For the comfort and safety of the community, the City of Karratha maintains a comprehensive mosquito monitoring and control program across the region to reduce the risk of mosquito borne viruses to residents and visitors.
The Department of Health notifies the City on infectious diseases, including mosquito borne viruses, and patients are contacted to assist in identifying mosquito breeding sites. While it’s not possible to eliminate mosquitos from the region, the City undertakes a variety of measures to safely and effectively control mosquitos.
What does the City do to manage mosquitos?
Eliminating mosquitoes entirely is not desirable as they have a role in plant pollination and as food for other animals, but the City does work to control mosquito populations. The controls include:
Cultural controls, including educating the community about strategies to reduce mosquito bites, such as covering with loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing, repelling biting insects with repellents containing DEET or Picaridin and cleaning up sources of standing water around the home.
Chemical controls targeting mosquito larvae and adults, including a growth inhibitor which dissolves in water and prevents larvae from maturing to adults and a surface treatment which kills larvae by suffocation. For adult treatments, surface sprays and fogging are the main approaches.
Physical controls, including modifying drainage systems or channelling in wetlands to improve drainage and alter water flow to interrupt the breeding cycle of mosquitoes
It’s common to see increased mosquito activity after heavy rain, including cyclones, and the inundation of tidal flats and mangroves is a contributing factor to increasing mosquito breeding. The City reviews prevailing weather conditions when choosing which control measure to adopt.
Some treatments, such as fogging, are only appropriate during disease outbreak or following a major climatic event, as this treatment may impact the broader environment.
The City maintains a flock of sentinel chickens that are used to monitor Murray Valley Encephalitis and Kunjin prevalence in the area.
Visit the Department of Health website for information on mosquito borne viruses.
How can I protect myself and stop mosquitoes breeding around my home?
There are a range of things you can do to reduced your risk from mosquitos, including:
- covering up by wearing light coloured long sleeve shirts and long pants that are loose fitting
- applying personal insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin if possible
- reducing outdoor activities at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are more active
- ensuring fly screens to doors and windows are fitted and maintained
- using spatial repellents, such as pyrethroid containing coils
- checking your property for potential breeding sources, such as standing water
- emptying pot plant bases weekly, or filling the base with sand to absorb water
- washing out weekly any plants that can hold water such as bromeliads
- ensuring rainwater tank overflow pipes are screened and access covers are fitted securely
- keeping swimming pools maintained
- ensuring plumbing and vents to septic tanks are screened
- washing out birdbaths, ornamental pools and pet drinking bowls weekly
What does the City do to manage biting midges?
Midges are smaller than mosquitoes, though they are similar in appearance and their bites can be mistaken for mosquito bites.
While the midge bite can be irritating and has the potential to become infected in susceptible individuals, midges are not known to spread disease. For this reason, midges are not included in the City's mosquito management program.
Visit the Department of Health website for more information on biting midges.