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Insects and pest management

    Mosquitoes

    The Spectacles

    The Spectacles consists of 360 hectares of natural bush and wetland, and is a part of the chain of wetlands that make up the Beeliar Regional Park. The Department of Biodiversity, Attractions and Conservations (DBCA) is currently managing the overall site. A Peel Main Drain runs through the Northern and Southern Wetland which is owned and managed by the Water Corporation.

    Results from regular mosquito trapping and larval sampling at The Spectacles reveal significantly high mosquito numbers during January to April. The dominant species Culex annulirostris is a Ross River Virus vector and can travel up to 10 km. Following an intensive larval survey and investigation of the Spectacles, it is estimated that 45 hectares of the Northern Spectacles wetland will require larvicide treatment due to detection of high concentrations of mosquito larvae in shallow pools under large mature paperbark trees. The extent of the mosquito breeding in this Southern Spectacles is unknown as accessibility is difficult due to dense understory vegetation.  The City is trying to gain better access of this part of the wetland and will be undertaking further investigation.

    The City is working collaboratively with DBCA, Water Corporation and the Department of Health to reduce the mosquito numbers at The Spectacles. The aerial application of larvicides has been recommended as the most appropriate control option. However, a trial catch tray assessment combined with pre and post treatment larval sampling will need to be undertaken to understand the effectiveness for ongoing treatment and suitable application rate. The aerial larvicides used in WA are S-methoprene and Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (Bti). These products are target specific and have negligible impact on other aquatic and terrestrial species when used at label rates.

    The trial aerial treatment date will be determined based on the availability of the helicopter contractor, environmental factors, meteorological factors and larval activity at the Spectacles. There will be further announcement once the treatment date is confirmed.

    ​FAQ's

      Will the chemicals used for larvicidal treatment harm the birds, animals or humans?

      Vectoprime mosquito larvicide will be used in the trial treatment. The two active ingredients in Vectoprime are S-Methoprene and Bti, (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) and are the most environmentally appropriate products available for mosquito control and are utilised across the world. Both of these larvicides have been approved for use by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, approved by the Department of Health and are certified for the management of mosquitoes in natural and urban environments. Both are exempt from poisons scheduling. Extensive studies have been undertaken showing that the use of S-Methoprene and Bti has no negative impact on birds, other wildlife and aquatic invertebrates. The chemical is used during the aerial treatment in the Peel Region. The chemical is not considered hazardous to humans based on appropriate application in accordance with the manufacturer’s and Department of Health instructions.

      The aerial treatment may be aborted if there are significantly large number of birds present showing no intention to fly away from the treatment areas.

      Why can’t you commence treatment now?

      Mosquito breeding at The Spectacles is primarily determined by environmental and meteorological factors such as rainfall and temperature. The City requires access permissions and authorisations from the landowners and management bodies including the Water Corporation and the DBCA.

      The City has set up multiple monitoring sites and is working with the Department of Health to establish when an aerial treatment is required. After reviewing the data, the Department of Health notifies the helicopter contractor of the proposed treatment date. The City will also conduct a post-treatment survey to determine the effectiveness of the larvicide treatment.

      Why is a trial required?

      The trial treatment aims to achieve the following:

      • An initial treatment to achieve a successful kill rate of the mosquito larval population breeding in the site at the time of the treatment.
      • Determine if the larvicide product penetrates the tree canopy and if it is an effective option for ongoing mosquito management.
      • Determine the suitable application rate of larvicide product (within product approved limits) for the product to reach the water surface.

      If the trial is successful, the City will continue to request for support from the owners of the land, DBCA and the Department of Health. Ongoing treatment may be carried out if monitoring results continue to show significant mosquito breeding and that there is adequate financial support to implement the treatment.

      Have you considered alternatives other than aerial larvicide treatment?

      Aerial treatment is the best option as access to the Spectacles is very difficult due to dense canopies, vegetation with multiple stems and organic substrates. The Spectacles is a conservation wetland and a Bush Forever site.

      The City is also working with the Water Corporation to ensure that the Peel Main Drain that runs through the North and South Wetland is cleared from overgrown vegetation.

      What are you doing about other areas in Kwinana?

      In 2021, there are 13 traps and 12 larval sampling sites around Kwinana and these sites are continuing to grow. Some of these traps are not fixed and are continuously relocated to ensure new areas are investigated. Monitoring of adult mosquito populations are carried out on a fortnightly basis between September and April, and once per month for the remainder of the year (May to August). Regular surveys will assist to indicate the current mosquito populations and provide information on changes in habitats which may give rise to mosquito population fluctuations. Larvicidal treatment may be undertaken in areas where results demonstrate that disease thresholds are exceeded. The City also requires private landowners and developers to manage mosquito breeding.

      The City is unable to treat all breeding areas and it is crucial that residents also take measures in their own properties and undertake personal protection.

      Why won’t the City consider fogging?

      Fogging is not recommended as it only kills adult mosquitoes and not controlling larvae breeding. Fogging may potentially be harmful to non-target species and only provides short term control with no residual effect.

      Mosquito management program

      The City of Kwinana runs a mosquito management program throughout the year, with particular focus during the peak mosquito season. Together with the City of Cockburn and Department of Health, a Contiguous Local Authority Group (CLAG) was formed to work towards the management of mosquito populations.

      The group meets regularly to discuss management actions, monitoring and treatment results, climate forecasts and educational opportunities. The Department of Health contributes expert advice and assistance along with financial support for Local Government programs.

      Mosquito prevention around your home

      Mosquitoes can breed around your home. They will lay their eggs in fresh or salty water, and often in containers that hold water. Common breeding sites include pot plant drip trays, gutters, ponds, pet water bowls, old tyres, rubbish, containers and pools that are not well maintained.

      You can help to prevent mosquitoes breeding around your home by following these simple steps;

      • empty out or discard containers and rubbish that may hold water;

      • remove stagnant water sources such as pot plant bases and self-watering pots by emptying regularly at least once a week;

      • clean out roof gutters to prevent water from pooling;

      • ensure fly screens on doors and windows are kept in good condition;

      • empty, clean and refill bird baths, stock troughs and pet water bowls at least once a week;

      • keep swimming pools properly maintained, chlorinated and free of debris or emptied;

      • empty wading pools at the end of each day;

      • stock backyard ponds with fish to eat mosquito larvae;

      • cover rainwater and septic tank openings, wells or other large water containers with mosquito-proof mesh; and

      • keep edges of ponds clear of vegetation.

      Personal protection

      Personal Protection and Mosquito Management in Kwinana.

      If mosquitoes continue to be a problem around your home, please contact the City's Environmental Health Department on 9439 0475. ​​

      Bees

      Is there a bee hive on Council verges or parks that requires removal? Is there a bee problem in one of the reserves or bushland managed by the Council? 

      Find out how to report a problem on the keeping bees page.

      European wasps

      European wasps are declared pests in Western Australia and must be reported to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

      Every year, fertilised European wasp queens are accidentally transported into our state in freight, cargo and vehicles from Eastern Australia. They must be detected and eradicated if we are to remain free of this pest.

      There are distinctive characteristics between European wasps and other wasp species and insects in Western Australia.

      Find out how to identify European Wasps.

      Rats

      Rats are a major health risk to the community. They can assist in the transmission of serious diseases.

      There are many ways you can prevent rats becoming unwanted visitors on your property;

      • regularly remove garden waste and other disused material from your yard;
      • remove fallen fruits and nuts from trees to reduce food sources (this also assists with fly prevention;
      • keep pet food and dishes clean and only feed pets enough food for the day;
      • store pet food in rodent-proof containers;
      • ensure any compost heaps/bins are covered of kept free of holes to reduce th access of scraps by rodents;
      • install rat baiting stations around your yard and monitor them to ensure that an adequate bait supply is maintained;
      • set traps in areas of harbourage; and
      • block any potential access points/holes around your home, such as around air conditioning services or electrical conduit entries into the roof cavity (please ensure that you do not seal up 'weepholes' or other ventilation bricks required to remove moisture from your home cavities).

      Rodent bait can be an effective way to rid your property of pests. Make sure you follow the guidelines for the safety of you, your family and your pets.

      Alternatively, a licensed pest control operator may assist by completing a pest control treatment.

      Note: If the problem in your area persists, one of the City’s Environmental Health Officers may visit your property to discuss rodent activity further with you. Rodents can be controlled where neighbours work cooperatively to limit food and harbourage.

      Termites

      Termites – also called white ants – occur naturally throughout Australia. There are many species. Only a few species pose a major threat to buildings because they eat wood and other materials containing cellulose plant fibre. If left unchecked, they can destroy both the strength and appearance of timbers in buildings. 

      Because the termite nest is often beneath the soil surface, entry into a building can go unnoticed as severe structural damage may take a long time to become visible. If termites are discovered on your property there is no need to panic, but they do need to be investigated by a registered pest control operator. The Building Code of Australia stipulates that all new buildings require some form of protection from termite entry.

      Protection can take the form of a chemical barrier or a physical barrier, or a combination of the two.

      For more information, see Treatment Against Entry of Termites.

      Information handouts

      A range of pests can affect your property and propose a health risk for people. Below are handouts on a range of different pests and nuisances and actions you can take to prevent or treat the problem.

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