Mosquito management programs
Eliminate Dengue Townsville
Eliminate Dengue Townsville was part of an international research collaboration developing a natural and safe method to reduce the ability of mosquitoes to pass dengue between people. Townsville was the location of Eliminate Dengue’s first city-wide field trial, which began in October 2014 with community support and government approval. Community releases of mosquitoes with Wolbachia have now been completed thanks to the assistance of thousands of local residents and businesses. Monitoring activities were being carried out with the overall expectation to see Wolbachia sustained at high levels in the local mosquito population.
Mosquito numbers across the Townsville region fluctuate from time to time and the effects from this are generally most noticeable along the coastal areas, however areas up to 15 km inland can experience the impacts of adult mosquitoes due to the dispersal range of the certain mosquito species.
Increased mosquito abundance is seasonal, with peak periods generally between November and May. This coincides with rain events or increased tidal events that flood the upper saltmarsh areas.
Council’s mosquito management program targets the juvenile or larval stage of the mosquito where its development occurs in the ‘ponded’ water. Surveillance is carried out by specifically targeting known mosquito breeding areas and, where necessary, treating those sites by ground operations and undertaking broad scale aerial operations. The areas along the coastline between Balgal Beach and Cungulla are the main areas affected, however there are some smaller sites on Magnetic Island. In general, once the mosquito emerges into its mature or adult stage, it is able to disperse widely in to the community.
Council does not target the adult mosquito stage and will not undertake any adulticiding commonly known as ‘fogging’. This practice does not provide effective control, it is not environmentally sensitive, and it can trigger allergies in humans. Adulticiding is also resource and cost prohibitive and must be performed regularly and repeatedly at dawn and dusk to provide any real control against adult mosquitoes.
Council’s advice to the community to reduce any adult mosquito impacts is to apply self-protection measures such as:
- applying personal repellent
- wearing loose, light-coloured clothing
- where possible, avoiding being outside during peak biting times, which are usually dawn and dusk
- minimising time spent in well-shaded, cool places when mosquitoes are most active
- screening the windows on your house
- using air conditioners.
The community is also encouraged to participate in mosquito control on their property by removing any potential breeding sites (e.g. artificial, water-filled containers).
Read more at www.eliminatedengue.com
For more information, please contact the Environmental Health and Regulatory Services Team on 13 48 10.