Mosquito management

There are almost 100 species of mosquitoes in Western Australia. Many of these are serious pests and/or transmit disease-causing viruses or parasites.

Mosquito management is only necessary if people and mosquitoes come into contact, either in residential or recreational areas that are within dispersal range of mosquito breeding habitats.

The overall aim of mosquito management is to reduce the pest or vector (disease carrying) mosquitoes to a level where the impact on the adjacent human population is kept to an acceptable low level.

Where do mosquitoes breed?

Different mosquito species have different breeding habitat requirements. They can breed in fresh, brackish and saline water conditions.

Mosquitoes lay and develop in standing water, in both natural and/or man-made water bodies such as:

  • lakes 
  • pools
  • swamps
  • ground pools
  • irrigation ditches
  • tree holes
  • leaf axils (crevice formed between stem of plant and leaf)

In urban environments, especially in backyards, mosquitos breed in range of water-holding containers such as:

  • pot plant drip trays
  • septic and water tanks
  • roof gutters
  • ponds
  • disused containers 
  • poorly maintained swimming pools
  • dog water bowls
  • disused car tyres

The removal or maintenance of these sites can permanently reduce mosquito numbers in backyard situations.

How is mosquito management done?

Strategies and procedures for mosquito management will vary depending on the:

  • situation, nature and extent of the problem
  • environmental constraints
  • budget available for control operations.

Approaches to mosquito management include:

  • direct methods including:
    • physical control – such as source reduction by filling, draining or removing breeding sites
    • biological control – such as the introduction of aquatic predators (eg fish) to reduce mosquito larvae
    • chemical control – such as the application of insecticides (adulticides or larvicides)
    • cultural control – such as planning outdoor activities to avoid mosquito activity times and building screened outdoor living areas.
  • indirect methods include:
    • appropriate land use planning and provision of buffers between mosquito breeding sites and housing
    • appropriate design of constructed water bodies
    • appropriate wetland design.

Effective mosquito management must:

  • be based on an integrated approach that combines various methods (chemical, physical, cultural and biological)
  • minimise the interaction between mosquitoes and the public
  • minimise the risk of mosquito-borne disease
  • be environmentally and economically sustainable.

Some mosquito species can disperse many kilometres from breeding sites. Appropriate land use planning is therefore crucial to achieve adequate buffers between wetlands and residential and recreational land use.

Man-made water bodies must be designed and managed to discourage mosquito breeding. This should include reduced emergent vegetation, hard edges and water movement.

Chemical control of mosquitoes by the application of pesticides must be conducted in accordance with the product label. Correct choice in chemical is required for each situation and chemicals should only be applied at the correct rate.

Environmental approval may be required if mosquito management actions are to be undertaken in conservation areas.

Most local governments are involved in mosquito management on public land, but individuals have responsibility for management on their own property and for protecting themselves and their families from mosquito bites.

Some local governments have joined together to form Contiguous Local Authority Groups (CLAGs). CLAGs enhance mosquito management in the local region and enable resource sharing and collaboration.

Resources

Mosquito Management Plan template

  • A template has been prepared to assist local governments to prepare a Mosquito Management Plan. Both Parts A and B should be used together. 
  • This document includes template headings and a brief description of the information that should be included under each heading. 
  • Specific case study examples detailing the type of information that may be included can be found in “Part B: Case Study Examples”.
  • These documents are intended to be used as a guide only, with template headings and sequence altered according to the priorities of the local government. Sections may also be removed if they are not required by the local government. 

Risk assessment guides

More information

Medical Entomology
Postal address: PO BOX 8172, Perth Business Centre, WA 6849
Street Address: 1A, Brockway Road, Claremont, WA 6010
Phone: (08) 9285 5500
Email: medical.entomology@health.wa.gov.au 

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Public Health