How To Kill Mosquito Larvae (5 Ways To Do It!)
Back in the 90s, mosquito bites were more of a nuisance than they were a threat. Now that Zika, West Nile Virus, and other mosquito-borne illnesses made it to the United States, people are rightfully concerned about the influx of mosquitoes every summer. The best way to prevent getting bitten is to kill mosquitoes before you get bitten. Killing larvae is a must, but how?
There are several fast and easy ways to get rid of mosquito larvae. The most popular methods include:
- Removing Standing Water
- Dish Soap
- Vegetable Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Knowing the tools you have in your arsenal to aid in the war against mosquitoes is a must. To keep your home safe from these petite pests, keep reading our handy guide.
How Can You Get Rid Of Mosquito Larvae?
Mosquitos can wreak havoc on your home and your health, but there’s good news on the horizon. Their larvae are remarkably easy to kill. These methods below are approved by the experts, safe, and easy to use…
Removing Standing Water
If you remembered the ads that first came out when West Nile Virus was discovered in the United States, you might remember government officials recommending that people remove pools of standing water. This is, in fact, the easiest way to kill mosquito larvae that could be growing in your yard.
Larvae need pools of water in order to live. By cutting off access to water, you prevent your home from becoming a major hotspot for mosquitoes during the summer. Even if you don’t think you need to do this, it’s a good idea to avoid letting any amount of water sit in your garden for too long.
Believe it or not, mosquito larvae are easily killed by regular ol’ dish soap. It acts like a fast poison and makes it impossible for larvae to breathe. Thankfully, spraying dish soap in your yard also happens to be totally safe for pets and kids. This makes it a safer alternative to heavy-handed pesticides that many others choose to use.
To use dish soap as a larvae killer, add a couple of drops of dish soap to any pool of standing water that you find. If you aren’t sure where the larvae are, just mix three tablespoons of dish soap to a quart of water in a spray bottle. Then, spray everything down with the solution.
By the way, it’s worth noting that dish soap can be a great pest killer for creepy crawlers other than mosquitoes. Ants, termites, and other pests tend to get sick from it, too. In some cases, it can even help get rid of weeds in your yard.
Much like dish soap, vegetable oil has a way of trapping mosquito larvae’s access to air. This makes it impossible for them to breathe, which in turn, kills them fairly quickly. To use this method, just add a teaspoon of oil per gallon of standing water. The thin layer of oil will kill mosquito larvae in a pinch.
It’s worth noting that this method works with virtually any oil you can get your hands on. So, if you have any spare avocado oil, olive oil, or corn oil, you can use it to get rid of your mosquitoes too.
Apple Cider Vinegar
If there is one thing you probably know by now, it’s that vinegar is a problem solver. Virtually any type of vinegar can be put to good use in your home. White vinegar can remove oobleck out of carpet, while apple cider vinegar is a great pest killer. Mosquito larvae, like many other pests, are sensitive to acidic materials.
With ACV, the acidic properties of the vinegar end up eating away at the mosquito larvae’s bodies. This, in turn, kills them. There is no way for mosquito larvae to develop an immunity to vinegar. To use this method, mix a 50/50 solution of water and apple cider vinegar. Then, spray that solution throughout your yard.
What Animals Eat Mosquito Larvae?
If you want to let Mother Nature take control of your pest control, then you have a couple of options. There are a couple of animals that find mosquito larvae to be a delicious snack. These animals below might be able to help you reduce larvae numbers:
- Fish. If you have a koi pond or a lake that fish call home, chances are that you won’t have to spray down those areas with oil or soap. Virtually every type of fish imaginable enjoys eating mosquito larvae, so your finned friends will be able to handle those areas for you.
- Birds. Crows and other birds are fans of eating mosquitoes as well as their larvae. With that said, what birds are willing to eat will depend on the species. Some eat larvae, others won’t.
- Frogs. Both frogs and tadpoles find mosquito larvae to be a great food source. This is particularly good for pond owners since frogs and their young both tend to make pools of standing water their home. Most adult frogs prefer mosquitoes, while younger ones may choose to munch on their larvae.
- Dragonflies. Dragonflies are known for being excellent hunters, and mosquitoes are one of their primary prey. If you notice a bunch of dragonflies buzzing around near standing water, it’s almost certain that they’re helping reduce your mosquito problem. On a similar note, damselflies are also fairly famous for their mosquito appetite.
- Bats. Bats are more likely to eat mosquitoes than they are their larvae. However, it’s not impossible for bats to choose some larvae too. It all depends on the species.
Should You Rely On Animals To Kill Mosquito Larvae In Your Yard?
Here’s the thing that most people don’t want to admit about mosquitoes: there’s never just a handful of them in your yard. While many animals can help cut down the overall population numbers, relying on them exclusively isn’t a good idea. Even though some animals can eat up to 600 mosquitoes a day, the truth is that fellow fauna aren’t foolproof pest controllers.
A better way to look at things is that natural mosquito predators should be a backup to your own pest control. It’s safe to assume that you will be able to get rid of the majority of mosquito larvae by your own methods. Any stagnant pools you missed or broods you didn’t notice should be left as treats for your local wildlife.
Do Spiders Eat Mosquito Larvae?
A common misconception among gardeners is the idea that spiders naturally prey on mosquitos and their larvae. This actually is not true! Though spiders will happily eat mosquitos that fall into their webs, they do not go out of their way to lure mosquitos into them. They don’t even try to build webs near stagnant pools of water!
Because it is rather unusual for spiders to eat adult mosquitoes, you shouldn’t assume that they’ll eat larvae at all. Most mosquito larvae are found in bodies of standing water, and since spiders don’t usually make webs underwater, it’s not likely they’ll catch larvae in their web. So while spiders are helpful in catching flies and gnats, don’t expect them to help out with your ‘skeeter problem.
Should you use commercial pesticides to kill mosquito larvae?
This is up to you. It’s no secret that commercial pesticides are good at killing insects, especially if they are specially formulated to kill a certain species you hate. There are, in fact, plenty of highly effective commercial-grade pesticides you can use to wipe out mosquitoes in your yard.However, commercial pesticides have a tendency of being somewhat toxic to people and pets. If you have small children or animals that may be sensitive to certain types of poisons, it may be better to stick to something along the lines of apple cider vinegar or dish soap. It’s just safer that way.
What types of fish eat mosquito larvae?
If you have a lot of larvae in your pond, an easy way to reduce their population is through the introduction of the right type of fish. Goldfish, guppies, koi, bass, catfish, and bluegill all eat mosquito larvae on a regular basis. While these species gained the most notoriety for their love of larvae, the truth is that almost any type of fish will eat larvae from time to time.To ensure that your pond remains friendly to indigenous fish, check out what fish are naturally found in your area before you introduce them. From there, just choose a species that eats insects, and you should be good to go.
Do ladybugs eat mosquito larvae?
While ladybugs are carnivorous insects, there’s a major caveat when it comes to their pest control abilities. Ladybugs do not eat insects that suck blood from other animals. This includes mosquitoes and ticks. As a result, you should not expect ladybugs to eat the larvae found in your garden. A better option would be to introduce dragonflies to your home. They are natural mosquito predators, after all.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.
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