Eradication of the mosquito Culex sitiens from New Zealand
A small population of an exotic mosquito species detected near Kaipara harbour has been successfully eradicated.
Larvae of the Culex sitiens mosquito were found in March 2018 in the Kawau Parua Inlet during regular surveillance as part of Biosecurity New Zealand's National Saltmarsh Mosquito Surveillance Programme. No adult mosquitoes were ever found.
The mosquito is widespread in Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and Australia and would pose a real human health issue if it established.
The Biosecurity New Zealand response to stamp out the pest included extensive ground surveillance and several rounds of aerial spraying – and there have been no further finds of the mosquito for 2 years since the initial detections.
"It's now been 2 years since any have been found, and we're confident we can declare them eradicated," says MPI principal response manager David Yard.
Community involvement in the eradication effort has been crucial to the success of the response.
"This is a fantastic achievement to wipe out this unwanted pest in such a short timeframe. Our thanks go out to the community around Helensville and Parakai, who attended the public consultation meetings, allowed us onto their land, and supported Biosecurity New Zealand to deliver the response in a seamless fashion."
"To our knowledge, this is only the second time in the world that any saltmarsh mosquito has been eradicated from a country."
A world-first successful eradication was also in New Zealand – when the southern saltmarsh mosquito was eliminated in 2010.