Mosquitoes are annoying insect pests which have the potential to carry diseases such as Ross River and Barmah Forest Viruses, and Dengue Fever.

There are more than 25 common species of mosquitoes in North Queensland with many capable of transmitting disease. Mosquitoes need water and a small amount of nutrients to breed. During hot humid conditions, eggs can develop to mature adults within a week.

The majority of mosquito problems in Mackay are caused by saltmarsh mosquitoes. Further mosquito breeding occurs in freshwater after periods of high rainfall. Regular high tides cause tidal marshes to flood, triggering mosquito breeding. Seasonal tides exceeding six (6) metres and high rainfall events can also cause flooding of saltmarsh and freshwater areas.

Sand flies (biting midges)

Sand flies (genus Culicoides sometimes referred to as biting midges) can be considered a nuisance. Sand flies do not carry any pathogens in Australia that cause human disease.

The female sand fly bites to take blood from their hosts, which is necessary for the development of eggs. Sand flies are most active in the evening and early morning. Personal protection and avoidance measures can offer considerable protection from bites.

A sensible precaution to prevent biting insect attack is to avoid areas that are known to have high biting insect activity. Extensive areas of mangroves or estuarine areas with sandy beaches are potential sources of sand flies and generally residents within 400m of the breeding area can be exposed to them.

Relief from sand fly attack may be obtained by applying repellents to the skin and clothing. When selecting a personal repellent check the label for effectiveness to repel sand flies/midges and always follow all safety precautions to ensure personal safety.