On Thursday, Professor Stephen Doggett joined Larry and Kylie on the Morning Show.
Professor Doggett is from the University of Sydney and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Entomology. He holds a Certificate in Pest Control from the Sydney College of Technical and Further Education and is a member of the Australian Society of Microbiologists.
He has completed research on “Arthropods of Medical Importance, including ticks, mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases, bird mites and, more recently, bed bugs”.
Heading into an extreme mosquito season due to a wet summer, Professor Doggett shared everything you need to know to be prepared in the video above.
- Only female mosquitoes bite as they need the food to develop eggs
- The smell of the carbon dioxide we exhale attracts them
- The lifespan of mosquitoes is 42-56 days for an adult female and approximately 10 days for an adult male
Why some people get bitten by mosquitoes and some don’t
- Not everyone gets bitten because the bacteria on your skin make us all smell different. All mosquitoes are attracted to different things (he compares it to the way people choose different drinks at a bar).
- Sweat is the main cause of mosquito bites – however, every single mosquito likes different smells, so a shower doesn’t always prevent it from being bitten
- There is no evidence that any food or drink consumed affects your chances of getting a bite
Close up of yellow fever mosquito biting human skin is a Culicidae vector of Malaria, Yellow Fever, Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika Viruses in Brazil, known locally as Mosquito da Dengue. (Close-up of a yellow fever mosquito biting human skin Photo credit: Joao Paulo Burini/.Getty Images
How mosquitoes attack
- Mosquitoes use 6 needles to suck your blood. Two to cut into the skin, two to hold the skin tissue apart, one as a straw to draw out blood, and one to spit the chemicals inside us.
- They are the deadliest animal on the planet – after drawing our blood, they leave a chemical inside us to create that itchy skin. Sometimes they leave behind a virus or parasite that can make people sick or even kill them.
Why is it going to be a mega mosquito season
- Recent heavy rains and floods have sparked an increase in mosquito incidence along the coastal areas of NSW and there is the potential for an increased risk of arboviral transmission.
This way you avoid mosquito bites and are repulsive to protect yourself. Photo credit: Paul Mayor/.Getty Images
Symptoms and Treatment
- Ross River and Barmah Forest virus infections can cause uncomfortable symptoms like fatigue, rash, fever, and painful and swollen joints. These symptoms usually last a few days, but some people can experience these symptoms for weeks or even months.
- There is no specific treatment for these viruses. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid getting bitten.
- Last summer there was a sharp spike in cases in Ross River, particularly NSW
How to Avoid Mozzie Bites
- Check all windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering
- Avoid being outside unprotected, especially in the morning and evening light when the mosquitoes are most active.
- When outside, cover as much as possible with light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and covered shoes
So you avoid mosquito bites and are repulsive to protect yourself Credit: Hanesh Mehta / EyeEm/.Getty Images / EyeEm
Best mosquito repellent
- Apply mosquito repellant to exposed areas regularly (as indicated on the container). Repellants that contain diethyltoluamide (DEET) or picaridine are best. Repellants that contain lemon eucalyptus oil or p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD) also provide adequate protection.
- Do not use repellants on the skin of children under three months of age. Instead, use physical barriers like nets on strollers, cribs, and play areas.
- Lightweight mosquito coils or use evaporation mats indoors. Devices that use light to attract and kill insects are not effective.
- If there are mosquitoes in the room, use over-the-counter insecticide sprays, especially behind furniture and dark places.
- Use mosquito nets when camping or sleep under mosquito nets.
- Limit the number of places in your home where mosquitoes can breed by removing objects that contain water or emptying the bins
- There’s no evidence to suggest that eating food can keep you from getting bitten – eating onions and garlic is a myth!