Q: How can I keep mosquitoes away from my pond?
Marcella – Aspen, Colorado
A: Buzzing, biting, irritating mosquitoes are the bane of pond and lake owners. Besides causing itchy welts, these little blood-sucking insects can transmit dangerous and deadly diseases, like malaria, dengue, yellow fever, West Nile virus, dog heartworm, and equine encephalitis.
Before we get into how to eradicate the little pests, let’s first learn their life cycle.
Eggs, Wigglers and Tumblers
Mosquitoes begin life as tiny eggs on the surface of fresh or stagnant water. Twenty four to 48 hours after they’re laid, they hatch into mosquito larvae, a.k.a. “wigglers.” The little half-inch larvae live on the water surface for four to 14 days, and they eat algae, plankton, fungi and bacteria and other microorganisms that float by. As the little wigglers develop, they molt four times and, after the fourth molt, they go into their pupa stage. Mosquito pupae, commonly called “tumblers,” live in the water from one to four days. When they emerge from their pupal case, they’re full-fledged adults – and the females are ready to suck your blood.
To crush these tiny vampires, your best bet is to prevent the females from laying eggs in the first place. Here’s what we recommend:
- Remove the habitat: Because mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in stagnant water, cut down dead debris around the edge of the pond with your Weed Cutter and Pond & Beach Rake as these calm, secluded areas are perfect for developing wigglers and tumblers. Also drain containers with standing water, like buckets, gutters and ditches, and regularly change the water in animal troughs, pet dishes and bird baths.
- Keep the water moving: In your pond or lake, use an aeration system, like the Airmax® Large Lake Aeration System, to keep the water moving. The females won’t want to lay their eggs in agitating water, so this preventive measure can cut down tremendously on the mosquito population.
- Resort to mosquito dunks: If all else fails and you get swarmed whenever you get within 50 yards of your lake or pond, Mosquito Dunks® or Mosquito Bits® provide an excellent temporary solution. These mosquito destroyers contain Bt-israelensis (Bt-i), a specially formulated biological pesticide just for mosquitoes. They’re safe for use around fish and plants, and they provide relief for up to 30 days.
Of course, you may not be able to completely eradicate the mosquitoes, but you can at least suppress them using these measures. You can also contact one of the state, county or city mosquito control organizations, which can help with larger-scale efforts. For more information, check out the American Mosquito Control Association at www.mosquito.org.
Pond Talk: What do you do to control the mosquito population around your pond or lake?