Mosquito management: Views of accountability and their variance across neighborhoods in Perth, Western Australia
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Public demand for residential land near natural wetlands has risen in Australia without sufficient account being given to the health risks posed by mosquitoes. A study conducted over the 2015-2016 Summer assessed residents’ knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding the management of backyard mosquito breeding. Backyard inspections identified breeding habitats and quantified the mosquito fauna associated with residential dwellings. Residents living closer to natural mosquito breeding sites were more likely to regard mosquito management and abatement as a joint responsibility shared with their local government authority and seemed willing to take action within their own residential lot to reduce mosquito breeding potential. As distance from natural mosquito breeding sites increased, resident attitudes seemed to increasingly reflect a view of mosquito control as ‘someone else’s responsibility’; typically one for government to address. Consistent with this, residents living further from natural breeding sites appeared less likely to identify mosquito breeding potential in their own backyards or to take steps to reduce container breeding capacity. Rather than fear-related communication, public campaigns that emphasize better understanding of mosquito breeding and accurately communicate risks and responsibilities seem important if disease risks posed by mosquitoes are to be mitigated.