Vermin – rats and mice
Council often receives enquiries and complaints about vermin, including rats and mice which are capable of carrying or transmitting diseases.
Just about anywhere humans and their settlements are located, you will find rats and mice.
The more commonly known rat and mouse species introduced to Australia are the Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus), the Roof Rat (Rattus rattus) and the House Mouse (Mus musculus).
These animals are well adapted to living in very close association with humans, sharing their food, water and shelter.
Council’s Environmental Health and Regulatory Unit works constantly in various ways to reduce numbers of introduced rodent species in public areas without harming our native wildlife, including native rat species such as the giant white-tailed rat (Uromys caudimaculatus).
Property owners and occupiers should ensure their own buildings and garden vegetation do not attract or provide shelter for vermin, or encourage vermin to breed.
The Public Health Regulation 2005 makes it an offence for people to harbor or breed vermin on their property.
The most effective ways to reduce vermin numbers is to eradicate their food source and eliminate their shelter. If you experience vermin problems on your property, Council recommends you engage a licensed pest controller to check your premises and give qualified advice.
If the source of pests is a neighbouring property, Council is able to approach the property owner or resident and provide advice. In serious cases, Council may issue an Order to have premises treated for pests.
Mosquito vector control
The Douglas Shire has a tropical climate with lush rainforests, mangroves and high rainfall, all of which contribute to ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes and biting midges.
More than 220 mosquito species can be found in Queensland, and many of these are carriers of diseases such as Malaria, Ross River Fever and Dengue Fever. Fortunately, none of these diseases are endemic to this area. However, they can be easily introduced by infected visitors to Tropical North Queensland from countries where the diseases occur.
Vector Control Unit
Vectors are animals which carry bacteria, parasites, viruses or other micro-organisms that are hazardous to human health. Council’s Vector Control Unit works to reduce the numbers of mosquitoes and midges to an acceptable level and to assist in limiting the spread of vector-borne diseases.
The Vector Control Unit’s main activities are:
- Response to complaints of vector breeding
- Cooperation with Queensland Health in anti-Dengue Fever procedures
- Proactive on-site monitoring procedures to determine breeding sites and vector species
Nuisance mosquito control
Mosquitoes require water in which to breed. Females lay eggs on the water surface or on water’s edge. The eggs hatch into larvae (wrigglers) which live under the water and become pupae (tumblers) which again live under the water, before emerging from the water as an adult, flying mosquito.
Council endeavors to use only environmentally friendly chemicals which have been specifically approved for mosquito control.
Dengue Fever is transmitted to people by the bite of an infected Stegomyia aegypti (formerly known as Aedes aegypti) mosquito. The virus is not directly contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person.
The Dengue mosquito is a domestic species that primarily breeds in still fresh water in and around houses, businesses and yards – in containers such as buckets, tyres, roof guttering, tarpaulins, boats, coconut shells, fallen palm fronds, children’s toys and pot plant bases.
Council’s Vector Control team educates householders to remove potential breeding sites around their properties and works closely with Queensland Health in the event of a suspected Dengue Fever outbreak.
Delegated Queensland Health and Council officers have the jurisdiction to enter a property to assess whether there are Dengue mosquitoes breeding on that site. To find out more about Dengue Fever, including how to reduce the risk, symptoms and outbreak status, visit Dengue Fever Facts or visit the Queensland Health Dengue website.
Defend against Dengue in your backyard
All residents can join in the battle to stop the spread of dengue fever before it starts – look after your own backyard and protect yourself against bites.
Mosquitoes carrying dengue fever live around and inside homes. They can breed in the smallest amounts of water – such as in a palm frond or a pot plant base. Be vigilant and tip out any water that gathers around your home, and wear insect repellent during the day.
If you suspect you have dengue (symptoms include high fever, nausea, severe headaches and sore joints), apply repellent and seek medical attention immediately.
Eliminate Dengue is an international research program developing a new and natural approach to control the spread of dengue fever. Read more at www.eliminatedengue.com.