Expect more mosquitos and more types of insects in northern NSW this summer, but it doesn’t matter what you eat. Use a lot of insect repellent this year.
NSW Health Pathology’s medical entomologist Assoc / Prof Cameron Webb said the biggest myth he had to dispel in his years of research is that some foods keep mosquitoes from biting people.
“I often hear a lot of people suggest that foods like bananas or even alcoholic beverages like gin protect them from mosquitos,” he said
“Some foods can vary slightly in how they smell like a mosquito, but there is nothing you can eat or drink to protect yourself from mosquito bites,” he said.
“You are better off using insect repellant.”
Mosquito sucks blood
Prof. Webb expected more mosquitoes in the environment due to the warm, wet weather forecast this summer.
“We expect there will be more mosquitoes outside this summer and of course with more rain we will surely have more mosquitos.”
“This summer, under the weather in La Nina, it will rain a lot more and mosquitoes will come from freshwater wetlands, ponds and pools in the area.”
The expert said mosquitoes appear all year round but are less noticeable in cooler weather.
“The mosquito season seems to be getting longer and that could be a consequence of climate change, but we find that mosquitoes are more active in early spring and certainly well into autumn than in previous years.
“How much water and how much heat is available certainly changes the number of mosquitoes.”
Mosquito Aedes notoscriptus in the larval stage.
The health entomologist said he had worked with local governments in northern NSW for years on strategies to prevent mosquito-borne diseases.
“Much of my work is for local government on the North Shore. Although I’m based in Sydney, I advise local authorities across NSW on managing mosquito and mosquito-borne disease risk management,” he said.
In northern NSW, the Tweed, Byron, and Ballina Shire councils have mosquito control plans.