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The effectiveness and environmental impacts of runnelling, a mosquito control technique

Latchford, Jane Ann (1997) The effectiveness and environmental impacts of runnelling, a mosquito control technique. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This study is concerned with the effectiveness and ecological impacts of a mosquito control technique called 'runnelling'. The objective of runnelling is to provide a low cost, low maintenance physical modification of the environment to provide effective control of saltmarsh mosquitoes with few other environmental impacts. The major objective of this thesis was to find out if runnelling is an effective means of controlling mosquito populations, and if so, to determine if the technique produces unacceptable changes in the ecology of saltmarshes.

Four saltmarshes were chosen for study, all known mosquito breeding sites in the Peel-Harvey Estuary. The general approach was to monitor populations of flora and fauna in control and funnelled pans before and after runnelling.

There was a significant reduction in larval mosquito populations at all runnelled sites, most consistently in spring and summer. Mosquito populations were reduced to below problem levels in most instances. The runnels operated effectively shortly after construction through a combination of flushing, increased predation and reduced oviposition. Runnel maintenance was high at one site, where they had been incorrectly positioned, but all other runnels only required cutting back of vegetation after summer.

The environmental changes resulting from runnelling were either minimal in comparison to the natural variations encountered on the marsh, or they increased productivity.

Runnelling is recommended as a appropriate method of mosquito control where the productivity of the saltmarsh is important ecologically. It is a safer mosquito control technique than the favoured alternative, the chemical temephos, which can kill non target fauna.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Science
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Davis, Jenny, Paling, Eric and McComb, Arthur
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