The Curse of the Aussie Mossie

Citronella Candle

Since I’m a “pom”, mosquitoes seem to have a natural affinity for my blood and I’m always first on their list when I’m sitting among a group in the back garden on a balmy Sydney evening. We’ve had a fair bit of “balmy” weather lately (or “barmy” weather according to its affect on my state of mind!).  Coupled with unusually heavy rainfall this has apparently set prime conditions for unusually high levels of mosquito breeding. I’ve heard it mentioned on the radio and in the local paper during the last couple of days that we are due an explosion of mossies in about three or four days time, when the two week incubation period of the larvae comes to an end.

Of course mossies are an every day part of summer living in Sydney (and all year round elsewhere) so most Sydney Siders wouldn’t blink an eyelid. However, the entomology department at Westmead Hospital (thats the boffins who study insects and insect borne disease) think otherwise. They have been keeping an eye on things over the past twelve months and last summer did detect the presence of Ross River Virus in mossies they trapped in the St George area of Sydney.  The virus has not been detected yet this year and it typically doesnt make it this far south. But it can’t hurt to be a bit prepared, especially if you are heading out after dark, like we will be next weekend when we head to Wollemi National Park to go camping.

We’re all familiar with methods to keep mossies away but here’s a summary of the advice from NSW Health on the topic:

  • Avoid being outside in late afternoon or dusk (tricky one if you’re camping!)
  • Use a repellent every few hours
  • When applying to children avoid the eyes and mouth areas. Some repellents are also not suitable for prolonged use on children (so I am on the look out for one that is chemical free, particularly for children under two).
  • Light mosquito coils (we also use citronella candles)
  • Cover up as much as possible
  • Use mosquito nets and fly screens (especially when camping)
  • Use insect sprays in bedrooms (we used a plant based one)

Here’s a link to the NSW Health fact sheet

http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/pubs/2004/pdf/mosquitohazard.pdf

Here’s the link to the Westmead Entomology Department (if you’re interested the science and more info on mosquito borne disease):

http://medent.usyd.edu.au/

If anyone knows of a good repellent for children, let me know. Just to be on the safe side I’ll also be cooking with lots of garlic!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

5 Responses

Write a Comment»
  1. The balmy weather not only brings out the mossies but it is also responsible for the curse of the frizzy hair.

    1. This is true Di. Doesnt have that effect on me but Tessa’s hair is a barometer. When its humid she turns into a big blonde fluffball!

  2. Pyrethrum is completely natural and comes from the namesake herb type plant, planting these around the BBQ or outdoor setting can be effective. There are also a few others, with good insect repelling qualities such Thyme.

    Pyrethrum is being used more and more in commercial applications so i would expect to be able to find something child friendly on the market soon if not already…

    1. Where can I get a Pyrethrum plant?! I know this is the active ingredient in the fly spray we use indoors. Today my pharmacist recommebded Moov insect repellent for kids (over 12 months). The natural ingredient in this is melaleuca oil. The cancer council do a sunscreen and repellent in one but the pharmacist said it was too strong for kids under 5. So just goes to shows it worth chatting to your pharmacist as he knows all about the ingredients.

  3. i’m pretty sure you can grab one from a good garden centre in the herb section… (im sure ive seen them in my local one) otherwise you can probably buy seeds online. I think its fairly easy to grow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *