Ponds are a lovely attraction to add to any home or garden. However, they can occasionally attract unwelcome visitors.
Ponds will attract rodents such as rats, muskrats, minks, and a variety of other pests from time to time. Rodents are often drawn in by the smell of food which could come from pond food or birdfeeders. They will also be inclined to stay if there are places for them to hide and take shelter.
There are several rodents out there that could invade your pond but there are also solutions. Here are some great ways to defend your garden against pests.
Rats are undesirable pretty much everywhere they go. In a pond, they can cause problems such as chewing through cables, gnawing on cleaning equipment, and urinating in the water which could potentially poison pond fish. It could also spread diseases to you and anybody else in frequent contact with the water.
The first step to discouraging rats is to be sure you are not leaving fish food out where they could easily access it. Keep it wrapped up and put away at all times. Bird feeders can also attract rats so try to keep those out of reach.
Additionally, try to keep your yard free of potential rat nesting areas such as woodpiles and debris heaps. Garbage cans and compost heaps can also pose problems, as they are prime locations for both shelter and food.
Muskrats are one of the more common rodent visitors to ponds. They are fairly large, and it is very possible that you will need to employ professional help. They’re crafty and elusive burrowers.
A single rat could be easily dealt with but if you find that you have an infestation on your hands, call animal control and have them deal with it. The easiest way to avoid muskrats in the pond is to have a secure outer lining such as brick.
A brick pond is also a good idea when dealing with minks. These are less common in urban areas and more so in rural ones so you may or may not have to worry about minks depending on where you live. They can find a way to get into your pond, even if it’s a small opening in the outer lining or a hole in the netting. Be sure to close up any holes in your equipment and pond.
Otters are also problematic. Netting won’t keep them out so you will want to opt for a wooden frame with wire mesh. Otters are predators so if your pond has fish you will want to be especially cautious. One otter could clean out a small pond fairly quickly.
When it comes to ponds with fish, birds can be irritating pests. Herons are one of the top pond predators out there. They can clear a pond of fish in a matter of a few minutes. Common methods of defense include netting, fake herons, and motion activated sprinklers.
Netting works, but it has to be done very strategically by placing the netting in a taut, precise position that will prevent the heron from wading into the pond. Fake herons are one of the most common defenses employed. These will discourage most live herons from landing in your yard, though there have been instances where this hasn’t worked.
If you want to protect your fish, consider filling your pond with fish that are not brightly colored. This will make it harder for predatory birds to see them.
Ducks are great for natural ponds, but not so much for garden ponds. They will not feed on the fish as much as other birds but they will eat them once in a while. Ducks mostly make messes. They can tear up any pond plants you may have growing, they will dump soil and feces in the water, and their feathers get everywhere.
Floating feathers on the surface of a pond is never a welcome sight. You can keep them out by putting high netting over your pond which will prevent them from flying in. Ducks can be endearing and fun to feed but if you feed them they will come back to stay.
Kingfishers can also be a problem, but they are the least of the evils. They will prey on fish, but only the small ones, so your larger fish are safe. If you are bent on keeping them out, a simple fine, mesh netting will do it for you.
Mosquitoes are the obvious insect you don’t want infesting your pond. They can be kept out through a variety of ways. If you have fish you will want to stick with all-natural products. Apple cider vinegar is a great way to keep them out of the pond, though it might leave an odor for a few days, but should be used with care, as it can poison your fish.
Having fish in your pond is a great natural defense against mosquitoes. They will eat any and all mosquitoes around. Keeping your water but installing a pump or small waterfall is an additional great way to deter water bugs.
Dragonflies, surprisingly, can also pose a problem for ponds as well. They do eat mosquitoes and they aren’t usually a danger to your fish. However, their larvae will eat baby fish as well as tadpoles (damselflies also pose a similar problem). These insects don’t pose as much of a threat. Keep your plants to a minimum and keep a filter running. Most larvae will be eaten by larger fish.
Water scorpions are on the larger end of the insect scale. These menacing insects tend to prefer marshy, weedy areas in ponds. These places allow them to hide and ambush fish more easily than out in the open. They prey mostly upon small fry, tadpoles, and baby newts.
You can avoid water scorpion infestations by regularly vacuuming your pond walls and base. Try to avoid having too much vegetation in your pond. Large fish will often eat water scorpions, so keeping good-sized fish in your pond will keep their numbers down.