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Help keep Mozzies away from the Bay

7 December 2004

Clean up around your section: Help keep Mozzies away from the Bay

While warmer summer weather is great for residents and holidaymakers in Hawke's Bay, it is also great weather for mosquitoes.

They can be a real nuisance, especially at this time of the year when many people are outdoors trying to enjoy the summer.

Noel Watson of the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s Public Health Unit says that, as expected, the warmer weather brings an increase in the numbers of mosquitoes present in the Hawke’s Bay region.

“Mosquitoes breed in all sorts of containers found around the home, a lot of these items are serving no actual purpose in our backyards, and if we each take a little time to remove these containers we can dramatically reduce the numbers around at this time of year.

“Of course some items in our yards serve very useful purposes, and are designed to hold water, but residents can take steps to stop mosquitoes breeding in those as well.

“We do not have some of the world’s worst disease carrying mosquitoes in New Zealand, nor do we want them here. Many of these foreign mosquitoes do breed in such containers around the yard, as do some native and already established species. So by getting rid of these potential breeding sites you are also reducing the risk of imported disease-carrying mosquitoes entering New Zealand.“

The following simple steps will send mosquitoes the message to ‘buzz off’ and help take the ‘bite’ out of Christmas:

Get rid of all old tins, bottles, or other items around that can hold water (it is often surprising the number of these around an average backyard!)

Get rid of all old tyres and drill holes in swing tyres so rain can drain through them. Tyres are a particular favorite breeding place for many mosquitoes.

Overturn anything stored outside that could hold water e.g. boats or canoes, buckets, (and consider whether such items could be stored where there is no chance of them holding water)

Empty and clean pot plant saucers, pet drinking bowls, and birdbaths regularly (at least every four days is ideal at this time of year ). A good option is to put sand around the bases of pot plants to absorb the water in the dish.

Keep the swimming pool well treated and free of leaves and empty and refill children's small paddling pools after use.

Fill or drain hollows in the ground that can hold water. Cover vent pipes on septic tanks with mosquito-proof covers (no bigger than 1mm mesh)

Ensure rainwater tanks are sealed and covered.

Check that the rainwater in the gutter can drain correctly, and down-pipes are not blocked with leaves etc.

Ensure that ponds have fish in them, which will eat the mosquito larvae. Goldfish and most other fish eat mosquito larvae.

If you are outdoors you may need to consider using a repellent cream or spray and wear protective clothing - for example a long-sleeved shirt and long skirt or trousers.

If you have trouble with any particularly pesky mosquitoes Noel Watson suggests you catch the offending mozzie, (preferably not squashed) to aid identification, put it in a small container and ring the Ministry of Health’s free phone Mozzie line-0800 MOZZIE or 0800 669-943


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