Ozzie vs Mozzie – Are there actually more mozzies this summer?

We have discussed the impact of rain and flood have had on mosquitoes this year. We, city residents, may think it’s a problem for those who reside in flood-prone areas of the country only. 

Interesting research into this topic has shown that there has been a boom in mozzie population this season. Researchers from University of Melbourne’s Pest and Environmental Adaptation Research Group have discussed what could be happening in an article published in the Pursuit.

Booming mozzies not just a Victoria problem 

They stated “​​As part of our research, we carry out surveillance around our laboratory space and offices to check for mosquitoes that might contaminate our research colonies and have recorded far more this year.

“As our team does a lot of work out on the field around regional and rural Victoria, it’s something we’ve noticed in our field sites as well.

“But it’s not just Victoria where we’re seeing more mozzies – New South Wales is seeing explosive mosquito population increases, and local experts are anticipating it is far from over.”

The average number of mosquitoes per trap site per week by local government area
Week ending Oct 9 vs Week ending Nov 6

Info source: Department of Health, Victoria
Image source

Why is this happening?

According to University of Melbourne researchers, heavy rains in southeast Australia have played a big role. The most important factor that influences mosquito breeding is stagnant water. They require it to complete their lifecycle. Some species need very small containers like old tyres, gutters, discarded plastic containers, tree holes. Other species thrive in larger water bodies like water tanks or ponds.

Some breeding sites can be harder to find – places that can be harder to access like under houses, in garages, and in the bits and pieces of junk many of us let build up around the backyard.

Most mosquito species breed rapidly in warmer conditions, so the combination of heavy rains and higher temperatures provides mozzies with the ideal conditions for their populations to boom.

Be aware of hazards 

“Mosquitoes carry viruses such as Japanese encephalitis, which can result in severe disease and death, and the Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses, which cause fever and rashes. There is also evidence mosquitoes play a part in spreading the flesh-eating Buruli ulcer, which is increasing in prevalence.” stated an article in The Age.

There have been 13 cases of Japanese encephalitis in Victoria so far this year, with no cases recorded last year, and 266 cases of the Buruli ulcer this year compared with 227 at the same time last year, according to the Health Department.

What can we do?

The most effective strategy is to avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when they are most active. Wear a loose-fitting long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and covered shoes when outdoors. 

At Heathershaw’s, we stock Parakito and Mozzie Gear’s mosquito wristbands and clips. They come with two refill pellets that are formulated with their proprietary essential oil formula. As the essential oils’ active ingredients are released into the air, they help to mask the human scents that would otherwise attract loitering mosquitoes. Each refill provides constant protection up to 15 days. 

Please keep in mind that the rains may subside and the floods may pass quickly but the water logging is going to persist. This means more stagnant pools of water. Getting rid of as many as possible will mean you’re doing your part in keeping the mozzie population down.

Opinions or facts expressed within the content have been sourced from various news sources. While every effort has been taken to source them accurately, the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates do not take any responsibility for errors in these sources. Patients should not rely on the facts or opinions in the content to manage their own health, and should seek the advice of an appropriate medical professional. Further, the opinions or facts in the content do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates.

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