What are mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are small, bloodsucking insects that belong to the family of flies called Culicidae. There are more than 300 different species in Australia however only 32 species in all commonly occur in South Australia.
Mosquitoes have a relatively short but complex life cycle consisting of eggs, four larval stages that develop in the water, a pupal stage in the water and an adult stage on land. The larvae cannot develop to the adult phase without access to water, and cannot develop in damp mud, soil or vegetation.
An adult female mosquito lays her eggs either on the water surface (usually as a floating raft) or on a surface that is often flooded with water (usually singly or in small groups). These egg-laying sites may include soil or vegetation at the edge of a wetland, soil or leaf litter where temporary pools form after rainfall, or in the inside of water –holding containers (e.g. tins, tyres).
Most adult mosquitoes are more active from dusk until dawn and usually seek refuge during the day in cool and humid sheltered habitats, such as in vegetation or under houses. Many mosquitoes do not travel far from their aquatic larval habitats, but some species can fly 5km or more.
On average, females live for approximately 2-3 weeks, males slightly less. Within their lifetime, adult male and female mosquitos will feed on nectar and other plant sugars, but only the female will seek a blood meal. The blood meal provides protein for egg development and, while many mosquitos are generalist feeders, some must specifically feed on humans, mammals, birds or amphibians.
Mosquito bites can be more than just a nuisance as some can also transmit diseases. The most common disease passed on by mosquitoes in South Australia is Ross River virus. Other serious infections transmitted by mosquitoes include viral encephalitis, Barmah Forest virus infection, dengue fever (in Northern Queensland and in tropical countries around the world) and malaria (in tropical countries around the world).
People can contract Ross River virus or Barmah Forest virus from certain species of infected mosquitoes in South Australia throughout the year, although most infections occur in the warmer months.
Following this simple advice will reduce the chance of mosquito bites and reduce the number of mosquitoes in the immediate environment.
Self protection from mosquito bites is the key to prevention.
General mosquito control measures – eliminating mosquito breeding sites
Mosquitoes breed in still water (fresh, salty or stagnant). Stop mosquitoes breeding by cleaning up mosquito breeding sites around the home:
For more information on protecting yourself, your family and your community please see links below or visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au. Also resources from SA Health are available to print below:
If mosquitoes are a concern in your area please, contact Customer Service on (08) 8553 4500 or visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au
Note: Some examples of breeding places for Mosquitoes(120 kb)