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Surprise reason ‘huge’ mosquitoes terrifying Aussies are not to fear

Experts reveal size is not the thing to be concerned about, as councils spend millions to get rid of mozzies.

Parts of the country have been in the grips of a "war" with mosquitoes following humid, wet weather but locals are beginning to question "what on earth" is going on with these unwanted insects as some appear to be larger than normal.

Areas in Queensland have been experiencing swarms of mosquitoes so much so that the City of Gold Coast recently announced they are pledging an additional $1 million to "tackle the escalating issue", while Brisbane City Council told Yahoo News Australia they have an "unlimited budget" to do the same.

Among the influx of mosquitoes flying around are "huge" ones terrifying locals. But experts reveal these are not the ones to fear.

 Left image of a large mosquito. Right image of multiple mosquitoes on white netting.
Elephant mosquitoes may look intimidating but they are not the species to be worried about. Source: Reddit/City of Gold Coast

"We've had a fair few mosquitoes around after some wet weather but this is really oversized," one person shared online alongside a photo of a large mozzie. "What on earth is going on with the mosquitoes in Brisbane?", shared another separately.

No need to be afraid of the giant mosquitoes

Toxorhynchites, known commonly as elephant mosquitoes, are large mosquitoes found along the eastern and north coast of Australia and are the gentle giants of the Culicinae subfamily.

Surprisingly, though their size can cause fear they aren’t considered harmful as adults don’t feed on blood according to Nicole Gunter, Scientist and Curator Entomology, Queensland Museum.

"Their larvae are considered beneficial as they feed on the larvae of other mosquito species, including those that can transmit diseases," she told Yahoo.

This is in comparison with the smaller mosquitoes which are the target of mosquito control programs — including saltmarsh mosquitoes (Aedes vigilax), freshwater-breeding mosquitoes (Culex annulirostris), and container-breeding mosquitoes (Aedes notoscriptus).

Image of a mosquito on a person, sucking their blood.
Other species such as the saltmarsh mosquitoes (Aedes vigilax) or freshwater-breeding mosquitoes are the target of council control programs. Source: Getty

Council spraying '2,400 sites a week' to stem mosquito numbers

Pest management teams on the Gold Coast and Brisbane have been dropping aerial sprays — when airplanes or helicopters spray low volumes of insecticides into areas where mosquitoes are a problem — and performing other pest management tactics in the fight against increased mosquito numbers due to it increasing the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

"We have dedicated all possible resources to getting this situation under control, and will continue to prioritise this work as we know it is a priority for our community right now," CEO of the City of Gold Coast Tim Baker said.

The City announced at the end of January they have "waged a war" on mosquitoes and Baker revealed their additional $1 million of resources will be used to purchase more all-terrain vehicles and trailers, increase their aerial spray program, and continue drone trials.

Brisbane City Council's Civic Cabinet Chair for City Standards Kim Marx told Yahoo on Friday they are currently spraying "2,400 sites a week" on the ground — a "140 per cent increase" on their normal spraying schedule — and have completed nine aerial sprays this financial year.

According to Marx, it is the "only local government in Australia to employ expert entomologists". "And when they say to spray, we spray," she said.

"We have an unlimited budget to tackle mozzies and will continue our increased spaying schedule as long as the expert entomologist tell us it’s required."

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