A/Prof Cameron Webb, from NSW Health Pathology, inspects a trap used each summer to track changes in local mosquito populations.
A/Prof Cameron Webb, from NSW Health Pathology, inspects a trap used each summer to track changes in local mosquito populations.

Bananas? Gin? No matter what you ingest, mozzies will bite

EXPECT more mosquitoes and more types of the insect around Northern NSW this summer, but it doesn't matter what you eat; use plenty of bug repellent this year.

Medical Entomologist Assoc/Prof Cameron Webb from NSW Health Pathology said the biggest myth he has had to dispel in his years of scientific work is that some food stops mosquitoes from biting people.

"I often hear many people suggest that types of food, like bananas, or even alcoholic drinks, like gin, would protect them from mosquitoes," he said

"Some food may slightly vary the way you smell like to a mosquito, but there is nothing that you can eat or drink that will protect you from mosquito bites," he said.

"You are better off using insect repellent."

 

Mosquito sucking blood
Mosquito sucking blood

Prof Webb expected more mosquitoes in the environment due to the warm, wet weather forecasted this summer.

"We expect a wider range of mosquitoes to be out this summer, and of course, with more rain, for sure we'll also have more mosquitoes."

"This summer, under La Nina weather pattern, there's going to be a lot more rain and there will be mosquitoes coming out of freshwater wetlands, ponds and pools across the region."

The expert said mosquitoes are around all year long but are less noticeable during cooler weather.

"The mosquito season seems to be getting longer, and that could be as a result of a change in climate, but we do find mosquitoes are more active in early spring and certainly late into autumn than they have in previous years.

"How much water and how much warmth are available certainly changes the number of mosquitoes."

 

Mosquito Aedes notoscriptus at larval stage.
Mosquito Aedes notoscriptus at larval stage.

 

The health entomologist said he has worked on strategies to prevent mosquito-borne diseases with Northern NSW local governments for years.

"A lot of the work that I do is for local government on the North Coast; even though I'm based in Sydney, my work involves giving advice to local authorities throughout NSW on managing mosquito and mosquito-borne disease risk," he said.

In Northern NSW, Tweed, Byron and Ballina Shire Councils all have mosquito management plans.


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