Written by James Burns
Ponds and lakes are a little mysterious to many people. Pond owners have many questions, but one of the questions most often asked by pond and lake owners is this: How do I get rid of the mosquitoes around my pond? It is a good question, and while the underlying causes and relationships may be a little complex, it is not rocket science. It does however, require a little thinking about things like why the mosquitoes are there to begin with. If you find what they are after, and eliminate that, they will go away. Mosquitoes, like most other creatures, including human beings, are looking for a home, a safe and secure environment to produce a nice big mosquito family!
Just what is it that draws mosquitoes to a pond or lake? To answer that, we need to gain a little better understanding of the mosquito, and how the mosquito interacts with the pond or lake. We should start with what the mosquitoes need for a habitat.
Mosquito habitat needs
- The female needs blood before producing eggs. So, they will seek areas with available animal life.
- They need a wet place to lay their eggs.
- They need a place where they and their eggs and larvae will be protected.
This usually happens in an area where there is sufficient vegetation of some type to provide this cover.
Your overgrown pond provides these things in abundance!
- Small animals, and maybe even farm animals come to the pond in search of food and water, this supplies the blood.
- A pond is by nature a wet place with still, shallow areas, perfect for a mosquito nursery.
- A small pond with excessive vegetation provides great cover for the female mosquito and her offspring. The best form of cover for mosquitoes possible in the natural world comes in the form of filamentous algae also known as pond scum.
Filamentous algae, or pond scum as it is often called is the perfect cover for mosquitoes and mosquito larvae. It prevents predation by fish who would normally gobble them up. Controlling the algae, and bringing the lake or pond back into balance, will allow natural predators to take care of the problem.
There is really no way, or reason to attempt to get rid of the mosquitoes until the cover is gone. When the cover is gone, the fish, frogs, and other insect eaters will be able to find the larvae, and the mosquitoes, and eat them. The problem will go away on it’s own.
Managing vegetation and preventing insects
The best insect control is prevention. Prevention usually involves some alteration in the environment, this usually involves the control of vegetation. In fact, in almost all cases of aquatic or terrestrial insect problems, there is a vegetation management issue involved. When that is solved, whether it is high weeds and brush in an adjoining vacant lot, or overgrowth and algae in a pond or lake, the problem will go away! In most cases when a chemical is used to get rid of an insect pest, the first choice should be an herbicide!
Don’t use insecticides on or near the water
Insecticides should not be used in areas where the residue might end up in the water! At the very least, insecticides will kill the bugs that the fish use for food. Most insecticides are nerve toxins that have more impact on lower life forms than higher life forms because of their less complicated nerve systems. Because of this, it takes less insecticide to kill a bug than a human being with a much more complex nervous system. Since the fish have a very simple nervous system, it takes very little insecticide to kill them. Herbicides work in a completely different manner, and the proper ones, used properly, will not harm the fish.