Guide to Wildlife-Friendly Mosquito Control
Towne Lake Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists recently teamed up to plan education and outreach efforts for NWF Community Wildlife Habitat Certification in the Eagle Watch and Wyngate communities. Below are tips from the group on the 4 B’s of safe, effective mosquito control: Bucket, Blow, Bottle, Bath.
Kill thousands of mosquito larvae, before they reach maturity:
• Remove standing water where mosquitoes breed by dumping water from yard equipment and planters after every rain.
• Next, put straw or other decaying plant matter in a bucket of water and add mosquito dunk, a small disk sold at garden centers that targets only mosquitoes. The brew of straw and water is irresistible to egg-laying female mosquitoes, and the dunk kills all larvae. (A dark bucket works best.)
Refresh water and dunk every two or three weeks. You are killing more mosquitoes than any spray.
Did You Know…?
Consumer Reports recommends avoiding sprays because of possible endocrine and neurological impacts for people.
All pyrethrins and pyrethroids – described as “natural” by fogging companies – are neuropoisons. In 2018, poison control centers got 27,000 calls for pyrethrins and pyrethroids.¹
Use a tall rotating pedestal fan at the grill or patio table to drive away mosquitoes.
Did You Know…?
Mosquitoes are weak fliers! According to the American Mosquito Control Association, placing a large fan on your deck or in your outdoor area will blow them away.²
Keep a bottle of mosquito repellent handy by the door. A top pick is Picaridin Bug Repellent for Mosquitoes and Ticks, a pepper-like ingredient as effective as DEET but without the downsides. (It makes the list for Environmental Working Group.)
Did You Know…?
Monarch caterpillars are killed by eating leaves treated with mosquito sprays, even weeks after sprays supposedly dissipate.³ National insect specialist Doug Tallamy states, “Contrary to what the fogger operator may have told you, the pyrethroid-based insecticides … kill all insects, not just mosquitoes … [and] is the worst and by far most expensive approach to mosquito control.”4
For a mosquito-free bird bath, toss 1/4 dunk in your bath every couple of weeks. Mosquito dunk uses a bacteria that attacks only mosquito larvae. Completely safe for birds and your goldfish pond!
1. Maryland Department of Environmental Protection https://mygreenmontgomery.org/2021/an-interview-with-experts-are-backyard-mosquito-sprays-safe-and-effective.
2. American Mosquito Control Association. www.mosquito.org/page/FAQ.
3. Oberhauser, et al. (2006). Growth and survival of monarch butterflies after exposure to permethrin. Environ. Entomology.
4. Tallamy, Douglas M. (2019). Nature’s Best Hope. Timber Press.
– Ann Litrel is an artist and certified Master Naturalist. She instructs nature journal workshops and paints in her studio, Ann Litrel Art, in Towne Lake.