Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program

Council is actively involved in mosquito management to help protect the community and visitors from mosquito-borne diseases.

Our officers, in partnership with Health Protection NSW administer the NSW Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program (ASMMP).

The aim of the ASMMP is to detect key arbovirus activity and monitor vector populations across NSW to inform public health communications. This surveillance provides an early warning of increased arboviral risk.

Mosquito Trapping

From spring to autumn of each year, the ASMMP monitors the presence of arboviruses in the environment through the trapping of mosquitoes.

Mosquito populations are routinely monitored at 5 carefully selected locations within the Murray River Council area. Council officers set the traps in the evening and collect them early the next day. This allows us to trap mozzies at dusk and dawn when they are most active.

Trapped mosquitoes are then sent to The Institute for Clinical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR), NSW Health Pathology. They are tested for alphaviruses including Ross River viruses and Barmah Forest viruses and flaviviruses such as Murray Valley Encephalitis, Japanese Encephalitis and Kunjin viruses. Mosquitoes are also analysed for information such as species type and abundance.

Mosquito control

Where possible we prefer not to use chemicals if other control methods or predators are effective. These methods may include draining, weed removal and natural predators such as Dragonflies, Damsels and Mayflies, fish and water beetles. 

Council officers identify and monitor potential breeding sites for mosquitoes and use dippers to check for the presence of larvae.

Chemicals are usually only used during the vulnerable larval stage of the mosquitoes life-cycle. Our preferred chemical is a sustained release product for the prevention of adult mosquito emergence. The briquets will inhibit emergence for approximately 150 days. without disrupting the relationship between larvae and their natural predators.

The active ingredient in the briquets is (S)-Methoprene which is not a direct toxin. This means that unlike other conventional pesticides it is target-specific and does not harm mammals, waterfowl, or even beneficial predatory insects like dragonfly’s. In fact it has been recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the use in drinking water supplies to control container-breeding mosquitoes in developing countries.

Mosquitos around the home

The best way to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home is to:

  • clean up your backyard and remove all water-holding containers, including buckets, tyres, toys etc, and store them in a dry place
  • mow your lawn regularly
  • empty and wipe out bird baths, pet water bowls and water features
  • fill pot plant bases with sand to avoid standing water
  • store anything that can hold water undercover or in a dry place, and keep bins covered
  • remove leaves in water-holding plants
  • clear drains and roof gutters so water runs freely
  • cover or securely screen the openings of septic tanks and rainwater tanks
  • use insecticide sprays and vapour dispensing units
  • install fly screens on windows, doors, vents and chimneys
  • use mosquito coils outside in well ventilated areas
Mosquito Bite Prevention

Here are five simple ways to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Cover up while outside. Wear light, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts, long pants and covered footwear with socks. 
  • Wear and reapply repellent. Repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus should be used on any areas of exposed skin and reapplied regularly. Apply sunscreen first, followed by repellent, so you can stay safe from the sun and mosquito bites. 
  • Keep mosquitoes out. Close doors and windows when indoors or install fly screens where possible to keep mosquitoes out. 
  • Stop mosquitoes breeding. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Remove items around your home that might collect water such as old tyres, children's toys and empty pots to lower the chance of mosquitoes breeding. Think about improving drainage around your home to ensure water doesn’t become stagnant.
  • Ask your GP about the Japanese encephalitis virus vaccination. Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) was detected for the first time in NSW earlier this year. In some cases, JEV can cause a rare but serious illness called Japanese encephalitis. If you live in some areas of NSW, you’re eligible for a free JEV vaccine - talk to your GP. 

Following these simple steps will help to protect you and the community from mosquito bites and illnesses, so you can relax and enjoy the warmer weather.

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