Natural solutions for insect control

Not only are mosquitoes pesky creatures that can ruin an otherwise pleasant evening, they can spread diseases such as Malaria, Ross River Fever and Australian Encephalitis. This can lead to severe illness, and in the worst case scenario, death. With wetlands all around the City, Cairns residents are particularly vulnerable. As a result, Council allocates considerable resources to the control of these pests.

In the past, fish inhabiting wetlands kept mosquito larvae under control. However, development and drainage works over the years have reduced fish numbers. Chemical control has become the major means of controlling mosquito outbreaks.

In more recent times, hazards associated with chemical control have been identified. This led Council's Mosquito Control Unit to apply itself to finding an alternative solution which would be inexpensive, environmentally friendly and effective.

The obvious solution was to utilise old technology - fish. However, the cost of purchasing suitable species is prohibitive. Consequently, the Mosquito Control Unit has diversified into fish breeding. It is now farming Eastern Rainbow and Pacific Blue-Eye which it hopes will be the solution to the City's mosquito problem.

The project required extensive surveying and research to determine the most appropriate fish for the job. Their ability to survive the conditions and the effect they would have in eliminating larvae were paramount.

It also required Council to consider all the facets of fish breeding including costs, management, establishing appropriate conditions and staff training. Due to be released into the wetlands in December this year, the cost of the fish breeding project is estimated at around $30,000.

For further information contact Colette McCool, telephone (07) 4044 3044.