Controlling mosquitoes around the pond | Living the Country Life

Controlling mosquitoes around the pond

A bite-free experience depends on good pond management

When I’m fishing, I hate being attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. I use bug spray, but the skeeters always seem to find the one spot I miss. A nasty bug problem can rob anyone of the enjoyment they want out of their pond, and there is always the concern of West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Jonathan Ferris is an extension educator at Purdue University. He says there is a solution. A pond that is in balance and well-managed rarely has a mosquito problem.

"It’s the ponds that are shallow and they’re stagnant. It’s very warm water, and it’s covered with moss and algae and that kind of stuff. Mosquitoes can be a problem in a pond like that," says Ferris. "But in a well-balanced pond where you’ve got a healthy population of fish, you don’t have an overload of aquatic vegetation, you’ve got some wave action across the pond, they’re generally not a problem because natural predators take their toll on them. And just the wave action across the pond generally causes them to suffocate."

You can add an aeration system to create the surface wave action. Minimize nutrients going into the pond and you’ll have less algae and moss.

Bluegill and largemouth bass feed heavily on mosquitoes. Ferris says there is a lot of interest in a specific aquatic predator called “mosquito fish.” But he stresses that this fish is not a cure-all.

"There’s a lot of minnows as well as amphibians, and birds, and bats, and lot of things that will feed on mosquito larvae. So, that fish is just not the “savior”, if you will," says Ferris.

If you’re doing all you can but still have a mosquito problem, look around your property for standing water. Old tires, gutters, even small puddles in livestock hoof prints can be an insect nursery. All it takes is a few days for the buggers to breed and hatch larvae.

Learn more:

Controlling mosquitoes with natural predators

Tips for skeeter control in garden ponds

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