Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Not human bodies, but a trap

Greater Shepparton City Council trialling new traps that fool mosquitoes into thinking they are near human bodies.

ALEXANDRA BOLKAS January 7, 2014 4:04am

Greater Shepparton City Council's mosquito monitor Doug Cousins.

Four new traps mosquitoes believe are human bodies are being trialled across the Goulburn Valley’s monitoring areas.

Greater Shepparton City Council’s mosquito monitor Doug Cousins said the old mosquito traps could only catch the most common form of mosquito — the culex annulirostris.

He said the new traps would be able to catch a broader range of mosquitoes and, hopefully, in larger quantities.

‘‘We’ll be trialling it from January to April,’’ Mr Cousins said.

‘‘We’re looking to compare catchment results from the old model to the new.’’

He said the new trap attracted mosquitoes because it looked to them like the human body shape.

‘‘The fan sucks them in and they’re trapped,’’ he said.

Mr Cousins said mosquito numbers had been down on previous years largely because of the cooler summer weather.

‘‘It’s been quiet, we’ve caught 50 or 60 mosquitoes in one trap in about 17 or 18 hours of trapping,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s pretty light; some years we get 300 to 400 in one night.’’

The news comes after Victoria’s chief health officer warned Goulburn Valley residents to protect themselves against mosquito-transmitted diseases.

Dr Rosemary Lester last week said higher numbers of mosquitoes were mostly a nuisance factor, but some could transmit diseases, such as Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus.

‘‘The summer holiday season is a time of increased outdoor activity, so taking measures to avoid mosquito bites is a critical step to protecting against such diseases,’’ Dr Lester said.

‘‘Visitors and residents should wear long, light-coloured loose-fitting clothing and use a suitable insect repellent containing picaridin or DEET as an active ingredient on exposed skin areas.’’

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