Hello, I've recently moved in a property with a decent sized garden. However, it hasn't been a month and I'm already tired of having a literal army of mosquito waiting for me outside. This got me wondering, what can I do to control their population ? One or two mosquitoes I can deal with, but there's way too many.
So far, I've though about :
- Making bat houses - Planting carnivorous plants (are there any mosquito eating specie that can survive outdoor in France ?)
- Planting plants that naturally repels mosquitoes
However, I am not sure which plants (carnivorous or not) to use; and maybe there are other effective way to reduce thee number of mosquitoes. Which one would be good ? Are there other things like the bat house I can do to reduce their number or repel them ? As far as I know, there are no ponds or small body of water in my garden, but I've heard there are a few nearby.
My sincere belief is that nothing can really be done to control mosquito populations. Some things help to keep them away from a certain area for a limited time. Of everything I've used, I once purchased some super-concentrated garlic liquid that you mixed with water and sprayed in the area you wanted to protect. It worked really well but had to be reapplied fairly often. I have no idea if it kept beneficial insects away as well. I think I have tried nearly everything else there is with very limited success. If I were in your position, I would use the garlic spray again.
It doesn't fit for everyone, but I like the idea of aquaculture large enough to draw local mosquitoes to lay eggs there. If there just so happens to be an insectivorous minnow on in the system's lower trophic levels, you've just turned your abundance of mosquitoes into fish food.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Swallows can eat 850 mosquitos per day. A big shame their population is collapsing. I let them in the barn and hung a little concrete nest for them, which they didn't use this year. They made their own one with mud. They came late this year and have tripled in population in my village, but every year less return from Africa. I've got a pond so should have lots of mosquitos, but i never see them in there. I do see them in the rainbarrels, lots, years ago i used to catch nontonecta, common backswimmer bugs and moved them into the rainbarrels, but now the fish eat the backswimmers and the mosquitolarvae. i used to need a net before swallows were around, and there are more bats as well, probably because i got so much insects they all come to feed.
There are other birds that eat them too, so get more trees on the go and perennials that attract insect which attract birds.
And i agree with Trace, garlic spray! You're in France now, i use it as deodorant and mouth spray alike. ;)
Our home backs onto a swamp but we don't have major mosquito problems (we do have some but it's one here and there, not a lot). I believe its because we have a lot of mosquito predators, both birds and dragonflies. If I had a mosquito problem my first try at getting rid of them would be to try to attract dragonflies. They like standing water; certain plants and warm rocks. If you have a mosquito problem you probably already have the standing water somewhere.
A bad mosquito problem usually means they are breeding somewhere nearby, certainly within a quarter mile and usually much less. Patrol carefully for any ephemeral water....this means rain water accumulated in something natural or artificial that eventually dries up after some weeks or months of dry weather, certainly before a year goes by. Human trash....tires, containers, pieces of plastic...is a primary culprit but I have seen larvae swimming in magnolia leaves on the ground in rainy weather. Sometimes a problem is up overhead out of sight....like a hole in a tree where a branch has broken off or a crack in some bamboo etc. One time I tracked a bad problem down to a badly hung gutter right overhead that was out of level and rainwater had piled up in the blind end!
Counterintuitive as it may seem, permanent water is less of a problem, and in fact a valuable means of control is to establish a small permanent pond on the property. This is because permanent water breeds as many mosquito predators as mosquitoes. Keep it stocked with minnows or mosquito fish and these will control most of the larvae, and meanwhile the dragonflies, frogs, toads, etc. that are attracted will be breeding there and then their adults will disperse into the wider landscape to go on eating mosquitoes and other insects!
ponds don't breed mosquitoes, because ponds breed other things that eat the larvae (in general) --The best breeding ground for mosquitoes is a hoofprint --enough water for larvae but not enough for fish and other predators.
A piece of plastic trash on the ground that catches water, any small containers-- these are likely sources for your mosquito population. I have heard of people that deliberately set out small containers of water, then entice mosquitoes to lay their eggs--then dump them before the larvae can escape,but be quick and don't forget to empty the containers religiously.
There is also a trap that can be made that is supposed to be quite effective and a few of these scattered around might eliminate the problem altogether.
There was also a trap I remember that essentially used a coarse weave black sock Any course weave cloth will do but dark is important) half submerged in the water, partially pulled through a hole in the container, with screen securely fastened over the top. This lures the mosquitoes to lay eggs on the dark wet sock, then the larvae could live in the container but not escape to the open air. Sorry I couldn't locate the link, and that's the best I can remember it. The first trap url looks promising to eliminate adults, and the second one may lure the breeders to waste their progeny.
The second trap needs to be periodically refilled with water since it will evaporate periodically.
Using neem leaves (and oil too, perhaps), is supposed to render the eggs inviable. Also, I agree that you should have a fish pond. We had a ton of mosquitoes in Wisconsin until we installed a pond and put some goldfish in there. That's all they ate, and they got BIG!
Here in Haiti, we had an enormous bug (including mosquitoes) problem when I first came, but a year or two after, when the trees began to mature, hundreds of pretty, noisy, yellow birds showed up and this year we haven't used the mosquito net once (I used to have to go to bed at sundown just to hide under the net).
So yeah. I'd do a pond and attract as many predators as possible. And the neem if it's accessible to you.
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