Protect yourself from mosquitoes

Cover up

Wear long, loose-fitting and light-coloured clothing, covering as much of the body as you can. Mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing like jeans.

Repel with repellent

Mosquitoes detect carbon dioxide and the ‘smell’ of our skin. Properly applied repellents can mask these triggers and prevent you from being bitten.

There are important things to remember when applying mosquito repellent:

  • Use a mosquito repellent containing either DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (PMD), that have been approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
  • If you prefer to use APVMA registered plant-based repellents, be prepared to reapply more frequently, as they don’t last as long.
  • Read the label and use as directed, including age restrictions for use on children.
  • Never allow children to apply their own repellent. Parents and carers should apply first to their hands and then to the exposed skin of children.
  • Registered mosquito repellents are safe for use for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Read the label and use as directed.
  • Apply evenly to all areas of exposed skin, like you would with sunscreen. A few dabs here and there or spraying on your clothes will not protect you. It might help to apply pump or roll-on formulas to your hands and then spread it on your skin.
  • Apply repellent to skin after sunscreen.
  • Please check the ‘best before’ date before use. If it has been stored for a long time, it may not be giving you the best protection.
  • Re-apply repellent regularly, as per label instructions.

Find more information on protecting your baby or toddler from mosquito bites.

Mosquito coils can also help protect from mosquitoes when outside. Using them in combination with topical insect repellents will provide the best protection. Always follow instructions on the label. To prevent house or structure fires, never leave burning coils unattended especially overnight.

Stop mosquitoes coming indoors

Follow these tips to stop mosquitoes from coming inside:

  • Place mosquito-proof mesh on doors, windows, vents and chimneys.
  • Cover your sleeping areas with mosquito nets or insect screens.
  • Aerosol or surface insect sprays can help control mosquitoes inside the home but always follow instructions on the label.

Eliminate mosquitoes from breeding

Mosquitoes breed in still, fresh or salty water, and often in puddles and containers.

Follow these tips to stop mosquitoes breeding in and around your home:

  • Cover rainwater tank overflows, septic tank openings, wells or other large water containers with mosquito-proof mesh.
  • Maintain roof gutters and remove leaves and debris so that pools of water do not form.
  • Keep edges of dams clear of vegetation.
  • Empty and refill birdbaths, stock troughs and pet drinking bowls at least once a week.
  • Maintain and disinfect swimming pools.
  • Empty wading pools at the end of each day.
  • Keep swimming pools well maintained or empty or securely covered if not in use.
  • Ornamental ponds, unused swimming pools or other water bodies should be emptied regularly, or stocked with small Australian native fish to eat any mosquito larvae ('wrigglers').
  • Put sand in the base of outdoor plant pots to prevent water pooling.

Water conservation, collection or storage

Mosquitoes can also breed in containers or tanks used to store stormwater, greywater and rainwater.

Follow these tips to stop mosquitoes from breeding in and around your home:

  • Water tanks and containers should be emptied, fitted with a sealing lid, or openings covered with mosquito-proof mesh.
  • If mosquito larvae ('wrigglers') are present, then screen or close-off the point of entry.
  • Do not allow water to pool in containers below the outlets or taps.

As a last resort, rainwater tanks can be treated by adding a small amount of liquid paraffin or domestic kerosene. Do not apply kerosene if water levels are low.

Add 5ml of kerosene or one teaspoon for a 1 kilolitre tank – up to 15ml or 3 teaspoons for a 10 kilolitre tank. When using paraffin, double the dose.

Consult your rainwater tank manufacturer about whether kerosene can be used. Commercial or industrial kerosenes, such as power kerosene for tractors, should not be used in rainwater tanks.