To eliminate your mosquito problem for good, you need to get to the source.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing, stagnant water. Those eggs hatch into larvae, which is the next stage of the mosquito life cycle. If those grow unchecked, they will quickly turn into hungry, bloodsucking adult mosquitoes that will invade your home.
- Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water that can hatch into larvae if unchecked.
- To eliminate mosquito larvae, it’s necessary to find the source of standing water such as old tires, buckets, gutters, or even bird baths.
- The most effective solution is to eliminate the source of standing water or use a larvicide such as Summit Mosquito Bits.
- Larvicides can kill the larvae, but they make the water unsuitable for human consumption.
- Vegetable oil, such as olive oil or cinnamon oil, can also be used to kill the larvae.
- To use this method, add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to a gallon of water to smother the larvae.
Where to Find mosquito Larvae In Your Yard
Once you recognize mosquito larvae, you will notice them everywhere. Yes, they ARE that common.
Look in any standing water (water that is still and doesnt really move) around your home. The following places are good spot to start:
- Old tires
- Buckets or containers that are left outside
- Gutters that hold water
What do Mosquito Larvae Look Like?
They are also known as wrigglers and that’s for a good reason. These cylindrical worms dangle from the surface of the water and wriggle around the water, they will do this especially when they sense danger when they will head to the bottom or a hiding place.
You may also notice that they look like they have tiny hairs protruding from their body. These hairs are actually collecting single-celled organisms for the larvae to feed on.
Learn more: The best ways to kill mosquitoes
The Most Effective Ways To Kill Mosquito Larvae
1) Use a Larvicide
Getting rid of standing water may be the easiest solution, but it’s not always practical. There are some places, like ornamental ponds, where we expect for there to be standing water.
In those cases, one solution is to use a larvicide. These are chemicals that kill mosquito larvae, leaving your water pristine.
At least, the water will look pristine. In actuality, the water will be unsuitable for human consumption. If you use a rain barrel to collect drinking water, do not use a larvicide to decontaminate it.
Mosquito Bits are the most common form of larvicide. While they’re not safe for humans, they’re perfectly safe for fish. This makes them a great choice for koi ponds and other outdoor fish habitats.
To use mosquito bits, simply drop them into your water. The instructions will tell you how many are required for a given water supply. A good set of mosquito dunks will last for 7-14 days.
2) Remove The Water
Perhaps the most obvious method of getting rid of mosquito larvae is simply to eliminate the water altogether. This means you have to find any sources of standing water on your property.
Look for puddles on your lawn. If there hasn’t been a recent flood or rain, puddles are a sign that you’re over-watering. Water your lawn less, and these puddles should soon disappear.
Also look for lawn equipment that has been left outside. Lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, and other similar equipment can fill with water, creating a perfect habitat.
Pool covers and boat covers are another source of stagnant water. Dump these out and dry them thoroughly. The last thing you want is to provide a free, preventable source of standing water.
While you’re at it, look for buckets, old tires, pails, and watering cans that have been left outside. If you must leave a bucket outside, flip it upside-down to prevent water from pooling.
And don’t forget to change your bird bath regularly. Bird baths are a frequently overlooked source of standing water because we expect them to be full.
3) Chlorine Bleach – Avoid
Chlorine bleach can be used as an effective method of controlling mosquito larvae, however its use is highly discouraged. The chemical has been found to be toxic to other animals, and can have devastating effects on the environment.
It is recommended that a more sustainable, long-term solution be sought instead, such as the introduction of other species that prey on mosquito larvae, or the implementation of habitat destruction to reduce the number of suitable breeding grounds.
Natural Ways To Kill Mosquito Larvae
1) Vegetable Oil
Adding a tsp of extra virgin olive oil to a gallon of water kills mosquito larvae fast. The thin oil top layer on the surface will smother and suffocate the larvae, killing them in the process. Aside from olive oil, applying cinnamon oil also works.
To do this, you’ll simply need to coat the surface of the water with something their breathing tubes can’t penetrate. One good option is vegetable oil. Simply spray enough vegetable oil on the water that there’s a visible gloss on the entire surface.
The main advantage of vegetable oil is that it’s non-toxic. In small amounts, it won’t cause any issues with your drinking water.
That said, it’s a poor choice for fish ponds. Fish need their water to have contact with the air, to ensure oxygen exchange. If you use oil to treat your fish pond, your fish will die along with the mosquitoes.
2) Dish Soap
Another way to suffocate those baby bloodsuckers is to use dish soap. A single drop of soap is enough to treat a gallon of water. So if you have a 100-gallon pond, use 100 drops of soap.
The advantage of soap is that it’s cheap and, at these concentrations, it won’t ruin the appearance of your pond. The downside is that it’s not a good choice for drinking water or for fish.
3) Cinnamon Oil
If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly way, cinnamon oil is a choice (although possibly an expensive one). And it doesn’t just kill the larvae; it also kills off the eggs as well.
To use cinnamon oil, add a ratio of 15% cinnamon oil to 85% water. So if you have a 100-gallon pond, use 12 ¾ gallons of cinnamon oil.
But unfortunately, with the price of cinnamon oil being quite high currently, it is unlikely to be a cost-effective option.
4) Apple Cider or White Vinegar
Apple cider or white vinegar is another effective way of eliminating mosquito larvae. It needs to be added in the same fashion as cinnamon oil, at a ratio of 15% to 85% water. Less will not work.
It’s not as effective as cinnamon oil, though. While cinnamon oil works almost instantly, vinegar takes about 18 hours to be effective.
Like cinnamon oil, apple cider vinegar is not a good choice for fish ponds. However, it’s perfectly safe for humans.
How To Kill Mosquito Larvae In Drinking Water
If mosquitoes have infiltrated your drinking water tank and laid eggs, you have a serious predicament on your hands. This is because there is no effective way to kill the larvae without also compromising the safety or quality of the water in the tank.
Luckily, dealing with mosquito larvae in drinking water doesn’t require actively killing the pests, so long as you are willing to do a little work.
1. Prevent Mosquitoes from Accessing the Water Tank
The first thing you absolutely need to do is find out how mosquitoes are getting into your tank and seal the gap. After all, if mosquitoes can get in, so can other bugs and debris which could compromise the safety of your stored water.
Do a thorough check of the outside of the tank, paying special attention to the areas above the waterline where mosquitoes would be getting in. Also, check your air vents to assure the screens are securely in place.
These screens need to be made of fine mesh with holes smaller than 1.2mm to keep mosquitoes out.
Use caulking, waterproof sealant tape, and other drinking-water-safe sealants to fill any cracks or gaps in your tank.
Note: Not only will sealing the tank keep additional mosquitoes from getting in and laying more eggs, but it will prevent the larvae inside the tank from getting out once they mature into flying adults. Without food, these adults will die soon after they emerge.
2. Eliminate Pooling Water In the Tank Feeder System
In some cases, larvae find their way into drinking water tanks not because an adult snuck into the system, but because they were swept in with rain or source water.
If water is allowed to pool in the gutters or open-ended pipes that feed your water tank, then mosquitoes may use them to lay eggs. With the next rainstorm, these eggs or the emerging larvae are swept into the tank where they continue to develop.
If you have an open tank feeder system, look for low spots where water accumulates between storms and eliminate them. Gutters should be set at a down angle at all points in the system to prevent pooling.
Once you’ve eliminated all pooling points, you should no longer have this issue.
Note: Advanced filtration systems will remove mosquito larvae and should be enough to filter and neutralize eggs. But filter screens, even very fine ones, will not be enough to capture tiny mosquito eggs and very small emerging larvae.
3. Filter the Water Before Drinking
Once you have sealed your water tank to prevent mosquitoes from getting in (or out) and have eliminated pooling, you should no longer have issues with mosquito larvae in your water tank.
Of course, you still have to deal with the larvae already present.
Since there are no safe ways to kill mosquito larvae without making your water unsafe to consume, the best course of action here is to simply filter it before drinking. Most commercial drinking water filters will effectively capture and neutralize mosquito larvae.
If the idea of drinking dead (or possibly, still living mosquito larvae) doesn’t bother you, then you can skip this step altogether.
Note: According to Clegg’s Pest Control, mosquito larvae are not dangerous to humans in any way. This life stage of the pest does not carry any communicable diseases and will not cause harm if ingested by humans or animals.
If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and can’t imagine drinking mosquito larvae water, filtered or not, your best option is to drain the tank and use the water for your garden or livestock. As long as you’ve done a sufficient job sealing the tank and preventing pooling in the feeder system, you should not have any mosquito larvae to deal with after you refill the tank.
Preventing and Control of Mosquito Larvae in Water
There’s an old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. How does this apply to mosquito eradication?
Simply put, stopping mosquitoes laying in the first place is better than killing them once they’re in place. LEts have a look at how to prevent larvae.
Related: How to get rid of Mosquitoes
Use Water Aeration and Movement
As we mentioned, mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in still, stagnant water. That’s why you’ll find mosquito larva in a pond, but not in a river.
To discourage mosquitoes from laying their eggs, a pump or a pond aerator is one of the best solutions. This will keep the surface of the water moving, which will drive mosquitoes away.
In addition, if there are any existing eggs or larvae in the water, it can also help kill them. This is because it makes the surface turbulent, which disturbs the larval breathing process. It’s the same reason that mosquitoes don’t like to lay their eggs in moving water to begin with.
A pump or aerator is also a great choice for fish ponds. It helps oxygenate the water, promoting strong, healthy fish.
Use Mosquito Eating Fish
We’ve talked a lot about fish ponds in this article. But did you know that many species of fish can actually help prevent mosquitoes?
Several species of freshwater fish, such as koi, goldfish, bluegill, guppies, catfish, and the appropriately-named mosquitofish love to eat mosquitoes.
Adding one or more of these fish to your backyard pond can kill two birds – and many mosquitoes – with one stone. First, you’ll add an attractive touch of life to your pond. Second, you’ll get rid of your mosquito problem.
When you purchase your fish, make sure that the fish are suitable for your area. Not all fish are equally suited for all climate zones.
An important part of preventing mosquito larvae is to discourage adults from coming around. The fewer adult mosquitoes in the area, the fewer you will see.
Adult mosquitoes feed in the twilight hours. But during the daytime, they shelter in low vegetation. They particularly appreciate wet areas, such as next to a pond.
By eliminating vegetation around ponds and pools, you can encourage adult mosquitoes to live elsewhere.
If you maintain flower beds, ensure that the mulch stays dry. This doesn’t mean you should avoid watering altogether. But the leaves should not be dangling down into a moist environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does white vinegar kill mosquitos?
Yes, white vinegar (and apple cider vinegar) will kill mosquito larvae. To be effective, you must use a ratio of 15% vinegar to 85% water.
What can I put in my water tank to kill mosquito larvae?
At this time, we are not aware of anything you can put in a drinking water tank to kill larvae that will leave your water safe to drink.