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MANAGING THE MOSQUITO MENACE

Pest managers have a vital role to play in the country’s wider efforts to control dangerous mosquito species. 

Did you know that homeowners in Queensland could be fined if they have active mosquito breeding sites around their home?

The Queensland Public Health Regulation 2005 sets out a number of legal responsibilities for the management of health risks posed by mosquitoes. The purpose of the legislation is to control mosquitoes, such as the Aedes aegypti (the dengue-carrying mosquito), found in north Queensland, and prevent and control the public health risks in relation to the pest. For homeowners, one of the key actions is to eliminate potential sites where mosquitoes can lay eggs.

Aedes aegypti is a container breeding mosquito that thrives in small, stagnant water bodies around homes — they like to live in close proximity to humans, their next meal! So eliminating such sites can have a big impact on mosquito numbers.

Whilst there are strict mosquito management laws in Queensland as a result of the heightened issues around mosquito-borne diseases, the same precautions and preventative steps hold true wherever you are in Australia, as many diseases, such as Ross Rover fever, are found countrywide.

With mosquitoes coming into prime breeding season and spring rains spurring their breeding activity, now is the perfect time for pest managers to get in contact with their customers and implement an effective mosquito treatment plan.

A treatment targeting adult mosquito resting places is a key part of the program. Outside you should target under the house and deck, under the furniture and underneath the leaves of broad-leaved plants. Inside, any dark places such as underneath furniture and behind wardrobes and wall hangings should be targeted. However, it is also important to target the eggs and larvae to have a lasting impact on the population.

Because homeowners also have a role to play in any effective mosquito management program, it means educating customers on ensuring any sites of stagnant water around their home — prime breeding sites for mosquitoes — are eliminated. Such sites include plant pots, tarpaulins, old tyres, boats, kids’ toys, roof guttering, rain water tanks and even palm fronds, bromeliads and tree foliage.

However, it can be difficult to manage a house in close proximity to neighbours who don’t have a mosquito management program in place. It is good practice to ask your customers to discuss any issues regarding potential breeding site with their neighbours — not only to ensure they understand their requirements, but it’s also an opportunity for you to gain a potential new client.

A mosquito treatment is unlikely to be a one-off, in fact, it is better to manage expectations up front — that being, to keep on top of mosquitoes, a regular service program may well be required, especially during the warmer, wetter months.

Fighting the mosquito menace globally

Globally, Bayer is also very involved in mosquito management, developing tools and programs for Best Practice.

Bayer takes a leading role in research that aims to stem viruses such as Zika, malaria and dengue, by not only developing new products to eliminate and manage mosquitoes, but also medicines to treat people infected with mosquito borne diseases. Bayer has provided the World Health Organisation essential medicines to fight African Trypanosomiasis and Chagas disease, and has worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help bridge the funding gap by doubling its existing donation of Nifurtimox to treat Chagas disease. Bayer is also participating in plans by private and public partners, to unite to combat 10 neglected tropical diseases by 2020.

Vector borne diseases pose a threat to over half the world’s population. For the past 60 years, Bayer has been helping the fight against those diseases, driven by their mission of ‘Science for a better life’.

This philosophy is at the core of Bayer’s integrated approach to mosquito management, called 360-degree vector control.

360 vector control

360-degree Vector Control is based on five core competencies; portfolio and innovation, history and expertise, training and education, partnerships, and global advocacy.

Portfolio and innovation provides the product solutions. Globally, Bayer has a strong vector control product pipeline and existing product range. In Australia, our vector-control space spray is Aqua K-Othrine. Space spraying is routinely carried out in many areas of the world as a crucial means to reduce the incidence of vector-borne diseases. Aqua K-Othrine contains synthetic pyrethroid (2% deltamethrin) in a unique EW formulation. It is primarily water-based with built-in FFAST (Film Forming Aqueous Spray Technology) and has a low environmental impact and a high level of safety in use. It’s also very effective on mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, spiders and stored product pests.

Bayer’s expertise has accumulated over more than 60 years in vector control. We have gained an in depth understanding of the issues we need to overcome, and we continue to do so, on a regional and global level.

However, we also know that product alone isn’t enough – to improve people’s lives through science, we have to share our knowledge with those who need it most. We are dedicated to educating and training local people to help them protect their communities, this includes: the Bayer Amplify Pest website for the professional pest control industry; The Dengue Learning Lab, an online tool to learn more about managing the disease and its vectors, and the Virtual Reality training through our Mosquito Quest Game. These training packages are all examples of ‘thinking outside the bottle’ and helping to educate end users and the community.

Daryle Swarz, Pest Market Manager, Bayer Environmental Science

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