The dengue mosquito In north Queensland the dengue virus is spread by a highly domesticated species of mosquito (Aedes aegypti). In Australia, this mosquito
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, Nov 12 9:49 PM
The dengue mosquito
In north Queensland the dengue virus is spread by a highly domesticated species of mosquito (Aedes aegypti). In Australia, this mosquito is currently only found in inland and coastal population centres of Queensland. There are no records to date of it being found in Queensland's southeast corner.
The dengue mosquito (Ae. aegypti ) mosquito can spread all types of dengue.
How can I tell if it's a dengue mosquito?
The dengue mosquito looks like many other mosquitoes in north Queensland so it is difficult for the layperson to identify without the use of a microscope. As a rule of thumb, if you have mosquitoes biting you indoors during the day in north Queensland, it is likely that they
are dengue mosquitoes.
The dengue mosquito can more readily be identified by its behaviour. Look for these signs:
It likes to live indoors and bite people indoors
It is hard to catch; it moves very quickly, darting back and forth
It likes to hide under furniture and bite people around the feet and ankles
Its bite is often painless, so people may not notice they are being bitten or they may think they are being bitten by sandflies/biting midges.
Where does the dengue mosquito live and breed?
The dengue mosquito is unusual in that it does not breed in swamps or drains, and does not often bite at night.
It is sometimes referred to as the 'cockroach of mosquitoes' because, unlike most mosquitoes that prefer swamps and bushland, the dengue mosquito is truly domesticated and prefers to live in and around people's homes.
Dengue mosquito breeding sites
The dengue mosquito frequents backyard rubbish and junk in search of dengue mosquito breeding sites. It lays eggs primarily in artificial containers holding water inside and outside the home, such as:
pot plant dishes
tyres - discarded with no rims
roof gutters blocked by leaves
tarpaulins and black plastic.
Photo: Dengue mosquito larvae It can also breed in natural containers like:
fallen palm fronds.
In dryer conditions it also breeds in subterranean sites such as:
The dengue mosquito does not fly very far, so if you get rid of mosquito breeding sites around your home, you will significantly reduce your risk of being bitten by dengue mosquitoes.
The adult mosquito prefers to rest in dark areas inside and under houses and buildings. Favourite resting spots are under beds, tables and chairs; in wardrobes and closets; on piles of dirty laundry and shoes; inside open boxes; in dark and quiet rooms; and even on dark objects such as clothing or furniture.
The dengue mosquito prefers to bite humans during daylight. It is very cautious when biting, flying away quickly at the slightest disturbance. An effective way to kill the adult mosquito is to apply a residual insecticide (cockroach surface spray) onto the areas where they prefer to rest.
How does the
dengue mosquito transmit the disease?
A female dengue mosquito becomes infected with dengue when biting an infected human who is viraemic, ie. there are enough dengue virus particles in the person's blood to infect a mosquito.
Dengue can spread very swiftly. An infected person can transmit the virus to mosquitoes within 3-4 days of being bitten and can continue to do so up to 12 days. Dengue is not spread directly from person to person.
In 8-10 days the infected mosquito is able to transmit the virus to other people. Thus the cycle of transmission takes only 14 days. One dengue-infected female mosquito is capable of biting and infecting several people
during one feeding session. Mosquito control activities consequently need to be timely and highly effective.