The aggressive saltmarsh mosquito has been targeted from the air and on ground as Brisbane City Council experts worked non-stop throughout the busiest mozzie spraying season in 15 years.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said Council’s two expert entomologists had guided the team through one of its busiest years of mosquito treatments with weather patterns, including higher rainfall in February, leading to higher tides and more mosquito larvae.
In the past financial year Council covered more than 27,151 hectares of land with 18 treatments to stop saltmarsh mosquitoes. This compares to the usual average of about 20,000 hectares and 14 treatments per season.
“The reality is Brisbane was built on a flood plain and we have a subtropical climate so having to control mosquitoes is a fact of life,” Cr Schrinner said.
“We can’t control the weather, but we can control our response to mosquitoes. We have well and truly ensured we have done everything we can to annihilate those pesky and aggressive mosquitoes.
“We are using helicopters, trucks, quad bikes and people on foot to cover every bit of land to stop mosquito larvae hatching.
“Preventing mosquitoes is first and foremost based on science and that is why we use medical entomologists to drive our treatment programs.
“We are the only local government in Australia to employ expert entomologists. When they say to spray, we spray.
“This past financial year their expert advice prompted a 35 per cent increase in hectares sprayed and an almost 30 per cent increase in sprays. We have an unlimited budget and resources to manage mosquitoes.
“Residents should have confidence in our ability to adapt to changing conditions. We are focused on destroying the mosquitoes before they hatch and travel from the mangroves to our residential and recreation spaces.”
Council’s Medical Entomologist Dr Martin Shivas said 2020 was a big year with record-breaking rain and lots of big tides.
“There were more hatch events because of these factors, as on one of the king tides we also had more than 100 millimetres of rain,” Dr Shivas said.
“We also treated more hatch events and borderline hatch events than usual because we want to keep on top of mosquitoes.”
Cr Schrinner said the Bureau of Meteorology has predicted the remainder of August and October to be wetter than average.
“We are at the ready to get people on the ground, and in the air, at a moment’s notice to spray,” he said.
“We are also prepared for freshwater mosquitoes which tend to be a problem in wet summers and are treated by teams on the ground in trucks and quad bikes. There are more than 2500 known freshwater breeding sites across Brisbane and we monitor them every week and after rainfall.”
It is important residents also take steps to protect themselves and their homes from mosquitoes.
Residents are encouraged to keep yards empty of any water-holding containers such as buckets, pot plants, saucers and bird baths. You should also make sure windows, and all openings on rainwater tanks, are screened; and ensure roof gutters are not blocked with leaves.