You may want to build a pond so you can invite birds and other wildlife to your area. Having one could even make your backyard feel more serene.
The downside of this is that a pond is a natural breeding ground for deadly mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are disease-causing pests that lay their eggs in still water. The unmoving water in ponds or containers may attract them for this reason.
Fortunately, there are several ways to keep your pond mosquito-free! Today, we’ll talk about how to get rid of mosquito larvae in a pond.
Yes, ponds attract mosquitoes if the water isn’t moving. Moreover, it might get worse if there are no predators to eat the larvae.
Mosquitoes are insects that start their life cycles in water. Their eggs hatch into larvae 48 hours after they get wet.
The larvae then mature in the water, emerging as adults after only 7 days.
The ideal habitat for mosquito larvae is one where they can develop undisturbed. Other factors such as pond vegetation, nutrients in the water, and hiding areas also affect larvae survival.
According to the CDC, there are 2 types of mosquitoes. These are the permanent water mosquito and the floodwater mosquito.
The first type of mosquito lays its eggs directly in ponds, lakes, and swamps. It could survive in clean or dirty water as long as it’s not flowing.
The second type lays eggs in soil where they can remain for years. Floodwater mosquito larvae hatch during the rainy season when they end up washing into pools or ponds nearby.
In short, it doesn’t matter what type of mosquito is in your area. They can end up in your pond either way!
You can employ the following methods to get rid of mosquito larvae:
Your first order of business to get rid of mosquito larvae in your pond is to introduce fish. Many species of fish love eating the larvae, and it’s the simplest solution to the problem.
Mosquito-killing guppies may do the job, but it’s an invasive species that destroys the native ecology!
Because of this, you should go for fish that are native to your area.
Here are a few species of fish that you might want to look at.
To be effective against mosquito larvae, fish must be small enough to eat them. Fathead minnows are one such fish.
Minnows are three-inch-long native fish. They’re grayish to brownish, without any distinctive markings on their bodies.
They’re found all over Central and Northern America.
A study in 2018 found that ponds with fathead minnows saw a 114% decrease in mosquito larvae. Although they don’t completely eradicate mosquitoes, they’re certainly effective.
Rainwater killifish are 1.5-inch fish with large eyes, silver bodies, and scales surrounded by faint dark outlines. They’re common in Massachusetts, Texas, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Killifish grow best in shallow water with plenty of vegetation. They love swimming near the surface, where mosquito larvae hang around.
In 2010, researchers discovered that killifish could eat 100% of mosquito larvae in a pond within 60 minutes. However, they noted that killifish aren’t as effective against fly larvae living in the same pond.
The pumpkinseed sunfish is a colorful freshwater fish with brownish-yellow bodies. Males change color when they’re ready to mate, and you might find ones with a light-blue pattern.
These fish are native to the Eastern United States, Canada, and Northern America.
Juvenile sunfish are great mosquito larvae killers. Yet, adult sunfish might not be useful against them. This is because sunfish can grow over 6 to 10 inches long.
Because of their size, they might consider mosquito larvae too small to eat. It’s best to go for smaller types of sunfish, like bluegill, warmouth, or mud sunfish.
The California roach is another type of minnow. It grows up to 3.5 inches long and as the name suggests, it’s native to California.
This fish is effective against mosquito larvae. In 2011, the Contra Costa MVCD bred and stocked the fish into abandoned pools as a way to address mosquito issues.
What’s great about this fish is that aside from eating larvae, California roaches also love eating algae. This is important because mosquitoes depend on algae for survival.
Moreover, the California roach can live in extremely warm or cold waters. It can even tolerate water with low levels of oxygen.
Yes! Goldfish will readily eat mosquito larvae, however, they’re less effective than other fish because of their color.
Bright-orange goldfish find it harder to sneak up on mosquito larvae compared to less colorful native fish. Birds may even get attracted to their colors, which causes them to prey on goldfish.
To add, goldfish will prefer fish food over mosquito larvae. If you see larvae in your pond, you may have to stop feeding your fish for a few days.
Fish aren’t the only creatures you can place into your pond. Other animals also eat mosquito larvae.
Dragonfly larvae, for instance, treat mosquito larvae as food. Adult dragonflies eat adult mosquitoes as well.
Other animals you might want to incorporate are freshwater shrimp, crabs, and tadpoles. They don’t prey on mosquitoes directly, but they do eat algae that mosquito larvae can hide in.
A study in 2013 even found that tadpoles compete with mosquito larvae for the same resources. The researchers discovered that ponds with more tadpoles decreased the number of mosquito larvae.
Here’s a fun fact you might not have known about mosquito larvae. They need to breathe air to survive!
The water has to be calm so they can break the surface with their siphons once in a while. The principle is akin to snorkeling.
If the surface of the pond is moving, it becomes impossible for them to break the water tension. The larvae end up drowning as a result.
Because of this, your next goal after adding fish is to find ways to keep the water in your pond moving.
Yes, pond fountains help with mosquitoes by constantly stirring the water. You must keep the water circulating for a few hours each day.
Doing so will drown any larvae in the pond.
Aside from a fountain, you may also place an electric aeration pump or a waterfall to promote water movement within your pond.
This has the added benefit of making the pond healthy for your plants and fish by increasing the oxygen level.
No, koi ponds don’t attract mosquitoes because they feature lots of moving water.
Koi fish need plenty of dissolved oxygen to survive. Filtration is necessary to remove organic matter like leaves or fish waste.
Because of this, a good koi pond isn’t an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.
If your koi pond has stagnant water, then it means your pond is in poor condition. You should look for ways to improve it not only to prevent mosquitoes but also for your fish’s health!
Grass and other weeds in the surrounding area of the pond may serve as a shelter for mosquito larvae. However, the overgrowth shields the pond from getting stirred up by the wind.
To solve this, you should regularly trim plants that are getting too long. Clear the pond of vegetation blocking the water.
If your pond still has mosquito larvae after you’ve added fish and installed fountains, then it’s time for some water treatment.
You may want to look into the following solutions:
1 – Mosquito Dunks
Mosquito dunks are a form of larvicide that’s harmless to your pond animals. They work by slowly releasing bacteria that kill mosquito larvae.
One dunk could effectively treat eight bathtubs worth of water. You should split it if your pond has less water than that.
Be warned that you can only use it on your property on bodies of water that you can’t drain! Mosquito dunks could be harmful to other insects if they get into creeks, streams, and lakes.
Mosquito larvae use algae as food and shelter. This is why getting rid of the algae will also affect the growth of the larvae.
You may treat excessive algae by aerating your pond, but the fastest way is by using a copper-based algaecide.
When using an algaecide, ensure that you’re applying the correct dosage. If you use too much, you may risk harming your fish and aquatic plants.
Pond dyes are water colorants that prevent algae growth by stopping photosynthesis.
Dyes can come in beautiful shades of blue, and you can make your pond look better with them. Moreover, it’s not harmful to wildlife, and it’s an ideal solution for small ponds.
Unfortunately, many ineffective products in the market advertise eliminating mosquitoes in ponds.
There are some mechanical traps and UV devices that claim to repel mosquitoes with sound. These are rarely tested and may even harm beneficial insects in your garden.
Citronella and mint-scented products lack scientific backing as well.
Know that the best treatment method is to keep your pond healthy with fish and natural movement!
Ponds often attract mosquitoes because the still water is an ideal breeding ground for the pest.
It’s a good thing that there are many methods to prevent a mosquito outbreak in your pond. You could incorporate fish, install a fountain, and even use safe products to treat the water.
Hopefully, you’ve learned how to get rid of mosquito larvae in a pond today!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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