DENGUE FEVER: The aedes aegypti mosquito prefers to feed on humans during the daytime.
DENGUE FEVER: The aedes aegypti mosquito prefers to feed on humans during the daytime.

HOT TIPS: How to make pesky mosquitos buzz off

THIS weekend gives a great opportunity to give your garden a clean-up and more importantly look for any mosquito breeding danger spots.

With this Sunday being Clean Up Australia Day, it is time for the whole family to do their bit to make our region just a little better.

One of the things that can affect a community's image is the build-up of litter along the roads, walkways and other public places.

The other is negative press about a Dengue and Ross River fever outbreak.

This is a problem many northern communities are facing right now.

Both of these problems are linked as the Dengue mosquitoes can breed in disused bottles, containers or even old tyres that hold freshwater.

Last Tuesday morning the mozzies were ferocious in Quay Street.

There were a few different varieties, some that you felt straight away, some that were big enough to hit and some others that targeted your ankles when you sat down.

The bite-and-run mozzies are likely to be the troublemaker, aedes aegypti.

I bet you would not have to look far to find dozens of items this mosquito could breed in.

I know this Sunday I plan to participate in the Clean Up Australia Day and hope to reduce the mozzie numbers by removing those containers that could hold water and I hope everyone else has the time to do the right thing as well.

There are quite a number of sites around Central Queensland where you will be able to participate. A quick look on the Clean Up Australia web site will provide the nearest location in your postcode.

The Clean Up Australia website is www.cleanup.org.au, then just click on the find a site by postcode icon.

It is best for you to supply your own gloves, hat, sunscreen, mozzie spray and plenty of water to drink and wear your waterproof shoes if possible.

Some participants should bring gardening rakes to cope with any broken articles.

Around the home the danger spots include water in saucers or trays under pot plants, self-watering pots, bowls, basins or any other container for holding water, discarded tyres, bird baths, and even some varieties of bromeliads that allow water retention in the leaf arrangements.

Also check the gutters around you home are clean and in good repair to prevent the pooling of water.

In some new housing areas you check the downpipe between the roof and the outlets as many of these stormwater pipes contain water.

This problem was eliminated with the introduction of compulsory rainwater tanks last year.

Here are some suggestions to help eliminate the potential mosquito problems in your gardens.

By using fine pea gravel in the saucers under the plants the pot will still drain well, but no freestanding water will remain.

Bird baths should be scrubbed regularly, as by simply tipping the water out of them, larvae and eggs can still be left in the film of water.

Old tyres, bowls, tin cans etc are best being disposed of at the local dump.

However, if you wan to retain them, the best solution is to put holes in them to allow the water to drain. Boats, dinghies or the like should have drain plugs removed to avoid holding water.

Treat bromeliads with a few drops of pyrethrum insecticide as this will kill any mosquito living in them.

It should be noted that fishponds stocked with fish and chlorinated swimming pools pose no threat.

If you allow the breeding spot to go unchecked you risk the mozzies transmitting the viral diseases like Dengue and Ross River fever.

WHO IS THE DENGUE MOZZIE

The mosquito that can carry Dengue Fever, aedes aegypti, is most frequently found in or near buildings and prefers to feed on humans during the daytime.

It has two peak periods of biting activity - in the morning for several hours after daybreak and in the late afternoon for several hours before dark.

This mosquito is small and dark coloured with white banding on its body. It is always the mosquito that is hardest to catch, as it seems to move very quickly, darting back and forth.

Its bite is often relatively painless, so you may not notice that you have being bitten or you may think you have being bitten by sandflies.

An effective way to kill adult mosquitoes is to apply a household residual insecticide spray on to the areas where they prefer to rest.

Places to apply household residual insecticide spray like a cockroach surface spray would be dark areas inside and under houses.

Dark items like clothing, furniture or under beds, tables and chairs are likely places to find this mosquito.

The aedes aegypti was accidentally introduced into Australia during the 1870s gold rush in northern Australia. It has since spread out to colonise the northern half of Australia.

GENERAL MOZZIE FACTS

Female mosquitoes can lay up to 200 eggs at a time, which can last more than five years.

While most remain within a short distance of their breeding grounds, mosquitoes can travel large distances to other areas depending on weather conditions.

Mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycle.

Worldwide, mosquito-borne diseases kill more people than any other single factor.

Mosquitoes shelter in grass or other vegetation during the heat of the day.

The worst time for mosquitoes is at dawn or dusk.

One old wives tale is that trees, shrubs and even grass offer a haven for mosquito breeding, but this is not true.

Adult mosquitoes will seek shelter in the vegetation, but will not breed there.

MOSQUITO REPELLENT

First roast garlic in the microwave, squeezing the pulp out then mixing it in the blender with a little oil.

Then add half a cup of water and some food colouring. Put the mixture in the fertiliser dispenser that attaches to a hose connection.

Then spray it all over the grass, vegetation and everything else in the affected area.

It lasts for about two weeks or until it rains.

Note: Mixing garlic powder with water works just as well and is less trouble.

Note: The food colouring is used so you know when the mixture has dispensed.

• Note neither The Morning Bulletin nor Neil Fisher takes any responsibility for any part in the mixture or application of this remedy


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