Parts of Queensland that are already soaked from heavy rain and flooding are preparing for even more torrential rain and according to experts, we should brace ourselves for a record-breaking heatwave in February.
Temperatures are expected to rise into the mid-40s. The combination of heat and heavy rainfall could mean a surge in mosquito populations and while most people have their front doors protected with a fly screen, many homeowners neglect their patio doors.
"It's been the wettest week in decades for south east Queensland and the NSW coast," Sky Weatherchief meteorologist Tom Saunders said.
The constant wet weather has seen some inland regions of Queensland receive more than 100mm of rain in a single day with Casino copping a drenching yesterday.
Retractable fly screens for stacker doors, sliding doors, French doors, bi-fold doors and even pillar-less corner doors can help in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases.
The Bureau of Meteorology said many waterways are already saturated after last week's record rainfall.
In the wake of the floods, residents have been encouraged to take care against mosquito-borne viruses, especially given the added concern of expected high temperatures. The upcoming wet and hot conditions provide the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Residents should be particularly vigilant about pooled water around their properties as these stagnant pools are where mosquitoes breed.
The Mosquito Threat
In addition to being irritating, mosquitoes carry serious diseases such as Barmah Forest Fever, Murray Valley Encephalitis and Ross River virus, with symptoms ranging from fevers, rashes, tiredness to swollen joints.
Following heavy flooding in NSW in 2016, authorities warned about the risks of mosquito-borne infections and the importance of retractable fly screens for stacker doors, sliding doors and any other type of door or window.
“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].”
“There has been no increase in the number of reported cases of Ross River Virus, the health district said, but care should be taken in recently inundated areas, the Macquarie Marshes and large bodies of water that are no longer flowing.”
“People can protect themselves at home by screening all windows and doors,”
Guarding Against Mosquito Bites
When cleaning up after a flood, it’s important not to neglect the mosquito risk. The first step is to prevent mosquitoes breeding by eliminating all stagnant water around your property.
The mosquitoes lay their eggs in pools of standing water and the larvae hatch and develop into adults within the water.
This process takes several days and about a week after a flood you may notice a surge in mosquitoes. Mosquito bites become more prevalent as the female mosquitoes need the nutrients in blood for their larvae.
While you may prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property by removing pooling water, you cannot stop all mosquitoes from entering your home, either from neighbouring properties or bodies of water. Following floods, rain usually fills up wetlands and flows into bushland where mosquitoes breed.
Australia is home to many different kinds of mosquitoes which breed in salt water wetlands and briny mangroves or in freshwater, irrigated areas as well as bushland.
You can take precautions to protect yourself when outdoors, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear loose fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to ensure your skin is covered.
- Use an effective insect repellent, preferably one containing DEET.
- You can use sprays and coils but these can be toxic and smell bad.
- Ensure all doors and windows are covered by retractable fly screens.
For stacker doors, sliding doors, French doors, bi-fold doors, pillar-less corner doors - whichever type of door you have, there is a retractable fly screen available that can protect your home from insect infestations.
While retractable fly screens for stacker doors and other types of patio doors are an effective way to keep mosquitoes out, they also serve another useful purpose. As temperatures are expected rise, fly screens provide ventilation, keeping your home cool naturally.