The Peel Harvey Estuary contains many diverse habitats and is a popular recreational area for visitors and residents. However, the salt marshes provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, often located in close proximity to residential areas.
Mosquitoes can be a nuisance to people in the area, but some species are also vectors for mosquito borne diseases such as Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus. These illnesses may have a serious impact on the health of those that contract them.
The Shire of Murray is a member of the Peel Mosquito Management Group, whose main focus is the reduction of salt marsh mosquitoes in the Peel region. The mosquito management program aims to minimize breeding of mosquitoes to help protect the health of people in the area.
There are approximately 600 hectares of salt marsh habitat around the Peel Harvey estuary, in which mosquitoes may lay eggs. Inundation of the salt marshes following rain or high tides triggers extensive numbers of larvae to hatch.
The Shire’s Mosquito Control Officer routinely assesses larvae densities, which regularly exceed 1000 larvae/m2, so that aerial larviciding treatments are timed to have the greatest impact on the mosquito numbers. However, it must be recognized that total eradication of mosquitoes in the Peel region is not possible.
What you can do to reduce the risk of being bitten:
People who reside in or visit the Peel region can also take measures to protect themselves such as avoiding being outdoors during increased mosquito activity, such as at dawn and dusk.
- Wear loose fitting clothing
- Wear clothing that is light coloured
- Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET
To reduce the numbers of mosquitoes around the home:
- Ensure there are no potential breeding sources
- Ensure fly screens are maintained
There are a number of products which may be applied to surfaces around your home to assist with mosquito control. For further information, please contact your local pest control company or hardware store.
For further information on mosquito management, click on the links below to the Peel Mosquito Management Group video and the Department of Health’s website.