Community alerted to increased insect activity

Published on Tuesday, 23 February 2021 at 4:32:43 PM

Community members are advised to take additional precautions against insect bites with a rise in insect activity following recent rain and weather in our region.

 

The Shire’s Environmental Health Team have identified an increase in activity, in particular with March flies, in our communities.

 

Whilst March flies are not known to transmit diseases in Australia, their bite can cause serious allergic reactions in some people which may require hospitalisation.

 

A particular species found in our Pilbara region is known to produce serious symptoms in some people, including hives, fever, wheezing, and in severe cases and patients with a severe allergic reaction should seek urgent medical assistance and advice.

 

Symptomatic treatment, including application of an ice pack and use of an antihistamine, may offer relief from painful bites. Scratching the bites can result in a secondary bacterial infection that may require the application of antiseptic cream or the use of antibiotics.

 

The simplest way to prevent being bitten by a March fly is to cover up with appropriate clothing and/or apply an effective repellent product.

 

Lotion or gel repellents are the most effective in protecting yourself against March flies, but these will vary in their effectiveness depending on the species of March fly.

 

March flies are known to be attracted to dark blue, so it is advisable to avoid wearing blue and other dark colours. Long, light-coloured, loose fitting clothing, including head nets, is likely to provide the most effective protection for humans when March flies are present.

 

The best protection for babies and young children is to dress them in protective clothing, socks and shoes, and use other forms of insect screening.

 

Due to the extensive size of their breeding areas and their ability to travel long distances, it is generally not possible to control march flies using large scale pesticide applications.

 

Our team have completed additional mosquito prevention and minimisation activities, however it is still advised to wear long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing to cover exposed skin and to apply insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin evenly to all areas of exposed skin. Many mosquitoes are at their biting best around dusk and dawn, but some will bite day and night.

 

By cleaning out common breeding sites around your home, include pot plant drip trays, ponds, pet bowls, old tyres and rubbish that may collect water, can stop mosquitoes from breeding.

 

For more information visit ww2.health.wa.gov.au or contact the Shire’s Environmental Team on 08 9188 4444 or email soa@ashburton.wa.gov.au.

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