Authorities have warned that we need to be proactive in our fight against mosquito-borne diseases following the type of wet and humid conditions we’ve been experiencing in south east Queensland and other parts of Australia recently.
This is because these hot, wet conditions are perfect for mosquito populations to flourish. Retractable fly screens for sliding doors and other openings connecting the indoors and outdoors are crucial around the home.
The Threat of Mosquitoes after Heavy Rainfall
Mosquitoes require standing water to lay their eggs and hatch their larvae so after a flood, the population of these insects tends to rise rapidly.
Bites from mosquitoes become more prevalent because the female mosquito (only the female mosquito bites) needs the nutrients in blood to feed her larvae.
The process usually takes one week from the time the larvae are laid until they reach adulthood, so the week after heavy rainfall is a crucial time in preventing the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
Retractable fly screens for sliding doors, French doors, stacker doors etc. can be invaluable during this period when mosquito activity will be at its’ highest.
Following flooding in NSW in 2016, the Western NSW Local Health District issued a warning to the public to take care against mosquito-borne viruses.
Heavy rains and in particular stagnant water, result in an increase in mosquito breeding. This is a problem not only because mosquitoes bite, but in addition to the discomfort caused, mosquitoes can carry serious diseases.
In Australia the most common diseases carried by mosquitoes are Ross River virus, Barmah Forest Fever and Murray Valley Encephalitis, with symptoms ranging from mild to serious.
Following the 2016 flooding, an expert explained some of the risks,
“These infections can cause symptoms ranging from tiredness, rash, fever, and sore or swollen joints.
“Symptoms usually resolve within several days but some people may experience symptoms for weeks or even months. Infection with Murray Valley Encephalitis can cause more severe symptoms such as encephalitis [inflammation of the brain].”
Larger bodies of water like marshes are the greatest concern following floods but people also need to be cautious about pools of stagnant water around their property.
Importance of Screening All Windows and Doors Around the Home
During the 2016 flooding, Dr Thérèse Jones from the health district’s public health unit encouraged people to take preventative action to avoid being bitten and specifically highlighted the need to have doors and windows fitted with fly screens.
When covering your door and window openings, don’t forget retractable fly screens for your sliding doors and patio/ entertainment area doors.
People can protect themselves at home by screening all windows and doors, Dr Jones said, or by sleeping under a mosquito net.
“Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. If going outside at these times, take precautions such as using a repellent and wearing a loose fitting long sleeved shirt and trousers,” the health district said.
“If you find the repellent you are using does not work, try an alternative preferably containing DEET.
How to Protect Your Home Against Mosquito Infestations
- Homeowners should do a walk-about around their property and dispose of any standing water after the flood, such as pooling water on trash cans, gutters, gaps in paving etc.
- If septic tanks have been inundated with floodwater they need to be pumped out by a professional.
- An important consideration is that all your doors and windows are covered, not just your front doors, by installing retractable fly screens. For sliding doors, stacking doors, French doors, or whichever type of door you have, there is a fly screen available that will provide protection from mosquito bites for you and your family, while still allowing you to enjoy your space, with natural ventilation and unobstructed views.