A terrible menace is coming to Australia that is threatening to tear the very fabric of our society by wiping out barbecuing as we know it.
So what is it? Exhaustion of the world’s LPG supplies? Politicians legislating against the consumption of meat? Catastrophic sea level rise that will flood all of our best BBQ areas?
No, no and no (although the last one seems to be moving ever closer to reality). The threat is the Asian Tiger Mosquito.
Dubbed by news organisations and scientists around the nation as “The BBQ Stopper”, this extremely invasive pest is a nasty piece of work and it’s on our doorstep. In fact, one colony has already arrived, but it is being securely held in the Fort Knox of medical research facilities in Brisbane.
Associate Professor Greg Devine is head of the team that is currently attempting to understand this future enemy. And he says that while the Asian Tiger Mosquito has the ability to spread diseases, such as dengue fever, to parts of the country that are currently free from such diseases, this may not be our biggest worry.
“The greatest impact of an Aedes albopictus (nerdy sciency name for the mozzie) invasion may be on our lifestyles. Asian Tiger Mosquitoes are extremely aggressive biters that thrive in and around people’s homes. They bite throughout the day and, in some places, they bite unprotected humans dozens of times per minute. We’re talking about a constant, painful nuisance, which would ruin our outdoor lifestyle. It’s come to be known as the The Barbecue Stopper, and for good reason.”
And the bad news just keeps coming from Devine who says that an Asian Tiger Mosquito invasion is a matter of when, not if.
“It is already in the Torres Strait and it will undoubtedly arrive on the Australian mainland in due course.”
So I guess the message is: enjoy your mozzie-free barbies while you can people because your outdoor cooking sessions are about to become outdoor acupuncture sessions.
Well…not quite. These little buggers have been knocking on our door for over five years now, but haven’t managed to make the leap across to the mainland. And the fact is no one really knows when they will.
So don’t panic just yet. Enjoy your barbies. Hell, go out and buy a new BBQ just to send a message to those mozzies that they don’t scare you. But when you are cooking up, just be thankful that you can do so without having to wear a beekeeper’s suit.