Pond infested with mosquitoes? Don’t worry! There are always ways to get rid of larvae in your backyard.
Filling your pond with fish is one of the easiest, most common ways to prevent mosquito infestations. Many species, especially minnows, bluegills, and mosquitofish are great options to consider as they will clean out a mosquito population in no time.
Maybe fish would not be your first choice. If not, there are several other ways to solve this particular problem.
1) Clean Up Vegetation
Vegetation in a pond isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it often makes ponds a lot more pleasing to the eye. However, too much of it is likely to attract all kinds of pests, and make your pond marshy. Large amounts of vegetation can also result in increased algae growth.
Algae is full of bacteria that mosquitoes love to feed off of, and that makes it an ideal breeding ground. Though it cannot be prevented completely, keeping your pond out of direct sunlight is a good way to keep algae growth to a minimum. Heat and too much vegetation can create a swampy, murky pond that will attract insects in no time.
2) Make Sure Your Water Circulates
Stagnant water is also a mosquito attractant. If the water is not moving and changing constantly, it provides an ideal setting for algae to grow in. It also signals a lack of potential predators which means mosquitoes will likely choose it as a safe breeding ground.
A lack of movement on the surface makes it quite easy for larvae to thrive and grow healthily. If the water is too shallow, it will also attract mosquitoes. Larvae thrive in shallow water so make sure the water has not evaporated at all. Excess debris can be a problem too. It provides shelter, space, and some shade which will quickly turn really nasty if mosquitoes decide to breed there.
Maintaining pond equipment is important. Clogs or a broken pump will quickly contribute to almost all of the aforementioned problems.
Stagnant water will create a thriving ground for larvae, debris provides shelter, algae provides food. It is typically good practice to keep your pond equipment in good repair anyway, but if you are trying to keep mosquito infestations to a minimum, take extra care to clean your pond pump and filter.
Keep in mind that standing/stagnant water can occur in more places than just the pond. As a precaution, you may want to remove all other sources of standing water from your property. Try to rid your yard of puddles, containers with water, and any other places that might attract bugs
3) Keep Pond Equipment Clean
Cleaning pond equipment is a must regardless of whether you have a pest problem. Even if you have a good pump that keeps the water in your pond flowing, you can still end up with pests in your pond if it gets clogged.
Cleaning your pond’s filters and pumps will go a long ay towards keeping your yard larvae free.
4) Pond Fish
Having a fish filled pond will doubtlessly keep unwanted insects at bay. Minnows, guppies, catfish, bass, blue mouthed gill, and mosquitofish are great options. Mosquitofish will usually eat between forty-two and 167 percent of their body weight in larvae a day. Your mosquitoes will be gone and your fish will have a healthy diet of insect larvae and thrive. It’s a win-win!
Aside from fish, there are quite a few predators that will control the mosquito population. Bats are great predators for mosquitoes, and the best part is, they only come out at night. The easiest way to attract bats is to provide housing. Building little bat houses to hang in your trees is a great way to welcome them to your yard. If you have a healthy mosquito population nearby, bats will be sure to stick around.
Tadpoles and lily frogs are considerable options. Though they feed primarily on algae and vegetation when they are young, they will usually grow to prefer mosquitoes and other insects as adults.
Tadpoles also have the added benefit of growing into frogs, which are adoreable and will make your pond oh so much better just by being there.
6) Attract Other Insectivores
Although most insects are undesirable to have nearby, there are a few species that you may want to keep around. Having a healthy population of dragonflies and/or ladybugs is a great way to keep the mosquito population under control.
You can attract dragonflies by allowing tall, seed headed grasses or rushes to grow. Including plenty of flat surfaces for sunbathing space is also a good idea. Ladybugs are most commonly attracted to cup-shaped flowers like tulips. Ladybugs will not only feed on mosquitoes but aphid larvae as well.
Birds are predators for mosquitoes as well. Migratory songbirds, waterfowl, swallows, and purple martins are considerable species. They will rid your pond of pests, but you might want to consider birds as your last resort. They can cause several problems of their own as they will likely eat any fish you own, leave feathers and feces in the water, and destroy your vegetation.
7) Homemade Insecticide
In addition to introducing predators, there are several products and pesticides you can use to kill off larvae of all kinds, though mosquito larvae is the most common.
Using dish soap to treat your pond water is a good solution. A single drop of dish soap is enough to treat a gallon of water, so add as many drops necessary, depending on how many gallons you have (fifty drops for fifty gallons, etc.).
Similarly, you can also suffocate the larvae by using apple cider vinegar or oil. Oil cuts off the supply of oxygen on the surface of the water so give it a good spray. Once you can see the shiny film of oil on the surface, you should be fine.
Cinnamon oil is another option. It not only kills mosquito larvae but acts as a repellent for adult mosquitoes which can prevent breeding in the first place. A good ratio is 15% oil to 85% water, so plan accordingly and do your math.
As great as all these options are, however, there is the downside of none of them being healthy for fish. Cinnamon oil and soap are both toxic for fish, while vegetable oil prevents the water from receiving the oxygen they need to breathe underwater. Larvicide and pesticide present the same issue. If you have fish, do NOT attempt any of these solutions. Instead, opt for mosquito dunks, or mosquito briquettes.
8) Dunks And Briquettes
This is probably one of the most common forms of larvicide. It is packed with an active ingredient called BTI (bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) which is designed to target and kill a small range of insects.
It will usually take about 24 hours to kill the mosquitoes in your pond, which is pretty darn fast. The best part is, they’re biological which means they will not harm fish, dogs, children, plants, or any form of wildlife that might stop for a drink at your pond.
As discussed before, aerating and keeping the water in your pond on the move is a great way to avoid larvae and mosquitoes altogether. Visually pleasing aerators can be found in the forms of fountains and waterfalls. Constant motion prevents mosquitoes from having a safe, easy place to breed and will force them to go elsewhere to lay their eggs.
Once you have gone to all the work of keeping your pond and yard pest free, obviously you want to make certain that it was not in vain. Really the best way to keep larvae at bay is to keep doing what you’re doing. Mosquito dunks or donuts are a great solution to the problem.
Applying them as a kickstart for treatment is a great plan. Continue to use the dunks about every two months to ensure that the population does not regrow.
Keeping your pond clean is also one of the best long term solutions. Check regularly for clogs, broken parts, debris, or leaves. Unchecked clogs will make the pump work too hard, and eventually shut it down. This will cause the water to become stagnant, thus allowing algae to grow and mosquitoes to start breeding.
Consistent, thorough cleaning of the pump and filter(s) is the best way to make sure this does not happen. If bacteria and algae buildup becomes a serious problem, draining the pond and doing a deep clean of the whole thing might be in order.
Keeping your vegetation clean and orderly is a great idea too. Remove any unnecessary weeds and other plants. Remember too many plants can result in algae growth and quickly turn your pond into a marsh. Skimming the top of the pond never hurts!
Doing so will catch any algae or pieces of debris that may have gone unnoticed during any scouring you may have done earlier. Be consistent and your pond will stay larvae-free!