Queensland Fruit Fly
Queensland fruit fly (QFF) (Bactrocera tryoni) attacks a wide range of fruits and fruiting vegetables, leaving them inedible.
Produce damaged by QFF can cause real disappointment for home gardeners, however if left uncontrolled, QFF can lead to total crop losses across the horticultural industry.
Managing QFF in your garden can be a challenge; but there are various strategies you can implement to protect your home-grown produce and in turn, help protect our horticultural industry.
Find out more about QFF and how you can help stop their spread from Agriculture Victoria or the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area Committee.
There are almost 100 species of mosquitoes in our region. Many can be serious pests by interfering with outdoor activities, while others can pose serious public health concerns by carrying and transmitting diseases such as Ross River Virus, Barmah Forrest Virus, Murray Valley Encephalitis and dog heartworm. A combined effort between the community and Council can help reduce the impact of these pests.
The most effective way of controlling mosquito activity, in public and around the home, is targeting where mosquitoes breed. By destroying, or disrupting the breeding sites, mosquitoes will be less active in your area.
Where do mosquitoes breed?
Mosquitoes commonly breed in stagnant, undisturbed bodies of water. These bodies of water are commonly found around the house in places such as:
- Irrigation runoff and puddles
- Septic tanks
- Ponds and pools
- Pot plants
- Water tanks
- Roof gutters
How can you prevent mosquitoes biting?
- Use insect repellents containing picaridin or DEET as an active ingredient on exposed skin when engaging in any outdoor activity.
- Ensure that insect screens fitted to doors and windows are in good condition.
- Use mosquito coils or citronella candles in small outdoor protected areas
- Wear long, loose-fitting clothing, preferably light colours
- Remove stagnant water around the home or campsites, paying particular attention to the breeding sites listed above
- Report public sites of mosquito activity to Council
Further information on mosquito control around the house, visit Better Health Channel website or contact Council’s Environmental Health Services on (03) 5018 8216 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Council's role in mosquito control
Mildura Rural City Council implements an annual mosquito control program from November to April every year, in conjunction with the Department of Health. The program includes the monitoring and treating of public sites as required, as well as trapping and identifying mosquito species. By identifying the species of mosquitoes in the area, along with disease surveillance in bird populations, Council and Department of Health are able to monitor possible disease activity in the area.
Council also works on educating the community to eliminate breeding sites from around their homes, and to protect themselves from getting bitten by mosquitoes. This includes educational visits and displays at schools and other public locations.
Rats and mice are destructive pests and can spread disease. The information below is designed to assist residents in preventing outbreaks of rats and mice in our community.
The Norway Rat and Roof Rat are both found in our region. The Norway Rat, commonly known at a Sewer Rat, in not a good climber, instead building an elaborate system of tunnels and burrow at ground level. The Roof Rat prefers to live in trees, vines and other dense vegetation. It will infest rafters or roofs and the upper level of buildings.
Signs to look out for if you suspect you have rats at your property include:
- Rat droppings – thin, black and about 1 centimetre in length
- Gnawing marks – rats gnaw at objects to control the growth of their teeth. Usually on materials such as wood, soft metals, soap, food containers and electrical wiring.
- Eaten food – fruits, vegetables and packets of foods that have teeth marks in them. These maybe found in protected areas (i.e. against fence lines)
- Rat runs – rats have poor vision and oily coats. Over time, marks form along walls or fences and a path becomes worn into dust or grass. By following the rat run, the rat may be traced to its shelter.
- Sounds – squeaking, gnawing or movements in cupboards, ceilings or under floors.
The adult house mouse is small and slender and about 25 – 30mm long, excluding the tail. It has large ears, pointed nose and small eyes. The tail is as long at the head and body combined. The fur colour varies, but it is usually a light grey or brown. Mice will eat almost everything, but prefer cereal grains, seeds or sweet material. They require very little water, obtaining most of their requirements from their food.
A house mouse in a city environment may spend its entire life inside buildings. In rural and suburban settings, it may also be found outside near foundations, in shrubs, weeds, crawl spaces, basements, or garages. They survive well on weeds, seeds, or insects, but when their food supply is shortened by the colder months, they move inside nesting closer to a food supply. They make their nest from soft material like paper, insulation, or furniture stuffing. These nests are found in many places including walls, ceiling voids, storage boxes, drawers, under major appliances, or within the upholstery of furniture. Outside the nests are found in debris or in ground burrows.
Discouraging Rats & Mice
Rats and mice can be discouraged from your property by denying them food and shelter. Steps to deny mice and rat’s food and shelter include:
- Keeping your yard clean and tidy. Do not allow junk and garden waste to build up over time
- Store timber at least 30 cm above the ground. Do not store it on the ground or against sheds or fences
- Keep grass cut short around your property
- Regularly clean up fallen fruit or nuts from trees
- Store all poultry and animal food in metal bins with tight fitting lids. Keep poultry areas and aviaries clean and tidy. Only allow enough grain or food scraps for each day to prevent providing a food source for rats.
- All food scraps should be kept in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the base of compost bins clear of vegetation and do not throw meat or dog faeces into the compost bin.
- Waste Storage areas should be kept clean at all times and any food spills should be cleaned up immediately.
European wasps can be cause of major concern in terms of their ability to bite and attack residents if disturbed, particularly during the warmer months of the year when they are most active. Responsibility for eradication of nests depends on whether the nest is located on Council or on private property. It is often very difficult to locate a European Wasps nest, as they can nest in the ground, under floorboards and even in the wall cavity of houses and buildings.
Wasps on Council Property
When wasps are located on Council land or property, they should be reported so they can be treated and eradicated as soon as possible. If you suspect a wasp or bee’s nest on Council property or land, contact Council’s Environmental Health Services on (03) 5018 8216 or email@example.com.
Wasps on Private Property
Nests located on private property remain the responsibility of the property owner, or tenant (depending on the lease agreement), who must arrange to have the nest treated by a pest controller, or treat the nest themselves. Council’s Environmental Health Services can offer advice on the treatment of the nests.
Discouraging European Wasps
Below are some simple steps you can take to prevent attracting wasps to your garden and house:
- Keep compost heaps and rubbish covered at all times
- Remove old or damaged fruit trees, as well as any fallen fruit
- Clean up dogs bones/meat from the yard
- Cover or remove pet food when not being eaten by your pets
- Avoid using sprinklers or watering your garden during the day
- Maintain all dripping taps and minimise sources of water where possible
- Cover bird baths or fish ponds with fine mesh or shade cloth
- Cover swimming pools with a plastic sheet and remove wasps before swimming. Don’t try to remove live wasps with your bare hands
- Remove climbers such as ivy from the garden, as wasps find this very attractive and frequently nest in stands of ivy
- Cover all windows with fly screens
- Keep yards tidy and remove any leaf litter from gardens
- Keep bottles and cans covered to prevent wasps entering
While native wasps and bees do not generally pose a health risk to people, they can be a nuisance. Council can provide information on determining native wasps from European Wasps, and advice about relocating bee hives to suitable locations.
Mud wasps and Paper Wasps are often confused with European Wasps. Mud Wasps are black and yellow in colour, but are much larger then European Wasps. Their nest is made of mud and their mud tunnels can be found on buildings. They are not dangerous and seldom sting humans.
Paper Wasps are reddish brown in colour and their nests are a round honeycomb design and off-white in colour. Their nests are generally located in tree branches and on buildings. They will only sting when they feel that their nest is threatened.
Council is happy to offer general advice to people who have concerns of wasps or bees, however it is generally recommended that you contact a Licensed Pest Controller to control or eradicate the nest.
As with European Wasps, eradication or relocation of bees located on private property is the responsibility of the tenant or property owner. Generally, it is advised that they have the hive treated by a pest controller, treat the hive themselves or seek information to have the hive relocated by an apiarist.
Bee hives located on Council land and properties can be reported to Council, who will arrange for the removal of the hive as soon as possible.