Brisbane mosquito and midge infestation due to hot weather

Year-round wet weather and a recent rise in temperatures means mosquitoes and midgies are out in force in the South East as area councils join forces on an ambitious spraying programme.

Brian Johnson, senior research fellow at QIMR’s Berghofer Mosquito Control Laboratory, said the explosion in the irritating and sometimes painful insects comes down “mostly to water and heat.”

“We’ve had a lot of moisture recently and we’ve finally had some warm days in the last two weeks and it only takes a week or two for the insects to respond to that,” Dr Johnson said.

“Our current control measures target mosquitoes in their larval habitat and are the most effective means of mosquito control.

“Now there are more efforts to control freshwater mosquitoes.

“A lot of micro-habitats are created in these wet conditions, so it’s very difficult to target all areas, and there will be some areas that may escape.”

Queensland Museum entomologist Chris Burwell agreed that insects and other animals had “three fantastic years”.

“Not in terms of flooding, but … a lot of rain means a lot of plants and insects,” Dr Burwell said.

“Rain is just a sign that good conditions are coming.

Traditional repellents such as Bushman or Aerogard were just as effective as natural repellents such as citronella and eucalyptus oil, says Dr Johnson.(Supply: QIMR Berghofer)

“Typically the winter months are colder and not good for insects because they can’t generate their own heat.

“Winter months are generally drier.

“Spring rains signal plant growth and warmer temperatures.”

The task force is targeting the mosquito problem

Brisbane City Council staff began targeting thousands of mozzie breeding sites last week in a bid to prevent a major outbreak after the latest bout of wet weather.


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