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While Murray is fortunate to border a large area of the Peel Harvey Estuary, its salt marshes provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. This creates significant risk for residents, especially those living in residential areas in close proximity to the estuary.
Besides being a nuisance, mosquitoes found in Murray can transmit:
Ross River Virus has been detected in mosquitos in North Yunderup.
As we head into peak mosquito season, considering recent rainfall, increased tidal activity and rising temperatures, mosquito numbers are likely to remain high with the virus active in the environment.
It is important that residents and visitors take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Tides that flood saltmarshes lead to mosquito eggs hatching.
Tides in the Peel Harvey Estuary can rise unexpectedly due to low pressure systems, northerly winds and local climatic events.
As a guide when tides in the Peel Region reach 0.76m, hatching of mosquito eggs is likely to be initiated on most breeding sites.
Our mosquito control officer monitors breeding sites to assess the extent and location of mosquito breeding and determine when to conduct treatments.
We time our treatments so that they have the greatest impact on the mosquito numbers.
Larviciding is the main method of mosquito reduction in the Peel Region. This technique targets the mosquito larvae before they emerge as adults and is the most effective control method to reduce adult populations.
As large areas (up to 600hectares of saltmarsh) need to be treated the larvicides must be applied by helicopter.
The two main products used are sand based S - methoprene and a liquid product called Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis).
These are the most environmentally appropriate products available and pose very low toxicity to non-target organisms and public health.
Whilst the vast majority of larvicide treatments are effective in reducing mosquito populations, the limitations of the larvicides and environmental conditions do not permit total eradication. This is why even after successful treatments there will always be residual mosquito activity.
Larviciding treatments are not always effective due to environmental conditions and it is important that you take personal protective measures.
There is no cure or vaccine to protect against mosquito-borne diseases acquired in Australia. The only way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten.
The worst months for Murray (and the wider South West region) are spring and summer, September to March.
Mosquitoes breed all year round however, so it is important that we stay vigilant.
Mosquitoes are a part of life in the Peel Region.Without the programs operation, mosquito borne disease and mosquito populations in our region would be significantly higher.
Given that mosquitoes don’t recognise local government boundaries, we are working to cooperatively achieve effective and sustainable mosquito management.