Join us in tackling mozzies together - and you might win an ipad

Councils collaborate to stop spread of exotic mosquitoes and disease

Thursday 22 February, 2018

How many mozzies could be breeding in your backyard, courtyard or balcony?

A new online survey launched today is asking Northern Rivers residents to become 'citizen scientists' by counting the number of water-holding containers in their backyards to provide valuable information on breeding habitat in our region.

An inspection of 300 backyards in Pottsville and Tweed Heads West in December last year found at least 94 per cent  of properties had a least one water-holding container.

Tweed Shire Council Environmental Health Officer Kelly Piazza said habitat inspections revealed that there are abundant opportunities container-inhabiting mosquitoes in the region.

"Pot plants, buckets and bromeliads were the top three actual and potential container-inhabiting mosquito habitats," Ms Piazza said.

"Even an upturned soft drink bottle lid can contain enough water for mosquitoes to breed - mosquitoes that could be carrying serious diseases."

Dr Cameron Webb from NSW Health Pathology and University of Sydney spent today inspecting local backyards and setting up mosquito traps as part of the project.

"The important thing about this project is building capacity among the local authorities to be able to better respond to increased mosquito risk and at the same time educate the community to be mindful that it's not just mosquitoes in the nearby swamps that are the problem, it's the ones in suburbs and backyards as well," Dr Webb said.

"Everyone can play a part by looking around their backyards and being aware of where mosquitoes might be breeding and take the opportunity to tip them out, cover them up or throw them out."

The data collected through the project will help local government to plan for and prevent the establishment of exotic invasive mosquitoes in the future and the development of Northern Rivers Mosquito Control Plan for the region.

The plan is as part of a $58,400 Building Resilience to Climate Change grant received by Tweed Shire Council from the NSW Government and supported by Local Government NSW. Participating councils include Tweed, Ballina, Byron, Lismore, Kyogle, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley, along with the North Coast Public Health Unit and NSW Health.

The Northern Rivers region has been identified as a high risk location where the threat of exotic mosquito incursion is elevated due to our proximity to Queensland. While there are no Dengue mosquitoes in NSW yet, there is potential they could arrive as adults, larvae or eggs from overseas or far north Queensland, where they spread Dengue and other serious diseases.

If you live in the Northern Rivers, complete the quick survey online and you could win an iPad valued at $425. Check it out at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/tacklingmozzies as well as the information on http://www.yoursaytweed.com.au/tackling-mosquitoes-together.  The survey closes on 23 March 2018.