Fighting the Bite in Onslow
Apr 18 2019
As residents and visitors alike will attest, Onslow has experienced unprecedented mosquito activity over the last few months, worse than many have ever seen in Onslow’s history. Coupled with low rainfall and limited wet season activity, this plaque-like influx of mosquitos was unexpected and unusual for the dry conditions.
With the large levels of mosquitos, the Shire significantly expanded the existing mosquito abatement programme which includes increasing the fogging and larviciding activity. When this had limited success, further investigation into identifying the breeding area and a new approach were required.
Additional staff have,and will continue to be, dispatched from Tom Price to assist our Onslow town maintenance crew monitor and combat the reason for this increase in numbers.
For example, late last week it was discovered that a new breeding ground had developed at the sand disposal site in and around the lower rock wall near the airport. This location had become an ideal habitat for mosquitos due to the dredging operations which pumps water and sand into the site, creating an artificial wetlands environment.
As an immediate response to reduce the high volume of mosquito numbers, the Shire applied a large quantity of larvicide into this newly identified breeding site and while it has had a positive impact, it wasn’t a complete solution. A more permanent arrangement to address the issue of mosquito breeding in this area is currently being established with the Shire and the dredging operators. This area, which spans more than 8 hectares is constantly being monitored and treated while we work to transform the area and remove the breeding habitat.
The Shire has been closely monitoring Onslow’s sentinel chicken program, which is a key measure in identifying the incidence of mosquito borne disease. Chickens are tested regularly and the blood examined by pathology, and to date all hens are healthy with no signs of mosquito borne disease.
Onslow residents are of course reminded to maintain the “Fight the Bite” regime by removing common breeding sites that could include water in pot plant drip trays, gutters, ponds, pet water bowls, old tyres, rubbish, containers and pools that are not well maintained.
The Shire will continue to keep the community of Onslow updated on the matter.