Whether in the rain barrel, in puddles, in the watering can or in the garden pond: millions of mosquito larvae cavort in the warm summer months, which bring a lot of rain. The smaller the water source, the quicker it will heat up—making it an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, which prefer to lay their eggs in warm, stagnant water. One reason for this is that the larvae need mild water temperatures to hatch after just a few days. It then takes up to three weeks before they are fully grown and start looking for fresh blood. During this time, you have the opportunity to avert a plague of mosquitoes by fighting the larvae (naturally).

As already mentioned at the beginning, the mosquito larvae remain in the rain barrel or garden pond for several weeks after hatching. Before they then leave their breeding site, they remain on the surface of the water for a while as long as they are not yet able to fly. And that’s exactly when you can actively intervene to reduce the population – by interrupting the surface tension. This works best with olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil, alternatively dishwashing detergent also works. The best way to do this is as follows:

ATTENTION: Please do not use these two control methods in a garden pond, as there are many creatures (plants and animals) in it.

Another way to combat mosquito larvae is to use biological control agents for water butts, garden ponds and other bodies of water. Two preparations are mentioned here as examples which – according to the manufacturer – should not have any negative effects on other aquatic organisms such as fish, dragonflies, frogs or plants. “Neudomück mosquito-free” from Neudorff contains ten tablets, one of which is sufficient for 1000 liters of water and is effective for up to four weeks. Alternatively, there are Culinex tablets with a biological agent (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensi) to combat mosquito larvae. One tablet should be enough for up to 50 liters of water. You can find out how exactly the two preparations are used on the packaging.

Without the addition of tools, it is possible to contain the mosquito population by manually fishing off the larvae in the garden pond or in the rain barrel with a (preferably fine-meshed) net on the water surface. However, since the stinging offspring are quite quick on the move, you will not catch them all in one fell swoop. For this reason, it is advisable to repeat this process over and over again for several days in a row. You can dispose of the larvae in the compost.

You can take three preventive measures, such as:

Another tip: If you use a pump in the garden pond, the water will remain in constant motion and should therefore be significantly less attractive to mosquitoes, which prefer standing water to lay their eggs.

Even if nobody likes the stinging pests, we would like to emphasize at this point that mosquitoes and their larvae are important for our ecosystem. They serve as an important basis of life for many animals such as frogs, birds, spiders, newts, fish and dragonflies. “Even if they are annoying, mosquitoes and their relatives are an important node in the food web,” says Sönke Hofmann, Managing Director of Naturschutzbund Deutschland e. V. (NABU for short). His clear recommendation is: “Anyone who wants to fight mosquitoes should dry out the breeding grounds instead of fogging them with chemicals,” advises Hofmann.

Source: NABU Bremen

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