Gardeners often have natural or homemade water features in or near their organic gardens. But mosquitoes love water – how do gardeners control mosquitoes without using pesticides?
Organic insect control can be a daunting task. Pesticides are often harmful to more than just their intended targets, and could even end up in the soil or on your plants.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to discourage mosquitoes from multiplying in your pond or backyard water feature.
But keep in mind, strategies for controlling mosquitoes also will discourage beneficial insect and animal life. Mosquitoes and mosquito larvae are an important food source for many of the critters you want around your garden and pond.
So you’ll want to consider each of these strategies carefully when setting up and maintaining your pond.
Let’s take a sec to get the legal words out of the way. This article may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy from my partners, I will make a tiny amount of money at no cost to you. This in no way affects my recommendations.
An ounce of prevention…
The first step in controlling a mosquito problem is removing, where possible, the places they breed.
You’re probably aware that mosquitoes love shallow water – what you might not realize is that this can mean some pretty unexpected places in and around your pond!
Rethink shallow edges
It is good to have some shallower regions around the edges of your pond. It can give certain aquatic animals such as frogs and turtles an easy way to enter/leave the pond. Plus, it can give fish a place in the pond where they can warm up.
However, these same shallow edges give predators like birds and raccoons an easy place to fish, as well as providing a breeding environment for mosquitoes.
If you can, construct your pond so that no more than 20% of the total surface area is shallow (six inches or less) and pick and choose edges to make shallow.
Plants that hang into the water can create shallow, still areas in the water. If your pond is surrounded by plants, trim them back often, or consider replacing them with rocks right around the edges of the pond.
Keep an eye out for leaves that have fallen into the pond. they can be an oasis for mosquito production!
Consider your waterfall options
However, if you would like to set up a waterfall feature for your pond, construct it with care.
You want to avoid small pools of still water forming over the edge of the pond.. Make sure that that these small puddles can always drain off into the pond in order to avoid this.
Watch your aquatic plant population
Certain happy aquatic plants can overtake a small pond, forcing the fish into a smaller and smaller area and providing lots of hiding places for mosquitoes.
Try to keep your plants under control and thin them out when necessary.
Turn mosquitoes into snacks
Many types of pond fish, including goldfish, koi, and the aptly-named mosquitofish will happily dine on mosquitoes and their larvae.
If you have fish and still have a large mosquito population around the pond, make sure you’re not overfeeding the fish. Why would they chase a mosquito if tasty food is just waiting for them?
Another hungry pond citizen you should cater to is the frog. Frogs like aquatic plants and overhanging rocks to hide underneath.
If you are really struggling with the mosquito population, another natural predator you may want to attract is the bat.
By some estimates, a bat can gobble up 600 mosquitoes in a single hour! You can place a bat house near your pond to attract these hungry helpers.
Other mosquito control options
Have you already tried many of these strategies and are still at your wit’s end?
There are other natural solutions to a mosquito infestation around your pond.
You can kill mosquitoes with a trap that acts as a magnet to the pests. These devices lure the insects with warmth, moisture, and carbon dioxide, then vacuums them inside where they become trapped and die of dehydration.
But beware, these traps do not always live up to their advertising. See my Mosquito Magnet review.
An alternative to trapping mosquitoes are mosquito dunks. These “non-pesticide” dunks work by introducing a bacterium into the water that preys on mosquito larvae.
By introducing bacterium into the water, you stop the mosquito reproductive cycle. I use these for my water feature.
If you have a rather large pond, you may want to use mosquito bits instead. These allow you to cover a wider pond area because the bits are smaller and will spread out more easily.
Don’t give up
Mosquitoes are a daunting foe. It’s easy to get discouraged.
Whatever method you choose, it is important that you continue your efforts and don’t give up. This is especially important during the busy breeding periods in late spring and through the summer.
It may take several weeks to see the fruit of your labor. The complete breeding cycle takes about four weeks.
Persistence pays off.
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