Eradication of arbovirus insect vectors across large areas is not feasible under Australian grazing conditions. However, eradication or suppression of insect vectors in small, selected and well-controlled areas is possible.
Strategies to reduce insect numbers, or that prevent insects from interacting with animals, can be applied directly to animals as well as to their surrounds.
Vector monitoring should be included as a part of the vector control strategy. This provides information on the presence of known or suspected insect vectors and enables monitoring of the effectiveness of any insect vector eradication or control programs.
Insect vector monitoring
Vector monitoring will identify the species of insect vector present and knowledge of their distribution and relative abundance should be used in the planning of control of a vector-borne disease. If insect trapping is undertaken, the insects can be tested to determine if they are carrying disease. Ongoing vector monitoring will also help to assess the effectiveness of any control strategies.
Seek advice from your local Government Biosecurity or Veterinary Officer before you commence an insect vector monitoring program. Different trap types are used to target different insects, for example, light traps are most commonly used to collect biting midges (Culicoides spp.) while other species of fly can be collected directly off cattle using a small vacuum device. Insect vector trapping can be supported by testing blood samples of livestock to check for the presence of antibodies to the disease of interest. The presence of antibodies in local livestock confirms the presence of insect vectors in the area.
Insect vector control
The aim of an insect vector control program is to break the disease transmission cycle by rapidly reducing the number of insects that can transmit the disease.
See the section on managing mosquitoes and midges on cattle.
See how to manage BEF.