'Tis the season for creepy crawlies
March 14, 2010 - 2:11PM
Are the mozzies so bad you’re vacuuming the walls before you go to bed? Or have you spotted a python or two in your ceiling of late?
The weather in southeast Queensland recently may have topped up our dams – but it’s also filled our gardens and houses with the dreaded creepy crawlies.
Mosquito controllers have been out in full force trying to tackle the latest tidal wave of buzzing, while six Queenslanders were taken to hospital last week suffering snake bites.
Among those treated was a 15-month-old Bundaberg boy who was bitten on the stomach and a 26-year-old man taken to Ipswich Hospital with a suspected brown snake bite.
Snake catcher Simon Grainger, who is called out to houses within the Brisbane City Council and Redlands areas, says the past couple of weeks have been very busy.
He said he had been called out to Brisbane’s bayside suburbs in particular, where people were mainly finding pythons and tree snakes in their yards or houses – but he had seen other more dangerous species as well.
"I’ve been out to Redland Bay, Capalaba, Cleveland … I’ve had a few black snakes and just the other day a red bellied black snake," he said.
"You could say it’s a mixture of the heat and rain that brings the snakes out.
"It’s coming into the months where they will be slowing down, so in the current weather they’re out looking for food."
Mr Grainger said it was a food chain reaction that started with the smallest of the creepy crawlies.
"What’s happened is that the rain has brought out food for the snakes," he said.
"The ants and the spiders come out in this weather, then the lizards and frogs come out to eat them, then the snakes come out to eat the frogs … it’s just the normal food chain and it’s been amplified by the weather we’ve had.
"Despite the increase in visibility of snakes, I need to remind people that killing them is illegal – they are a protected species – and if you spot one, keep an eye on it and call a wildlife rescue centre."
Brisbane City Council entomologist Mike Muller said he had received a phone call from a Wynnum resident who had never seen the mosquitoes so bad in the 20 years she had lived there.
"She said her family were vacuuming the ceilings and the walls before they went to bed because they were covered in mozzies," Mr Muller said.
"It’s times like this that I realise how effective our spraying is, because just think of how bad things would be living in southeast Queensland if we didn’t treat this problem regularly."
Mr Muller said getting helicopters up into the air to spray was made difficult with the recent near-cyclonic conditions.
"The helicopters were grounded for a few days and instead of getting the job done in one day, it was spread over four days which means a lot of the (mosquito) larvae…it would have been too late."
Once the larvae had hatched, the mosquitos were willing to travel halfway across Brisbane to find their perfect feed, Mr Muller said.
"We’ve seen saltmarsh mosquitos spread from Boondall Wetlands all the way to Chermside, Ascot and Hamilton.
"We’ve fielded calls from Carindale and Norman Park with mosquito problems that have started out at Wynnum," he said.
Mr Muller said the tiniest pockets of water around people’s homes was always the hardest to control.