Australians have been urged to take care against mosquito-borne viruses after the heavy rains and flooding in some parts of the country.
The recent wet weather, together with high temperatures are a precursor for mosquito infestations, particularly where there is pooled, stagnant water.
But mosquito bites aren’t just an annoyance, these insects carry diseases such as malaria, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest Fever, Zika virus and Murray Valley Encephalitis.
The symptoms associated with these infections can be mild or serious, and in some cases deadly.
It’s best to take preventative action to avoid being bitten, including removing all pooling leftover rain water around your property, covering your arms and legs when outdoors, avoiding the outdoors during dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is at its highest and applying insect repellent when going outside.
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family is by having retractable screen doors installed on all your windows and doors.
Evidence That Retractable Screen Doors Can Help Prevent Mosquito-borne Disease Outbreaks
In a scientific article published in March 2019 in Lancet Planetary Health, a team from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the Ifakara Health Institute supplied evidence that insect screens, even with no insecticide, kept mosquito populations down and significantly reduced malaria in the city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
The researchers highlighted “the remarkable contribution of window screens to this near-collapse of malaria transmission,” in the city.
Read more about the study at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190321102843.htm
While malaria is not prevalent in Australia, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest Fever and Murray Valley Encephalitis are, and having windows and doors covered with fly screens will have simila results by minimising mosquito bites.
With humid conditions expected to continue and temperatures in Queensland expected to reach into the mid-40s throughout the month, mosquito populations are expected to soar, however there are ways to ensure you are protected.
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET, especially when outdoors.
- Dress with long sleeves and trousers to cover your arms and legs.
- Avoid strong fragrances which attract mosquitoes such as some scented lotions and perfumes.
- Dispose of standing water around your property because these are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Protect your home by having your doors and windows covered by retractable screen doors.
Helping in The Fight Against Global Insect Extinctions
Retractable screen doors are not only effective in protecting you and your family from potentially dangerous mosquitoes, but they do so in a way that does not contribute to the extinction of insect populations.
While mosquitoes can be dangerous to human health, not all insects are dangerous and in fact most are crucial to the various ecosystems and human welfare.
Sadly, over the past few decades, insect populations have declined. Recently an international group of conservation biologists published a report detailing the global decline of insects.
In the report “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”, which was updated in 2017, scientists reviewed the consequences of insect species extinctions and how it could negatively impact humanity.
Contributing factors to this decline in insect populations include,
“degradation and fragmentation of habitats; harmful agricultural practices; the widespread use of polluting and toxic substances; climate change; introduction of alien invasive species; overexploitation and by driving the extinction of species that vitally depend upon others for their very survival”
See more at https://www.forbes.com/sites/grrlscientist/2020/02/14/scientists-again-warn-about-global-insect-declinebut-will-we-act/#38ee47d3356a
Keeping Insects Out Without Killing Them
Given the serious implications for humanity, it is crucial that we use methods to keep insects out without harming them, especially species that are experiencing significant declines in numbers such as bees.
Insecticides and pesticides, as well as the increased destruction of their habitat have led to insect numbers drastically declining.
Retractable screen doors keep insects such as potentially dangerous mosquitoes out without harming those that are on the brink of extinction.