Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Mosquitoes

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Further information

Department of Health: Public Health Information on Mosquitoes

City of Subiaco: Information on Mosquito Management 

Beating the bite of Mosquito-borne disease: A guide to personal protection strategies against mosquitoes

The grounds of the University and adjacent areas provide an environment supporting a diverse range of plants and animals including naturally occurring mosquitoes. High temperatures, rain and tidal variations can create favourable breeding conditions for mosquitoes, particularly on the Crawley campus.

Ross River virus

Ross River virus is a notifiable disease and the Environmental Health section of the Department of Health, Western Australia monitors these reported cases and advises the community of risks in their area. In the severe mosquito infestation of 2011, the species of mosquito in the Crawley area were not those commonly associated with the virus. A spokesperson for the Department of Health considered the risk of contracting Ross River virus to be very low at the time.

UWA mosquito management

Facilities Management Grounds and Maintenance staff actively control potential mosquito breeding sources on the Crawley campus. Storm water drains, dilution pits, ponds, gardens and other potential breeding sources are inspected and appropriate control methods applied if mosquito larvae are detected. The period of this program is from September to May. A qualified pest control contractor sprays locations around the campus as required. While mosquitoes may be evident in internal areas, such as entries and internal air conditioning ducts, the breeding sites are outside. Identification of the source and appropriate controls directed at the source is the emphasis of effective management of mosquitoes.

Other breeding sources

Off campus sources of mosquito breeding are numerous, with marsh and high water areas in the bird sanctuary at Pelican Point and adjacent areas being significant sources. While not under the control of the University, when infestations occur the University communicates with the City of Subiaco and the City of Nedlands who jointly undertake a mosquito management program for their areas. The Cities would also liaise, if required, with the Department of Environment and Conservation who control the bird sanctuary area.

What can staff do?

Although the University undertakes these initiatives to reduce mosquito numbers, it is not practical to eradicate all mosquitoes. Therefore it is important for staff, students and visitors to take the following personal measures to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Avoiding outdoor activities at sunset and dawn
  • Covering up with loose clothing (e.g. long sleeved tops and pants) and using effective mosquito repellent when outdoors. More information can be found at Beating the bite of Mosquito-borne disease: A guide to personal protection strategies against mosquitoes
  • Closing windows and doors to help reduce the number of mosquitoes in buildings
  • Reducing the amount of stagnant water e.g. in tyres, water in pots for plants, trailers and boats

For mosquito and other vermin issues staff should contact the Facilities Management Job Controller, preferably by completing an Online Request Form.

Research

For research involving animals, both protection of the animals from relevant mosquito-borne viruses and protection of the community from animal research into mosquito born viruses needs to be considered in the relevant risk management plan.