How to Prevent Mosquitoes From Breeding
To prevent swarms of mosquitoes in the yard, it is important understand one thing about their breeding and life cycle. It’s a simple rule: The more you disrupt the mosquito breeding cycle, the fewer mosquitoes will be around to bite and annoy you.
To control mosquitoes on the property, you need to know how mosquitoes reproduce and then systematically destroy any potential breeding grounds near the home. When there are no good places to lay eggs, mosquitoes will be forced to look elsewhere, meaning there should be of the insects around the home.
The Mosquito Breeding Cycle
Mosquito species have different breeding habits, but most want to lay their eggs near water - usually in vegetation or in still water. Female mosquitoes can produce 100-300 eggs at one time, and the eggs can hatch into mosquito larvae within 48 hours. For about a week to 10 days, the larva will grow before changing into a pupa until finally emerging as an adult mosquito about two days later. Within 14 days, you have an entirely new generation of mosquitoes ready to start the cycle all over again.
Luckily, mosquitoes don’t breed year-round. The insects only become active and start the breeding cycle when temperatures steadily stay at 50 degrees. They will either die off or hibernate - depending on the species - when temperatures dip below this mark again.
For most of the country, mosquitoes are only a concern in the summer months, when temperatures rise. If you live in a region with mild temperatures or early springs, however, you might experience quite a long mosquito season.
Where Mosquitoes Like to Breed
Mosquitoes don’t need cozy homes or candlelit dinners to reproduce. Most will only need a very small amount of still water. Mosquito breeding grounds can include:
- Ponds, Marshes and Bogs
- Bird Baths
- Rainwater Barrels
- Empty tires or debris in the yard - they can fill up with water after a rain
- Heavy shaded areas and long grasses
Any place with still water or heavy vegetation can be enough of a breeding ground, and mosquitoes can especially thrive after flooding because of all the still water. They don’t need a flood, though. Since their eggs are so tiny, a mosquito can even use a single water bottle cap filled with water to lay eggs.
How to Eliminate Mosquito Breading Grounds
Here are several ways you can create fewer places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs:
1. Practice good pond mosquito control. If there is a pond or still water on the property, you may not be able to remove it. It can be less of a mosquito haven, however, by adding mosquito fish - also known as gambusia affinis. A single fish can eat more than 200 mosquito larvae in 60 minutes. Another option for the pond is to introduce bacteria known as Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis) to kill larvae in the pond.
2. Cover rainwater barrels. Keep the barrels covered with a fine mesh fabric to prevent mosquitoes from getting through. Also keeping the barrel covered even when rain isn’t coming as a more permanent preventative measure. If covering isn’t an option, emptying the barrels within 24 hours of a rain before larvae have a chance to hatch.
3. Have a running birdbath. Birdbaths usually contain still water, but this problem can be eliminated by introducing a small pump to keep the water moving. If this keeps the birds away, replace the water daily to keep mosquitoes from breeding.
4. Eliminate debris and hiding spots on the property. Frequent cleanup eliminates empty containers or surfaces where still water can collect. Regular maintenance can also mean trimming back grasses and other plant life so mosquitoes can’t hide there.
5. Take a close look at the garden. Garden ornaments, flowerpots, and even paving stones can collect water and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. For potted plants, encourage good drainage. This will improve the health of the plants, while also preventing mosquitoes. For garden ornaments, look for hollow pieces with small drilled holes to allow water to drain away.
Other Strategies for Reducing Mosquito Bites
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to eliminate all mosquito breeding grounds. In addition to eliminating any standing water on your property, you might want to invest in a mosquito trap, designed to reduce the number of mosquitoes on your property. Mosquito Magnet® traps disrupt the breeding cycles of these pesky inhabitants by reducing the population of female mosquitoes to prevent them from reproducing.