Mosquitoes and biting midges are a common problem along the Sunshine Coast during the warmer months of the year. They are not only nuisances and give painful bites, but mosquitoes are also notorious for spreading dangerous diseases. As the populations increase along with the temperatures, here are some things you need to know to protect yourself from these pests.
The peak breeding season for mosquitoes is September through May. The numbers increase during rainy weather or in particularly wet years. Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest animals on earth because so many people are affected by diseases that they spread. Malaria, dengue, kokobera, Australian encephalitis, and Barmah Forest virus are only a few of the diseases that affect our area. The most prevalent mosquito-borne illness in Queensland is Ross River virus (RRv), making up nearly 90% of all mosquito-related notifications received.
Both mosquitoes and biting midges are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. They are also mostly found around salt marshes and standing freshwater, which is needed for breeding. Government agencies take an active role in mosquito abatement efforts by doing surveillance, larval treatments, and aerial and ground applications, but more control measures are needed.
Biting midges, often called sandflies, are small biting flies about the size of the head of a pin (1-3 mm). They are very common along the Sunshine Coast and cause frustration for many residents. Like mosquitoes, biting midges depend upon moisture and standing water to complete their life cycle. They are particularly prevalent near mangroves and intertidal zones (canals, estuaries, and rivers). High humidity and high temperatures lead to increased activity and decreased development times, so populations can really spike during the summer.
Like mosquitoes, the female sandfly requires a blood meal in order to fertilise her eggs. Unlike mosquitoes, biting midges in Australia are not known to transmit any disease-causing pathogens to humans. However, bites can cause intense itching that may lead to weeping blisters or secondary infections. Locals tend to build up an immunity to the midge bites, so the hardest hit are often tourists and new residents. Control of biting midges is tricky because there is currently no approved chemical treatment for the larvae. This makes personal prevention methods extremely important.
Mosquito and Biting Midge Prevention Tips
- Use repellent with Deet on exposed skin
- Wear long sleeves and trousers during prime midge times
- Wear light colors
- Avoid being outside at dawn and dusk
- Use electric fans to increase air movement
- Keep lawns and vegetation well manicured
- Get rid of standing water
- Wear hats and gloves when gardening
- Keep swimming pools clean and use chlorine
- Change pet water bowls frequently
- Stock personal ponds with insect eating fish
- Don’t water your lawn in the late afternoon or early morning
Pest Control Options
Although mosquitoes and biting midges are difficult to control, there are many options available. Insecticide applications for adult midges have been shown to be effective. These can only be done by a licensed pest management technician and will likely need regular re-application. Spraying residual insecticides on flyscreens has also been shown to be effective in keeping mosquitoes and biting midges away from homes. Lastly, barrier treatments around homes and on fences is a great option for preventing these and numerous other kinds of insects. Radar Pest Control can help with mosquito and biting midge problems. We are your Sunshine Coast pest control specialists. Contact us today for more information.