How To Keep Mosquito Larvae Out Of Your Bird Bath

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey
Credit: Shutterstock / Sharon Epperson

Mosquitoes are arguably the biggest downside to warm weather. It seems like as soon as the ground thaws and the flowers bloom, these blood-sucking nuisances come back to life to ruin all outdoor activities. It makes sense that you will want to do all you can to get rid of stagnant water where mosquitoes quickly multiply. If you have a bird bath, you might wonder if there are ways to keep mosquito larvae out, so you can continue to attract birds, and not bugs.

To keep mosquitoes out of your bird bath, it is best to change the water every day or two. You can use natural mosquito killers that won’t harm birds, or add fish that eat mosquito larvae. Clean your bird bath frequently, and consider buying a bird bath with a fountain and moving water. Don’t neglect your bird bath, or add toxic chemicals that can injure birds.

If you noticed an uptick in mosquitoes since installing a bird bath, or have noticed wriggling larvae in the water, you probably want to know why these pests love this location. Bird baths are notorious as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The best way to start to learn how to put a stop to this problem is to understand why mosquitoes like breeding in bird baths.

Why Do Mosquitoes Keep Hatching In My Bird Bath?

Mosquitoes Are Attracted To Light

Mosquitoes are attracted to light, and they also love water. A glistening water feature in full sun, like a bird bath, is a mosquito's paradise. It has many of the ideal conditions for these pests to lay their eggs, so a bird bath will quickly attract them.

These Bugs Love Stagnant Water

Mosquitoes are attracted to water because it is the perfect place for them to lay eggs. Mosquito eggs require water to hatch, as the larval and pupal stages of development occur underwater. Still and stagnant water in your backyard will result in more successful hatching than fast-moving water. Therefore, stagnant water, like the kind found in a bird bath, is where mosquitoes are most likely to lay eggs.

Mosquitoes Reproduce Quickly

If you clean out your bird bath once a week, you might be frustrated when you constantly see bug larvae in the bird bath. The reason for this is mosquitoes reproduce very quickly. Their entire life cycle from egg to buzzing pest is 7 to 8 days, and they can easily go from eggs to larvae in just two days. This is why once-a-week cleaning isn’t enough to combat this breeding ground.

It’s Easy To Neglect A Bird Bath

Lastly, a bird bath is a water feature and bird-attracting device that is frequently neglected. it is often located far away from the entrance of the home, or is tucked away in a harder-to-reach spot. This often results in a bit of neglect and forgetfulness. Mosquitoes capitalize on this neglect by breeding in the murky water that is left behind.

Top Ways To Keep Mosquito Larvae Out Of Your Bird Bath

1. Change The Water Frequently

To prevent mosquitoes from growing and hatching in your bird bath, one guaranteed way to stop this life cycle is to change the water constantly. Mosquitoes reproduce quickly, but not in less than 24 hours.

It takes two to three days for mosquito larvae to turn into flying mosquitoes. Therefore, if you change the water every day or two, you will kill any developing mosquitoes, and cut down the number of these bugs that will grow up to bite you. This is a task that requires regular maintenance. If, however, you water your plants every day or two anyway, then this is a simple and small task to add to the evening watering routine.

2. Clean Your Bird Bath Regularly

Another way to make your bird bath less attractive to mosquitoes and more attractive to birds is to keep it clean. Birds prefer clean water in most cases, while mosquitoes often prefer dirty and murky water. This is because nutrient-rich water is often preferred for these egg-laying pests.

By keeping the bird bath clean, you keep the nutrients out and make it harder for many of these pests to hatch. It also keeps your bird bath looking its best.

3. Don’t Add Toxic Chemicals To The Water

It is important to remember as you begin your quest to keep mosquito larvae out of your bird bath that you must not harm birds in the process. Sure, it is easy to add mosquito killer to your bird bath, but there is a chance you might kill more than just mosquitoes. Avoid using anything toxic in bird bath water. When in doubt, leave it out.

4. Consider A Fountain Instead Of A Bird Bath

Since mosquito larvae are found most often in stagnant water, consider a bird bath with moving water. Many bird baths include fountains. You can also introduce a water feature with moving water, like a small waterfall land river.

This faster-moving water will greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes hatched in the bird bath. It can also be an effective way to attract hummingbirds and other birds that prefer moving water to stagnant water.

5. Shake Things Up

If you don’t want to change out your bird bath, consider shaking things up with the one you already have. Move water around regularly. This can be done by applying hose water to it. It will circulate some new water in, move the existing water around, and possibly get rid of mosquito larvae in the process. This is not as effective as some other methods, but it’s a start, and free.

7. Add Fish To The Water

If you have a large bird bath, you might want to add a few aquatic animals to the water to help keep mosquitoes away. Several fish and frog species love eating mosquito larvae. Minnows, guppies, and even types of goldfish all love to eat mosquitoes before they hatch.

The birds may eat a few of them, but they reproduce, so if the bird bath or pool is large enough, there should be enough to go around. Just make sure the bird bath water does not get too hot, as this can kill the fish.

8. Use Nature-Derived Mosquito Killer

While it is very important to not put anything toxic into the water, it is entirely possible to add some natural products that help keep mosquitoes away. There are several routes you can take when it comes to natural ingredients.

For a purely natural approach, you can use natural oils including vegetable oil to trap and drown mosquito larvae in the bird bath. Several oils have a certain acidity that can kill larvae. Peppermint, lemon, and even lavender oils are all good at keeping bugs away, with lemon being the most effective. But if you want to kill these pests without harming birds, several companies make safe mosquito larvae killers, and bird bath cleaners, that won’t harm birds.

Natural bird bath cleaner is a great option for those who tend to neglect a bird bath but want to keep it clean, and hopefully mosquito-free.

Summing Up Keeping Mosquito Larvae Out Of Your Bird Bath

Mosquitoes can ruin an otherwise lovely time spent in your backyard. Therefore, you must remove all temptations for these annoying pests to breed on your property. If you have a bird bath, you should do all you can to keep mosquito larvae from forming inside it.

The best ways to keep mosquito larvae out of your bird bath include replacing the water every day or two, as well as cleaning it regularly. While you should never add toxic chemicals to the water, you can consider natural oils. You can even add small fish like minnows, guppies, or some goldfish, as these aquatic creatures will eat the larvae before they hatch.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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