. If there are sites you are concerned about, please report them to the Shire.
Cover up: Wear long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing. Mosquitos can still bite through tight fitting clothing such as leggings.
Repel: Use a DEET or picaridin based repellent as per the instructions. Citronella and other natural based repellents are not recommended as there is no evidence they can prevent mosquito borne disease. Patches, wristbands and other similar products are not recommended either.
You can also apply residual pesticides around your property to reduce the risk of exposure at home.