“People who claim they do not let the little things bother them, have never slept in a room with one mosquito.”
“What’s the New Jersey state bird?” …the mosquito.
“The best blood at sometime will get into a fool, or a mosquito.”
“There are only 2 of God’s creations I don’t understand, poison ivy and mosquitoes.”
Shall I go on?….
Mosquitoes and man have had a bloody relationship since they first met; yet they just can’t get away from each other. As mosquito and man battle for territory; who is really in control of whom is very debatable. But the battle for control rages on wherever there are wet environments. Pond and water garden keepers may not contribute to the mosquito population problem as much as many may think. It could even be possible that installing a pond or water garden can help in the battle for territory between man and fly being one of the best forms of mosquito control out there.
But first let’s define the mosquito. The mosquito is a fly, from the family of Culicidae, with over 3500 species. Some mosquitoes bite, some don’t, some transmit disease, some don’t; some prefer to attack you in the woods, some prefer to attack you in your house; not all mosquitoes are the same but none of them are very likable even under best case scenarios. Only female mosquitoes suck blood, while most males prefer nectar. The female mosquitoes that do suck blood AND transmit disease could literally be considered the most dangerous creatures on the planet to humans, pets, and livestock alike. Often being responsible for devastating diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and West Nile virus resulting in loss of life to those affected. The life cycle of the mosquito is just like any fly; 4 stages: egg, larva, pupa, adult. The first 3 stages are aquatic and last for just over a week, the adult stage is terrestrial/flying; and the entire life cycle is typically no more than a month or so. For each blood meal a female will typically lay about 300 eggs and this can happen up to 4X during the month of life she has. Mosquito control is taken very seriously and most states do have official “Mosquito Control Commissions” that have websites packed with information on these little suckers.
Many water garden and pond owners or those considering the installation of a pond or water garden, have questions in regards to mosquito control. A common concern that new or soon to be pond owners express is whether their pond can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Since mosquitoes prefer water as a breeding ground, then by default a backyard pond or water garden could certainly be considered a mosquito breeding ground. The good news is that you can very easily make your pond or water garden the last place that a mosquito would want to spend time, or grow up in. Here’s how that can be achieved.
Mosquitoes like water, but mosquitoes like pretty specific conditions. The water they prefer by far is stagnated water. Stagnant water conditions are slow moving or motionless still water with low oxygen levels and high nutrient levels. If you have built your backyard water garden pond correctly then your water conditions and environment will basically be the opposite of what mosquitoes like! So right from the start mosquitoes will likely pass by your pond by when looking for a home. Also, a well planned water garden pond will be attractive to many types species that happily and aggressively eat mosquitoes at every stage of their life cycle when available.
Let’s break this pond advice down for our backyard koi pond and water gardens:
WATER CONDTIONS in your pond
- High oxygen levels because of aerators, waterfalls, and streams.
- Low nutrient levels because of filtration systems, water treatments, and aquatic plantings.
- Lots of water movement from pumping systems, skimmers, and bottom drains.
ENVIRONMENT of your pond
- Fish – goldfish, koi, orfe, mosquito fish and numerous other types of fish greedily eat up larvae of all type of aquatic insects; they will not even give the mosquitoes a chance!
- Dragonfly – the mighty dragonfly is a fierce predator of mosquito, and a frequent visitor to New Jersey area backyard ponds and water gardens.
- Frogs – ever notice how frogs just seem to show up? Now you have another reason to welcome them because they will eat every mosquito unlucky enough to pass by their huge mouths.
- Birds – birds love ponds, and will make a quick meal out of available mosquitoes.
- Bats – bats always live by water, and will eat mosquitoes by the thousands if they are available!
- Crustaceans – naturally occurring or introduced crustaceans will make a meal of mosquito eggs, pupa, or larva
- Other Aquatic Insects – there is a whole world of mosquito control from predators submerged in your pond that prey upon mosquitoes dumb enough to try to live side by side with them.
TREATMENTS for your pond
- There are many treatments for our ponds that will also kill off mosquitoes before they can fly and bite, but safe for all other pond residents! Mosquito Dunks is a popular and effective treatment.
So the mosquito control concerns of water garden pond owners are perfectly normal when it comes to how it may affect mosquito populations and issues. Pond owners will be happy to learn that a well managed pond is exactly NOT the place that mosquitoes want to be or raise a family. Our well balanced ponds will attract and provide for numerous other types of pond residents that are cute and fun for us to enjoy, but fiercely protective of their territory even down to a mosquito; and usually with an appetite for mosquitoes that is equally as fierce. From the points given above anyone who is holding off on that dream project of installing an amazing backyard pond or water garden, can get off the fence. Install that pond you have been wanting to do and be a part of the solution to mosquito control, NOT the cause! You will not be creating a habitat for mosquitoes, but you will be creating a habitat for many other beautiful creatures, as well as an amazing environment for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.
All copyrights to this material is solely owned by Mike Gannon.