An unseasonably high number of mosquitoes have been observed across south-east Australia recently preparing us for a bad mozzie season ahead. These annoying mozzies have been swarming into suburban backyards and particularly around any large bodies of water. If there is a lot of food source around, the mozzie population is deemed to explode.
Host-finding relies greatly on the detection of moisture, warmth and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A mozzie’s idea of a delicious human includes but is not limited to those with Type O blood, heavy breathers, those with a lot of skin bacteria and body heat.
What do mozzies look like?
- Adult mozzies are usually 3-6mm long
- Slender, long-legged, narrow-winged
- Piercing and sucking mouthparts, called a ‘proboscis’
- Segmented antennae to detect host odours and contain auditory receptors
How to identify signs of mozzies
Some signs that can help you identify a mozzie:
- They often make an all-too-familiar high pitched whine
- An obvious one – bites! Only female mosquitoes bite humans
- Spot them near water sources or walking upside down on ceilings and glass surfaces
- Still standing water is where mozzies breed.
- Female mozzies require a blood meal before egg production.
- Eggs are usually laid on the surface of water.
- Larvae (often called ‘wrigglers’) are aquatic
- Adult females may pierce the skin of a variety of animals in order to suck their blood.
There are certainly a few things that can you do around your business and home to prevent these blood suckers:
- Empty any containers where water could collect and stagnate e.g. tyres, boats and pot plants
- Keep gutters and drains clear so water runs freely
- Change water in pet bowls and bird baths regularly
- Avoid areas with water
- Keep windows closed and fit fly screens
- Natural predators – if you have a garden pond, think about getting some goldfish as they will eat mosquito larvae!
- Tuck your long pants into your socks when hiking through long grass
- Reduce exposed skin by wearing long sleeves, trousers, footwear and hats
- Use a repellent at dusk or daunt when mozzies are the most vicious
- Wear light-coloured loose-fitting clothes
- Get safe, professional targeted treatments to quickly remove mozzies
Treat Mozzie Bites
It’s important to note that mozzies don’t actually inject anything when they bite and that the symptoms you may experience are the immune system’s response to their saliva.
Some treatment advice:
- Clean the wound
- Use a cold compress to reduce swelling (never hold ice directly on the skin)
- Take anti-histamines
- Avoid scratching (as this could lead the bite to becoming infected by bacteria)
- Consult a doctor if swelling or pain is severe or the bite appears infected.