Thousands of mosquitoes have buzzed into Melbourne, forcing Australians to take cover to protect themselves.
Recent heavy rainfall and warmer weather have created a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes breed in pools of water, such as blocked roof gutters or puddles on the ground. The lack of dry, hot weather means that the water is not evaporating before the mosquitoes lay their eggs.
Ken Walker, an entomologist at Museum Victoria, told The Newsroom that the weather has created the perfect place for mosquitoes to invade.
“The average mosquito life cycle can be as short as three weeks so casual water has to only last for three weeks to generate a substantial mosquito population in a local area.
“The wet and cool spring is allowing casual water to remain for weeks on end rather than quickly evaporating if we were to be experiencing hot and dry weather,” he said.
In order for people to protect themselves, they need to remove the source of the problem.
“First – remove/reduce the mosquito habitat. Check around your house for casual water in pots, buckets, toys, unused and unchlorinated pools/spas,” Mr Walker said.
If the water has a significant amount of dirt or sand, it’s “not a suitable habitat for mozzie wriggler larvae because they swim and use the water as a breeding site”.
Mosquitoes prefer to bite people on exposed skin because they can sense people by body heat. So if you do choose to venture outside you should stay protected by wearing “long pants, long sleeves and preferably a hat (and to) use insect repellent.”
Mr Walker’s last piece of advice is for people to “try to stay indoors around dusk, which is a time when many mosquito species prefer to feed.”
Twitter users have vented their frustration over the pesky little creatures.
— Rob Scambler (@rob_scambler) October 25, 2016
I'm literally getting eaten by #mosquitoes. Why are they everywhere?
— Vezzo (@vezzo15) October 26, 2016
An expert gives his response:
Many parts of Victoria experiencing spring boosts in mozzies thanks to recent rains; a jump start to summer… https://t.co/cJOF0iTTOy
— Dr Cameron Webb (@Mozziebites) October 18, 2016
– Megan Simmonds
Photo from Pixabay user francok35’s page.