Redland City Council is set to partner with the Mosquito Arbovirus Research Committee (MARC) and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute to trial mosquito barrier treatment on Russell Island this month.
Mayor Karen Williams said the joint research project would assess the effectiveness of barrier treatments in managing mosquitoes and other biting insects.
“We know our island residents can have a tough time with mosquitoes so Russell Island is the ideal location to test the efficacy of barrier treatments in a bid to reduce any health and nuisance impacts,” Cr Williams said.
“Redland Coast has unique coastal and freshwater environments that provide ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes.
“The barrier treatment trial will run for about three months and target Aedes vigilax, the Saltmarsh Mosquito, which is a major carrier of Ross River virus and a significant pest species.
“It’s a great collaboration to ensure we are implementing best practice for mosquito management.”
Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards said about a dozen Russell Island residents had volunteered to participate in the study, which would see vegetation in and around their properties sprayed with long-lasting insecticides.
“These private properties will be monitored over the duration of the project to determine the effectiveness of the barrier treatments,” Cr Edwards said.
“Other mosquito species will also be studied, including Culex annulirostris, another important carrier of Ross River virus. The project might also collect data looking at the efficacy of barrier treatments against biting midges.”
Regional Mosquito Management Group chairman Cr Paul Golle said trials such as this showed the value of regional aberration.
“Mosquitoes are not unique to the Redlands, they are an issue for communities throughout the state who will no doubt be watching this trial with interest,” Cr Golle said.
QIMR Berghofer entomologist Dr Brian Johnson said the active ingredients in the products being used were found in many of the common household bug sprays and would not harm the plants or surfaces treated.
“Mosquitoes rest in vegetation and other sheltered places to avoid the sun and will die if they happen to land on any treated vegetation or surfaces,” Dr Johnson said.
“Treatment will exclude flowering plants to ensure native pollinators, such as bees, are protected,” he stressed.
“We will also be deploying innovative technology that allows us to monitor the abundance of mosquitoes and biting midges on each property remotely and in almost real-time.
“A number of the selected properties will not receive any insecticide treatments so that they can serve as experimental controls.
“We’re ultimately hoping the project will run over a number of years and that we can test a number of different barrier insecticides to find which ones work best.”