Growing Gardens

Mosquito borne diseases such as Ross River Fever are real problems in our area.

There are no effective treatments for these viruses - the advice is to simply rest until it goes away - so prevention is our only option.

Mozzies breed in standing water. There is little we can do about creeks running low or water caught inside hollow trees, but we can prevent mosquitoes breeding in our gardens.

Small ponds that don't have either a pump to keep the water moving or a few fish to control mosquito larvae need similar treatment. Keep an eye on bird baths, too, and clean up any toys, old boots or other things that will accumulate rainwater this spring and summer.

Bromeliads are wonderfully useful and decorative, but the vase-shaped species provide a perfect habitat for wrigglers. Flush out the tops of these plants at least once a week by squirting in hose water.

Another breeding site is pot-plant saucers. While you shouldn't let water stand in saucers anyway, it is tempting in hot weather and can be unavoidable for plants outside in the rain. The long-term solution for both plant health and mosquito prevention is to fill all saucers with gravel and sit the plant on top. You will improve the drainage immediately and foil the mozzies.

Even modern rain water tanks with inlet screens can still accommodate wrigglers. A low point in the gutter allows water to accumulate, mosquitoes lay eggs in the water and a rain shower washes the eggs into the tank through the screen. Keep a close watch on your tank water, and add a thin film of oil if you see wrigglers.

Lastly, check on bowls and water dispensers that you keep outside for your pets or livestock. Rinse out pet bowls every day, and clean and refill chook waterers regularly.


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