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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the SMS program free?

Yes. Tackling Mosquitoes Together is proudly funded by the NSW Government in association with Local Government NSW.

It is a collaboration between the seven Northern Rivers Councils and the North Coast Public Health Unit.

Note: your mobile phone carrier may charge for data use and if you choose to send SMS messages in reply.

How do I sign up to the SMS program?

Join our SMS program by filling out this short form.

How many text messages will I receive?

You will receive 1 SMS a week for 6 weeks from 23 October 2021. You can opt out at any time by replying STOP.

Is my personal data safe?

Yes. Tackling Mosquitoes Together is being managed by The Social Deck on behalf of the Northern Rivers Councils. Your data will be handled in accordance with The Social Deck's privacy policy.

Your data may be shared with relevant Norther Rivers Councils for the purposes of running Tackling Mosquitoes Together in the future.

What is included in my Tackling Mosquitoes Together education pack?

Your education pack comes in a calico bag that includes:
• a brochure
• a backyard checklist
• a bottle of repellent
• insect repellent tips
• a sticker

How do I get my education pack?

There are two ways to collect your education pack, depending on how you sign up.
If you join:
• online, you can collect your education pack from your local council
• at a community event, a friendly council staff member will give you your pack.

Are insect repellents safe?

Yes. The most effective and safe repellents contain at least one of the following active ingredients:

• Picardin
• Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

All repellents in Australia must be registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMP) to ensure they are safe and effective.

Never mix up your own repellent using essential oils. You are far more likely to irritate your skin.

Do councils have mosquito control (spraying) programs?

Some councils in the Northern Rivers run targeted mosquito control programs. However, in many areas of the region it is difficult to effectively control mosquitoes because their habitats are either so extensive, or located in national parks and other areas where insecticide use is not considered appropriate.

Will councils continue their mosquito control programs, as well as the Tackling Mosquitoes Together program?

Yes. Councils will continue their individual mosquito control programs. Tackling Mosquitoes Together is all about community action and doing our bit in our own backyards.Contact your local council for more information about their mosquito control programs.

Are there certain types of plants that repel mosquitoes?

Unfortunately not. The essential oils from some Australian trees, shrubs and herbs repel mosquitoes, but only after they have been extracted and concentrated. These trees and shrubs don’t offer protection from mosquitoes if they are planted in your garden.

If I tip water on a garden bed and there are eggs or larvae in it, can they still become active mozzies if they are far enough into the breeding cycle?

No. Mosquito larvae (or wrigglers) need standing water to complete their development. If they are ‘stranded’ on the ground, they won’t complete their development.

Why do mozzies bite some people more than others?

Mosquitoes bite because the females need blood to develop their eggs. They get their blood from a range of animals, but they also bite people. They can sense the carbon dioxide on our breath, as well as our body heat and the smell of our skin. The complex ‘smells’ of our skin help the mosquitoes to find and bite some people more than others. It is important to remember that even if you don’t think you’re a ‘mosquito magnet’, mosquitoes are still likely to bite you, so always make sure you protect yourself.

What are the most common types of mosquitoes and diseases in our local area?

There are dozens of different mosquitoes in northern NSW. Some are very rare or do not pose a pest or public health risk. The most common mosquitoes are found in coastal wetlands, freshwater habitats, or water-holding containers in our backyards. These mosquitoes bite and can spread pathogens that can make us sick, such as Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus. NSW is fortunate to be free of serious mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue and malaria.

Can I get malaria or dengue in the Northern Rivers?

No. Australia has been free of malaria for many decades.  There are no mosquitoes currently found in NSW that can transmit dengue viruses, but we need to be prepared for if this happens in future. Overseas travellers returning to northern NSW may be diagnosed with these mosquito-borne diseases, but there is no significant risk of local outbreaks at this stage.

What can I eat or drink to stop mosquitoes biting?

There are many urban myths about certain types of food and drinks that can stop mozzies biting, but no scientific evidence to support this. It’s always best to reduce mozzies in your backyard and use personal protection like repellent, protective clothing and coils.