How to Safely Kill Mosquito Larvae
TheCatInTheWindow · 23/06/2022 18:59
My little pond is filled with mosquito larvae and I've been reading online about how to kill them. I've read a few articles now which say to use either a drop of dish soap or oil. A drop apparently meaning just a tiny drop which will put a thin film over the pond that suffocates the mosquitos.
I have no fish or frogs but I do have a lot of birds drinking and bathing in my pond and I don't want to do anything that could harm them.
Does anyone know if putting a tiny drop of soap or oil will harm birds? Otherwise how can I kill off the mosquito larvae?
ofwarren · 23/06/2022 19:03
Do they need to be killed?
We had loads on a little pond area and just left them to hatch. Food for the bats that we get in the evening.
TheCatInTheWindow · 23/06/2022 19:23
Thanks for the reply ofwarren. If the larvae will provide food for birds and bats then I'm happy to leave them. I just don't want to have a mosquito problem and being bitten every time I go into the garden. I haven't seen any mosquitos this year so surprised to see these larvae arrived.
parietal · 23/06/2022 19:39
a drop or two of olive oil won't harm the birds. might not do anything to the mosquitoes either but you can have a go.
gingersplodgecat · 23/06/2022 19:42
I think they are more likely to be midge larvae than mosquitoes. Anyhow, buy a couple of goldfish, and they'll eat them.
Jijithecat · 23/06/2022 19:45
I planted some marigolds in pots near my pond. Not sure if it really does work as a repellent but I couldn't see the harm in trying it.
parietal · 23/06/2022 21:18
don't put goldfish in a small pond. goldfish need a circulating supply of fresh water and the water needs to be changed often so the level of waste (poo etc) does not build up. they are rarely suitable for small garden ponds. Also, they would eat everything and prevent beneficial things like frogs / dragonflies living there.
LightSpeeds · 23/06/2022 21:41
I used to fish them out with a sieve. It's quite relaxing...
If you spot the mosquito eggs on the water surface (they look like semi-circular black seeds), fish them out quickly.
IcakethereforeIam · 23/06/2022 22:14
I think the soap breaks the surface tension and stops the larvae from breathing. It's likely there's something else in the pond that will eat the larvae, dragonfly or damselfly nymphs, maybe some kind of amphibian. There are lots of species of mossie and midges and very few bite humans, I'd leave them.
TheCatInTheWindow · 23/06/2022 22:36
Thanks for the replies! I thought they were mosquito larvae but perhaps they are not. I'll try to get a photo of them in the morning. I can plant some marigolds around at the weekend and they'll look lovely if nothing else. My pond was a lockdown project. I'm not sure it's big enough for fish. It's only about a metre wide and about a metre deep at one end, tapering off towards the other end to allow the birds a place to bath. I had hoped for frogs and toads but I haven't seen any evidence of them or hedgehogs sadly. There seems to be a lot of hover flies about, do they eat larvae?
TheCatInTheWindow · 23/06/2022 22:37
LightSpeeds · Today 21:41 I used to fish them out with a sieve. It's quite relaxing...
How did you dispose of them after you fished them out?
IcakethereforeIam · 23/06/2022 23:13
Awesome, it's a new pond give it time. It's possible the larvae will reduce as the pond gets colonised by other species. Hoverflies are beneficial insects, the adults feed on flowers and are pollinators. Their larvae, depending on the species, some have larvae that eat aphids, at least one species has larvae called rat tailed maggots. These live in damp places and feed on detritus.
TheCatInTheWindow · 24/06/2022 10:36
at least one species has larvae called rat tailed maggots.
😮 Called what??
I'm shuddering thinking about something like that wiggling around in my garden but if it's beneficial I'll try to ignore it. There are always loads of hover flies and they are lovely to watch darting about the place. I've always wanted a pond but don't really have the space. I watched Gardener's World Monty Don build a pond about a year or so ago and decided I'd create a tiny one in my garden. It's been nice watching it develop through the seasons.
I tried to photograph the 'mosquito larvae' this morning and realised how tricky it is to photograph water as it just reflects the sky. I have managed to get the larvae in pic 2 and hopefully someone can tell me what they are. I've also included a pic of my beautiful water iris when it was in bloom (along with the forget me nots and ajuga) 2 weeks ago!
ofwarren · 24/06/2022 10:49
Your little pond is lovely!
TheCatInTheWindow · 24/06/2022 16:12
Thank you ofwarren! 😊
IcakethereforeIam · 24/06/2022 18:43
It is lovely, I think the rattailed maggots mouseypillars live in very wet ground. So most of your garden should be safe.
TheCatInTheWindow · 24/06/2022 21:59
Thank you Icakethereforelam!
I must admit to being somewhat relieved to know there are unlikely to be mouseypillars in the garden
Can anyone tell if those tiny black lines in photo 2 are mosquito larvae? I've attached another pic of a close up to aid in visibility.
Singleandproud · 24/06/2022 22:10
Leave them be, I also built a wildlife pond as a lock down project. If you wipe out the bottom of the food chain you'll never get frogs etc. Are you sure you don't have any? Check at dusk with a torch as I had never seen a frog in my garden until I built the pond andthere are lots now. I thought I lost a lot of them as next doors cats kept catching them but moved some rocks and a plant and 20+ started to hop around.
We don't have any hedgehogs but my garden is walled in so that isn't surprising, the frogs seem to get under the gap in the gate.
Make sure you have at least one gently sloping side for nature to get in and out if it doesn't already have it. I can't remember it's name but my frogs all seem to live around my corkscrew plant.
IcakethereforeIam · 24/06/2022 23:19
Hopefully, I've attached a picture of the larvae (I sacrifice a couple of minutes to the link gods). They swim quite jerkily and hang head down from the surface. Yes, they breathe through their bums. The pupae are also quite mobile and look like dark commas, the punctuation mark. From the pupae emerge the adult insects. I'd second what @Singleandproud said regarding an exit, but if you've got somewhere for the birds to bathe it may already be taken care of.
Nat6999 · 24/06/2022 23:55
Go to a local pond & get a couple of frogs or toads, I did it as a kid & my mum still has them coming back to mate now.
TheCatInTheWindow · 25/06/2022 11:41
Here are pics of 2 blackbirds bathing this morning.
I'll have a look out for frogs as well as a corkscrew plant while I'm at the garden centre getting marigolds. Glad to hear of another lockdown pond. I kept telling myself I couldn't afford a pond and didn't have space. But I managed to create a little space, do the digging myself, use rocks and plant cuttings I already had along with an unwanted left over piece of material from a neighbour's extension for the lining. So my little pond was free to create and brings me and the birds a lot of pleasure.
Thanks for the link! I'm starting to wonder if they are mosquito larvae. They don't seem to be hanging head down but they do look like commas. When I top up the pond they all squirm about but otherwise they are completely still. I keep hoping the blackbirds will eat them.
OytheBumbler · 25/06/2022 11:56
Rat tailed maggots turn into hover flies which are hugely beneficial for the garden.
If it's a true wildlife pond I'd leave the mosquito larvae as they will be providing food for loads of other things.
The pond itself should find a nice balance if left mainly alone. Just provide some different plants for the wildlife, ie reeds for dragon flies to emerge from, water forget-me-not for newts and some oxygenator plants like hornwort to keep the water clear.
lljkk · 25/06/2022 11:57
Agree tadpoles would sort you, ask around for some spawn next March.
Lovely pond you have.
Singleandproud · 25/06/2022 13:38
Here's a dragonfly emerging (2 weeks ago) from our lockdown pond.
The pond saved my sanity during lock down, I'm a single parent and my parents actually live on the same road as me, whilst we followed the rules re: going indoors we made a bubble outdoors from the start. The pond was DDs idea, she said she had outgrown her trampoline and big wooden climbing frame so we dismantled both. My dad came up and dug the pond with DD whilst I WFH roughly 3m by 3m and 1m deep and then it took ages for the liner to arrive, the plant were a packaged set from Wetland Nursery's and also took awhile to come as we were in the depths of the first lock down we ordered Scottish pebbles for around the edges and unfertile soil for what would become the wildflower meadow around the edges with the wooden frame of DDs climbing frame as the border/edging holding everything in place. We got our first frog the day the pebbles and water went in, there wasn't even any plants in it.
IcakethereforeIam · 25/06/2022 14:18
Sorry, if I've caused confusion. The mossie larvae hang head down, they then metamorphose into the comma shaped pupae which hang at the surface. The pupae will only react to disturbance. The adult insects emerge from the pupae, it's the same life cycle as a butterfly but wetter!
Your pond is lovely, the blackbird gives it scale, it's very well planted.
@Singleandproud I'm so jealous of the dragonfly. Considering their life cycle your pond must have been colonised very soon after you dug it.
TheCatInTheWindow · 26/06/2022 07:50
Great plant suggestions OytheBumbler thanks! If I don't attract any frogs by the end of the year I'll put a message on my local site asking if anyone has spare frog spawn next spring. Thank you lljkk 😊
Wow Singleandproud your pond sounds really lovely and huge!! It sounds a great family project! If wildlife moved in that quickly it must mean the pond was much needed.
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