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Email Link   Nuisance Insects

Report an Insect or Vermin problem

To report an insect pests or vermin problem on Council managed land, please use the Report a Problem (external link) service, or alternatively contact Council's Pest Management Program area on (02) 6670 2400. Council does not control insect pests or vermin on private property. If you have a problem with insect pests or vermin please contact a licensed pest controller.

Control of nuisance insects

Tweed Shire Council currently coordinates programs for the control of nuisance mosquitoes, biting midge, and Pandanus Planthopper.

Mosquitoes (Culicidae) and biting midge (Ceratopogonidae), are abundant in this region of Australia. The extensive areas of wet low-land and intertidal areas along the Tweed coastal districts contain many suitable breeding sites for these insects. As a result of the proximity of these low-lands to urban areas, biting insect nuisance is likely to occur seasonally in many areas. Tweed Shire Council has been actively involved in nuisance insect control since 1983.


The Tweed Shire area is home to many species of mosquitoes. As well as being a nuisance, some mosquito species spread human disease-causing pathogens such as Dengue fever, Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses, and Murray Valley encephalitis. They can also be a vector of dog heartworm.

Some mosquito species that are capable of spreading these viruses breed in water-filled containers around your home such as buckets, old tyres, poorly-aligned roof gutters and pot plant holders. Don’t let your home be a haven for disease spreading mosquitoes.

Tackling Mosquitoes Together

Council is undertaking the Tackling Mosquitoes Together project with the aim of implementing a targeted long term mosquito education program, designed to be replicated by councils across the Northern Rivers region during mosquito breeding season. The education program will provide the community with knowledge and tools to prevent mosquitoes breeding in back yards, decreasing the risk of mosquito borne diseases in the Northern Rivers.

Member Councils and Health Northern NSW Local District have partnered with The Social Deck to develop a behaviour change education program designed to prepare the community for future incursions of exotic mosquitoes. Participants from phase 1 of the project will join with newly selected participants form across the northern rivers in the July 2020 design workshop to assist in developing the mosquito behaviour change program.

Available to participating councils in summer 2021, the program could also roll out to Councils across New South Wales who have not previously encountered mosquito borne viruses.

Participating councils include Tweed Regional Council, Ballina Shire Council, Byron Shire Council, Clarence Valley Council, Kyogle Council, Lismore City Council, Richmond Valley Council and Health Northern NSW Local District. Tackling mosquitoes together has been assisted by the New South Wales Government and supported by Local Government NSW.

What is Tweed Shire Council doing to assist in keeping mosquito numbers low?

Tweed Shire Council has been actively involved in mosquito abatement since 1983, and undertakes larvae control programs in selected areas during warmer months. Additionally, Council has a formal agreement with Gold Coast City Council, Logan City and Redland Shire Councils to cooperate in mosquito research and information exchange aimed at reducing mosquito nuisance and disease risks in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

Tweed Shire Council's Plan

The following mosquito related activities are carried out by Tweed Shire Council’s Pest Management Program Area.

  • Monitoring. Council monitors Mosquito species and abundance with CO2 light traps.
  • Habitat reduction: Council has carried out some innovative forms of habitat modification to reduce the breeding potential of mosquitoes in semi-tidal saltmarsh habitat without the use of chemicals.
  • Mosquito larvae control when extensive areas hatch mosquito larvae following heavy rain or higher than usual tides. Larger areas are treated by aircraft, whereas smaller areas are treated with on-ground works. Only Biological larvicides are used. These are:
  • Bacillus theringiensis - Council uses a bacterial larvicide called Bti to spray mosquito breeding areas when warranted. This larvicide is specific to mosquitoes and several other closely related flies. Bti poses no harm to other aquatic non-target organisms.
  • Methoprene – This chemical is an insect growth regulator with sustained release formulations to inhibit mosquito larvae from turning into adult mosquitoes.

For further information see the Mosquito Brochure (930kB PDF)

Biting Midges

What are they?

Also known as ‘sand flies’, biting midges are small flies renowned for their nuisance biting. They tend to occur in areas such as coastal lagoons, estuaries, mangrove swamps and tidal flats. Only the female biting midge feeds blood. She does this to gain the protein she needs to develop her eggs. The ‘itchiness’ from her bite is due to allergens in midge saliva. Most people find the bites uncomfortable and distressing with the irritation leading to scratching and sometimes infected sores.

What can I do at home to stop biting midges?

If you live in a midge-prone area then:

  • Increase air movement around the house by keeping lawns mowed and minimising low, dense vegetation as this reduces insect harbouring areas.
  • Use smaller screen size on windows and doors or treat screens with a synthetic pyrethroid.
  • Apply Synthetic pyrethroid barrier sprays, applied around vegetation and exterior walls may substantially reduce midge adult numbers around treated premises for many weeks.

When you are outside:

  • Wear light long sleeve clothing when outdoors during midge activity periods to minimise exposure to these insects.
  • Personal insect repellents applied as directed usually give several hours protection. Natural insect repellents are available for use by sensitive individuals or young children, and should be used by those working in natural environments or waterways.

What Is Tweed Shire Council doing about biting midge?

Tweed Shire Council has been carrying out research and control work on biting midge since 1981. Including the following activities.

  • Midge monitoring biting midge larval numbers are monitored monthly at set points along canal estate beaches.
  • Biting Midge larvae are controlled with a larvicide during the year, as required, along artificial beaches of the Shire’s canal developments.

Treatments are timed to have the biggest impact on midge adult numbers for the least number of chemical applications.

Date of any schedule larval control activity

No Biting Midge larval control activities are currently scheduled.

For further information see the Biting Midges Brochure (1.42mB PDF).

Pandanus Plant Hopper


One of the north coast’s iconic plants, the coastal Pandanus tree (Pandanus tectorius), is under local threat from Dieback caused by a flatid insect known as the Pandanus planthopper (jamella australiae).

Tweed Shire Councils Pest Managers are implementing and a control and monitoring program to help save Pandanus in the Tweed.

How to recognise Pandanus planthopper induced dieback

  • Even healthy pandanus trees regularly have large amounts of dead leaf around the base of the leaf heads. However, when Pandanus planthoppers build up large populations in trees, the percentage of dead material is increased and leaf material in the centre of the head is likely to be affected.
  • Leaf dieback often begins on the northern (warmer) side of the tree or in trees on the northern edge of tree clumps. Planthoppers and their cast skin casings can usually be seen between leaf sheaths and their egg cases found under leaves of infested trees.
  • Black sooty mould, caused by the insect’s sugary secretions, can usually be seen on the leaves and trunks of badly infested trees.

If you see a Pandanus with symptoms of dieback, contact Tweed Shire Council on (02) 66 702400.

Other ways you can help

  • When planting Pandanus use locally grown stock and inspect plants carefully for any sign of infestation.
  • If disposing of plants or plant parts that are infested, exercise extreme caution to prevent the spread of plant-hoppers to unaffected areas.
  • Any infested plant leaves or parts should be sealed in bags and placed in a bin or mulched and composted.

Frequently Asked Questions

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