Melburnians are bracing themselves for a barrage of mosquitoes, thanks to heavy rain and flooding - the ideal breeding ground for the dreaded mozzie.
The mozzie plague has already arrived in the Murray River region, which was hardest hit by the recent flooding, with several councils urging residents to take precautions. Mildura Rural City Council has had workers out setting traps and using fogging techniques to 'smoke out' the insects.
The CBD is next in the mozzie's sights; swarms have already been spotted on the Surf Coast and the Mornington Peninsula. The Health Department is urging people to take precautions against being bitten, as mosquitoes can carry a variety of viruses, including Ross River and Barmah Forest virus.
They can also carry the potentially deadly Murray Valley Encephalitis virus, although this is very rare as there hasn't been a case of MVE since 1974.
Victoria has tolerated its second wettest September on record since 1916. The mosquitoes thrive in the wet conditions and, as it becomes warmer, there will be more and more of them.
"They have a large hole in the middle where the leaves come out, and that's exactly a place where mosquitoes can breed," Walker said.
How to protect yourself against the mozzie plague
1. Wear light-coloured and loose fitting clothing.(Mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing and they don't tend to be attracted to light colours.)
2. Empty any containers of water you might have around the house; kids paddle pools, keep your pet's water and bird baths regularly fresh.
3. Use insect spray, particularly at dawn and dusk when insects are mostly around. Make sure the spray contains DEET or picaridin.
4. Keep gutters and drains clear so water flows freely.
5. Try to keep inside at 'peak mosquito' times - dawn and dusk.