Summer mozzie media buzz

Trapping mosquitoes in the mangroves along the Parramatta River (from SMH 21 December 2012)

There is usually a bit of media interest in mosquitoes during the summer months.  As most people start thinking about lazy coastal holidays and endless BBQs, the topic of mosquitoes isn’t far from mind so it is no surprise that there is interest in the topic.

I was involved in two recent articles in local media. The Sydney Morning Herald ran a piece by Julie Power on my mosquito research and its contribution to understanding the health risks associated with coastal mosquito populations. This was a timely piece as NSW Health had recently issued a public health warning about mosquito numbers along the coast and the possible increased risk of Ross River and Barmah Forest virus during the holiday period.

The second article was by Matthew Kelly in the Newcastle Herald on my research project with Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority on the Hexham Swamp Rehabilitation Project. After two years under relatively cool and wet La Nina weather patterns, mosquito populations associated with most coastal wetland areas were generally pretty low. The Newcastle Herald had run a story in early 2012 reporting our findings that mosquito populations associated with Hexham Swamp were actually relatively low. The shift back towards hot and dry El Nino conditions mark an increase in the suitability of habitats for the saltmarsh mosquito Aedes vigilax. We’re expecting to see increases in the abundance of this mosquito along the east coast of Australia over the coming summers. It will be interesting to see how populations of this mosquito associated with the Hexham Swamp Rehabilitation Project respond to these conditions.