A new, innovative way to identify mosquito species is helping Bundaberg Regional Council manage the pesky insects and the diseases they may carry.
Council’s Environmental Health Services team has recently purchased a Dino-Lite Edge digital handheld microscope for the identification of the different mosquito species in the region.
The new equipment features 220 magnification and advanced image photography direct to a computer, allowing for a clear and precise view of each insect.
Health, Compliance and Enforcement portfolio spokesperson Cr May Mitchell said the small microscope, which only weighed in at 100 grams, was doing big things for mosquito management in the region.
“The camera can be connected to a desktop computer or laptop and real live 3D-like images of the mosquitoes can be captured in full depth and clarity,” she said.
“This makes identification of the species much easier than conventional binocular microscopes.
“The unit can also be taken into the field for quick analysis of mosquito species.”
Council's mosquito microscope integral in identification
Cr Mitchell said identifying the species of mosquitoes was crucial in determining the likely breeding habitats and best treatment processes.
“Not only does the microscope help us identify the different species of mosquito, like Aedes aegypti which is the notorious carrier of Dengue, this then helps us determine the habitats and breeding grounds each species likes so we can apply the most effective treatment,” she said.
For breeding grounds in hard-to-reach places like gutters, Cr Mitchell said Council officers were utilising specialised telescopic camera equipment to allow for ease of access.
“Officers can now reach breeding sites two storeys high without a ladder by using the 1080 Search Camera System,” she said.
“The system has a five-metre telescopic pole with a digital camera and HD colour screen and is used to assist with the identification of mosquito breeding in roof gutters and on top of difficult-to-reach highset water tanks.
How you can keep mosquitoes at bay in the home
While officers routinely spray and trap mosquitoes on some Council land in the region, there are also things you can do around your own home to keep the pesky biters away.
The most common backyard mosquito breeding habitats include damaged or unscreened water tanks, gutters and septic systems, unmaintained spa baths and pools, bromeliads and anything else that can hold water for more than a week.
By actively removing any ponding water and ensuring that water tanks are screened, gutters drained properly and septic systems maintained, mosquito breeding will be reduced.
Over the past few seasons Council has undertaken treatment in Moore Park which has consisted of a barrier treatment spray onto foliage on council owned land near effected residents.
It works by killing mosquitos on direct contact and then by drying on the foliage and repelling them for weeks.
This year Council intends to conduct barrier treatment but will also be implementing a program to treat the lagoon area with a growth regulator which prevents the larvae of mosquitoes from becoming adults.
Council is hoping to encourage all landholders in the area to treat their properties at the same time as the council treatment each year, however, further research and consultation is needed to find out if coordinated treatment is a viable option for controlling mosquitoes long term.
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