You decided to invest in your outdoor space and turn it into a relaxing retreat. Like many homeowners, you added an outdoor water feature to create a soothing environment. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes also find it to be very inviting.
After all your hard work to add a beautiful water feature the last thing you want is for annoying mosquitoes to ruin the tranquility. The team members at Moxie Services are Denver pest control experts that have seen this problem in the Mile High City. In fact, it can happen just about anywhere in the country during the spring and summer months.
The Moxie pest technicians say it is possible to enjoy outdoor water features without being bugged by mosquitoes. You just have to take a few precautions and keep up with maintenance.
Get Rid of Standing Water
Mosquitoes only need one inch of stagnant water to lay eggs. And that’s all it takes for the eggs to develop and hatch. Unlike humans, mosquitoes reproduce rapidly laying around 100-300 eggs at a time. Those eggs will become larvae in a matter of a few days.
The best thing you can do to prevent a mosquito infestation is to get rid of all standing water:
- Remove bird baths
- Remove debris that can collect water
- Don’t overwater the yard or potted plants (some mosquito species also lay eggs in damp soil)
- Fix grading issues that allow water to pool
- Fix gutters so that there are no clogs and water drains well
- Make sure outdoor faucets and hoses aren’t leaking
- Fix broken sprinkler heads
After the next rain, go outside and check the yard for problem areas. Make a note of anywhere you see at least an inch of standing water and take action to correct the problem immediately.
Keep Your Fountains Flowing
Another problem that can lead to stagnant water is a fountain that ceases to work. If the water is flowing and circulating there’s no way for the mosquitos to lay eggs that will mature. But all it takes is a few days for the problems to start.
One of the most common issues is pond or fountain pumps going out. Because they run continuously, pumps are notorious for burning out rather rapidly. There are two things you can do to help improve the longevity of a water pump:
Choose the appropriate pump size – Pumps that are undersized are going to be overworked. Before choosing a pump, determine the flow rate. Generally, you want a flow rate of 50%. That means the pump is capable of pumping half the volume of water per hour. For example, if a pond contains 1,000 gallons of water the pump should circulate 500 gallons per hour.
Clear debris out of the water – You’ll need to clean the pond/fountain daily and/or use a filtration system to clear out debris that can clog the pump.
But what if you go out of town? Again, it only takes a few days for mosquito eggs to hatch. You may want to have someone go by and check on it every few days.
Treat the Water With a Larvicide
Another thing you can do to control mosquitoes while you’re at home and away is to treat the water with larvicide. Treatments with the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) will kill larvae within a few days of hatching without affecting other animals. Insect growth regulator (IGR) is another treatment that can be used to kill larvae before they turn into adults.
If you don’t like the idea of putting chemicals in the water of your ponds and fountains there’s something else that could help. Top-feeding minnows are mosquito predators that will eat the eggs before they hatch. However, that means you’ll have to take care of the fish, and more frequent cleaning will be needed.
Use Mosquito Deterrents Around Water Features
There are also a few things you can do to keep mosquitoes from getting near your water features:
- Plant insect-repelling flowers nearby.
- Strategically place citronella candles.
- Put bug zappers near your water features.
Water features are a beautiful addition to the backyard, but they require special maintenance to keep mosquitoes at bay. Take the precautions above and you’ll be able to relax without worrying about getting bit.
Larvae – wikimedia creative commons
Fountain – Max Pixel public domain
Contributing Author Bio
Ashley Andrews is an entrepreneur and blogger. She now lives in San Diego, CA and is happily self employed. She enjoys writing about anything that catches her interest, especially tech and entrepreneurship.