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 largeÂ 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 mozzieâ€™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 â€˜proboscisâ€™
- 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 â€˜wrigglersâ€™) 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
Itâ€™s important to note that mozzies donâ€™t actually inject anything when they bite and that the symptoms you may experience are the immune systemâ€™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.