Thanks to the support of the Silkwood community, CSIRO scientists have successfully trialled new technology and studied mosquito behaviour to reduce the threat of mosquito transmitted diseases worldwide.
CSIRO’s project lead scientist Dr Nigel Beebe said, “We are testing technology for the rearing, sorting and release of mosquitoes with the aim to remove the species (Aedes aegypti) responsible for transmitting diseases such as dengue, Zika and Chikungunya, from the environment.”
“We are happy with the Silkwood data so far which indicates that a twice-weekly release presents effective results with enough males entering the landscape to mate with wild females.
“We have also learnt more about the movement, behaviour and lifespan of the male mosquito which helps us to determine how many we need to release in certain environments.”
The project team has received feedback from Silkwood residents that little impact has been felt over the three weeks of mosquito releases.
Sandra Taylor, (pictured, far right) a Silkwood resident and member of the project’s Community Reference Group said, “The CSIRO team have worked hard to inform the community. They are very friendly and accommodating and I’ll miss the boys’ regular visits to check my mozzie trap.”
Dr Beebe presented preliminary results to the Reference Group last Wednesday, along with a presentation to Silkwood State School who hosted a trap.
Principal Margaret Collins said, “The kids have been really enthusiastic learning about mozzies in their science class. They have even taken their excitement home to parents and family!”
Dr Beebe expressed gratitude to the Reference Group members for their contribution to the project and praised the Silkwood community for their support saying, “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to bring the project to this town. The people here have been really great to work with.”
The project team will head to Innisfail soon to start informing the community of an anticipated sterile male release in October. Silkwood residents and visitors are invited to continue to stay in touch and follow progress of the project.