How To Kill Mosquito Larvae In Backyard Ponds, Fountains and Water Gardens

If you’re not a fan of mosquitoes, then you’re most certainly not a fan of mosquito larvae. Though they are harmless in this stage of their life, mosquito larvae can hatch by the hundreds and often emerge from the water within weeks of being born to live as flying, biting adults.

We always say it’s best to be proactive when it comes to pest control, which is why we are glad you found yourself here looking at how to kill mosquito larvae in different water sources around your home.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

But First, How Do You Identify Mosquito Larvae?

1 a diagram of mosquito larva
Mosquito larvae are very different looking when compared to their adult counterparts. 

Do you have mosquito larvae in your outdoor water sources? It is entirely possible you do, regardless of where you live in the United States, and especially if you have an abundance of adult mosquitoes buzzing about.

Mosquitoes and their larvae can and do live nearly all over the entire world, in a variety of climates. The only places they are known to not thrive are areas with very cold climates, such as Antarctica.

With that being said, most mosquitoes are hardy little insects that are able to survive the most trying of circumstances and habitats.

There are an estimated 176 different mosquito species in the United States today. While each species is different in its own way, for the most part these insects have very similar life stages and patterns when it comes to mating and reproduction.

In fact, all mosquitoes, regardless of their species, go through four life stages. This complete metamorphosis can take place over a very short period of time while other species take nearly a year before maturing into adulthood.

The four phases of a mosquito life cycle include:

Egg

Like all insects, mosquitos enter the world as an egg. The female mosquito lays her eggs on the surface of stagnant water sources, where the water is full of algae for the larvae to feed on once they hatch.

Depending on the species, it can take between 8 to 10 days for the eggs to hatch, at which point the infants emerge as tiny larvae.

Larvae

Mosquito larvae must cling to the surface of the water in order to survive, as they require oxygen. They are able to breathe out of a small tube at the base of their abdomene. It is at the water’s surface that mosquito larvae feed ravenously on algae, only diving down into the water temporarily if they need to flee predators from above the surface.

Mosquitos spend the majority of their life as larvae, with some species living anywhere from 14 days to several weeks before finally pupating.

Because they spend so much of their time at the surface of the water, you may be able to get a good look at them.

These pests are quite small, with some as small as1/8th of an inch in length. Tiny!

Pupae

The mosquito pupae is unique to many other insects because it remains active during this stage. While still below the surface of the water, the pupae is able to breathe with two tubes at its top. If disturbed, the pupae can push itself away from the surface as a form of protection against predators.

Some mosquito pupae species will overwinter during this stage, while others emerge within a few days to weeks from the surface of the water as adult mosquitoes.

Adult

Adult mosquitoes emerge slowly from their pupae shell to rest on the surface of the stagnant water and allow their wings to dry and their exoskeletons to fully form. Then they are off!

Female mosquitoes tend to live longer than their male counterparts, though neither gender lives very long after mating.

We should also note that male mosquitoes are not the villainous blood sucking pests we make them out to be. Instead, it is their female counterparts that cause us grief!

Only female mosquitoes bite and suck blood, as they rely on the iron in blood to help sasiate them in order to procreate.

This video below talks more in depth about the fascinating  life cycle of mosquitoes.

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While most of us hate mosquitoes, we will begrudgingly admit that they do serve their purpose. In fact, they can be considered pollinators as they often feed on nectar and plant sap. However, mosquitoes can also carry serious diseases that they can spread to both people and pets.

For this reason, it’s best not to let them stick around and to look into how to kill mosquito larvae in your outside water spaces before they become adults.

Why Do I Have Mosquito Larvae In My Backyard Pond, Fountain or Water Garden?

2 a drawing of a mosquito laying eggs in water
Mosquitoes are attracted to stagnant water sources because this is where they mate and it is a safe place for them to lay their eggs. 

Lots of different factors on your property can attract adult mosquitos, but they are most commonly attracted to stagnant water sources when it comes time to lay their eggs.

You probably love your backyard water fountain, bird bath, pond or kiddie pool. Unfortunately, so do mosquitoes.

These insects love stagnant water sources because they’re not only a safe place to lay their eggs, but these water sources are also filled with algae, which is an essential food that mosquito larvae need to feed on in order to survive.

There can be many sources of stagnant water in your yard that you may not be aware of and that may be attracting mosquitoes. These sources include:

  • Dog water bowls
  • Child wading pools
  • Overturned buckets
  • Water fountains
  • Backyard ponds
  • Garbage bins
  • Debris
  • Gutters
  • Woodland Ponds
  • Sitting Tires
  • And More

Mosquitoes may also be attracted to properties near marshes, or homes with lush lawns that tend to be overwatered.

Because stagnant water makes for the ideal mosquito nursery, it’s no surprise that stagnant water would also make for an ideal mosquito breeding ground. This means that if you have fountains, ponds or water gardens in your yard, you are likely going to be dealing with more mosquitoes than your neighbors who do not.

And, of course, this means you’re certainly on the right track when looking for how to kill mosquito larvae in backyard ponds, fountains and water gardens. So keep reading!

How To Kill Mosquito Larvae In Stagnant Water

3 a live image of a mosquito larva
Killing mosquito larvae should be done with caution, especially if there are larvae in ponds with other animals like fish, turtles or frogs.  

There are a few different methods and products you can use when it comes to how to kill mosquito larvae in backyard water areas. With that being said, it’s important that you’re cautious about the types of products you use, especially if you’re using water soluble products for how to kill mosquito larvae as they may contain chemical insecticides or pesticides.

Even some natural products could include ingredients that can be harsh on the environment or that may be toxic to animals like fish, turtles or frogs that you have in your pond.

Other Products may contain ingredients that could be harmful to people or pets.

When choosing the best products for how to kill mosquito larvae in your backyard water areas, you should also consider the sources in which you’re targeting.

Some of the most common attractants to mosquito larvae in backyards or front yards include water gardens, ponds, and fountains.

For this reason, we will focus primarily on methods and products for how to kill mosquito larvae in these areas.

What Are The Best Larvicides For How To Kill Mosquito Larvae?

4 a bird bath
Bird baths can be sources of mosquito larvae in your yard, and you’ll want to be careful about the products you use to kill these pests if you have birds drinking from these baths.

If you do a quick search, you’re sure to find plenty of larvicide products for how to kill mosquito larvae. But how does Mosquito Larvicide actually work?

A larvicide is a form of pest control specifically designed to target insect larvae and kill them before they reach maturity. Larvicide is generally considered an insecticide, and there are many that do contain chemical ingredients that can be toxic to people, pets and the environment if not used as directed.

Larvicides often come in three common forms including:

Bacterial Insecticides:

Bacterial insecticides work for how to kill mosquito larvae by exposing these pests to Bacillus, which creates problems with the digestion of food for the larvae, which causes them to die of starvation.

Insect Growth Inhibitors:

Insect growth prohibitors often contain a chemical agent known as Methoprene or S-Methoprene. These products work by preventing the mosquito larvae from turning into adults and completing their life stages.

Organophosphate Insecticides:

Organophosphate Insecticide is a pesticide that was once added to stagnant water, ponds or lakes where mosquitoes were commonly known to mate and lay their eggs.  However, these types of larvae insecticides have been discontinued, as they contain Temephos, which was found by the EPA to contain harmful ingredients that are toxic to the environment.

Again, this is another reminder to be careful about the products you use when it comes to any type of pest control you are putting directly into outside water sources.

With that being said, many of the larvicides on the market today are relatively safe and often state clearly if you should not use them in ponds with living animals.

These larvicides are available in different applications as well, with some coming in granular forms while others are liquid.

Other products that work for how to kill mosquito larvae include a variety of oils like mineral oils, essential oils and Monomolecular films, but we will discuss these in more detail further down.

For now, let’s take a look at some of the best products you can use for how to kill mosquito larvae.

Mosquito Bits – Quick Kill

Mosquito Bits is a product made by the Summit, which provides environmentally conscious solutions to pest control. Though this is not an all natural product, it is safe to use in water and to use around people and pets.

This product is designed to kill mosquito larvae using Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis, (BTI), which is a bacteria found in common soils. This bacteria kills the mosquito larvae as well as other pests like fungus gnats.

You can use this product for how to kill mosquito larvae in ponds, water gardens, and other sources where it is specified.

You can pour these granules directly into the water and even mix it with potting soil or pour it around the edges of your water sources for extra protection.

Bonide Mosquito Beater Larvicide

Bonide Mosquito Beater is a product that uses a larvicide for how to kill mosquito larvae. As we touched on above, a larvicide often contains pesticides that are water soluble and kill mosquito larvae in ponds, bird baths, drainage ditches and more. The active ingredient in this larvicide is Bacillus Thuringiensi.

This product comes in water soluble pouches and is designed to only kill mosquitoes and their larvae. It also claims to be safe for beneficial aquatic critters, most likely because the active ingredient in this larvicide is Bacillus thuringiensi, which is a derivative of BTI.

Summit Chemical Co. Mosquito Dunks

If you’ve been looking up how to kill mosquito larvae, you’ve probably already run across mosquito dunks. These donut-shaped dunks contain BTI, which as we’ve discussed is a bacteria derived from soil.

These dunks are water soluble and designed to be dropped right into your standing outside water sources. They work to kill mosquito larvae on contact and provide long term control. Each order includes a set of 20.

Terro Mosquito Larvicide Pouches

These mosquito larvicide pouches by Harris are designed to be safe to use in a variety of water sources, including even fish ponds! Of course, because this is a larvicide it’s important to read the directions carefully and ensure you are using it only as specified.

These pouches dissolve immediately in water and offer up to two months of protection when applied correctly. According to the instructions, you can apply these pouches to fish ponds, rain barrels, gutters, water gardens, and anywhere else you have standing water or mosquito larvae issues.

Altosid Pro-G Insect Growth Regulator

You might also want to try Altosid Pro-G for how to kill mosquito larvae. This is an insect growth inhibitor that works on larvae by keeping them from maturing. It can be used in a number of different types of water sources and offers up to a month of protection.

Each order comes in granules, and while it does contain chemical ingredients it is safe to use in water with fish and beneficial insects like honey bees. We also like that it is made with a time-release, which offers extensive protection over time.

How To Kill Mosquito Larvae Using All Natural Products

5 a garden pond
If you have a garden pond with living critters inside, you’ll want to be especially cautious about how to get rid of mosquito larvae. 

While experts have found that larvicides work and work well for how to kill mosquito larvae, there has also been plenty of evidence by the EPA suggesting that natural methods work just as effectively.

In fact, studies have found that oils including olive oil, mineral oil, and many essential oils and other plant based products can be applied to outdoor water sources to safely and efficiently kill mosquito larvae.

Luckily, many companies are getting on board with this and are selling natural products for how to kill mosquito larvae. We have listed some of our favorite products below.

EcoRaider Mosquito and Mosquito Larvae Killer and Repellent

One natural and non toxic product we like for how to kill mosquito larvae is a product by EcoRaider. We recommend this brand often to those who are interested in organic gardening and natural pest control because it uses natural ingredients that are safe for people, pets and the environment.

This product also targets not only mosquito larvae, but also the adult mosquitoes. It kills the pests immediately on contact while leaving behind a residual that lasts for up to two weeks. Best of all, this product is safe for fish, children, birds and pets.

Pure Cinnamon Oil

Another all natural product you can use for how to kill mosquito larvae is pure cinnamon oil. We like cinnamon oil for a few reasons. First, it’s incredibly effective. Cinnamon oil has been found to have natural pesticidal properties that kill mosquito larvae and other pests without the use of harsh chemical ingredients.

Best of all, it’s environmentally friendly and won’t harm fish or other living animals you want in your pond. We also give this product bonus points for a fabulous smell.

Home Remedies For How To Kill Mosquito Larvae

6 olive oil
Household ingredients like olive oil have been found to kill mosquito larvae naturally and instantly. 

Wondering how to kill mosquito larvae without making a trip to the store or ordering pest control products online?

Then you’re in luck. There are several ways you can go about using household ingredients as a form of do it yourself pest control to get rid of mosquito larvae.

But before we dive in, it’s super important that you consider the types of water sources you’re using these ingredients in when working on how to kill mosquito larvae.

If you have ponds or water sources that serve as a home to living animals, be sure to do plenty of research before using the below products. Some of them can be harmful to fish, frogs, toads, tadpoles and even beneficial insects.

Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil

Other oils that will work for how to kill mosquito larvae include olive oil or vegetable oil. In fact, any oil will do as it coats the surface of the water, leading to suffocation of the mosquito larvae. Remember, the larvae rely on tiny tubes to breathe and they cling to the surface of the water to do so.

The oil makes this impossible.

Unfortunately, oils like vegetable oil or olive oil can also be harmful to other critters in the water like fish, so only use this if you’re trying to get rid of mosquito larvae in an otherwise vacant water source like a decorative water fountain.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has also been found to work as a natural solution for how to kill mosquito larvae. That said, you’ll need to find the right concentration of apple cider vinegar, with most experts agreeing it should be at least 15% or more vinegar concentration.

It can also take quite a bit of the vinegar added to the water source to kill the pests, and it can take over 24 hours to work.

This is a successful solution if you’re in a pinch, though it may be more costly than some of the other methods just due to how much vinegar it takes. It may take a bit more time to work as well, which is something to consider.

Soap

In water sources that are free of living animals, you can opt to use liquid dish soap. Liquid dish soap typically works for how to kill mosquito larvae within a day if you apply it correctly and allow it to sit.

This is one of the easiest solutions to a mosquito larvae problem, though it is not recommended for water gardens or ponds with fish.

Bleach

Last, you can try using bleach for how to kill mosquito larvae. Like using soap, it’s imperative you don’t use bleach in water sources that contain living animals or even plants.

Bleach can be hard on the environment as well, so we recommend using it in sources that don’t seep water back into the earth. (This would include a stone water fountain, for example).

How To Kill Mosquito Larvae – Tips On Keeping Mosquitoes and Larvae From Returning

7 a mosquito on a leaf
Getting rid of mosquitos is an effective way to prevent mosquito larvae.

Knowing how to kill mosquito larvae is helpful, but it won’t work in the long term if you don’t also take care of the mosquito adults that are responsible for the larvae in your water sources.

For this reason, it’s important to consider larvae control as a two-fold form of pest control. In order to prevent these pests and continue to keep them at bay for good, we recommend you follow a few of the below tips and tricks from our experts.

Remove Stagnant Water Sources

First and foremost, you can reduce mosquito larvae quite a bit simply by removing their nursery. If you have excess water sources in your yard including clutter, overturned buckets, debris, filled gutters, ditches that collect water, or kiddie pools you forget to dump, it’s time to act.

Remove these excess water sources and be sure to clean refresh any water sources in standing decor like fountains or bird baths as often as possible.

Grow Mosquito Repellent Plants 

As we’ve covered, getting rid of mosquito larvae is a two fold situation, and it helps to also get rid of the adults that create them. To help repel mosquitoes and keep females from laying eggs in nearby water sources, we recommend considering companion planting in your yard and around ponds, water fountains or water gardens.

Some of the best plants you can incorporate in your garden to repel mosquitoes include:

  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Catnip
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Garlic
  • Onion

These plants will not only help to repel mosquitoes and reduce mosquito larvae, but they’ll also repel other pesky insects like aphids, roaches, ants, pill bugs, slugs, earwigs and more,

Keep Water Moving If You Can

For outdoor water gardens and ponds, it’s a good idea to invest in an air bubbler or to add a waterfall. Keeping the water moving constantly will make it inhabitable to mosquito larvae, thus reducing the number of larvae you’re dealing with as well as the adults they eventually grow up to become.

If you have a fountain that you only turn on once in a while, consider keeping it on consistently to keep mosquito larvae at bay or, again, investing in an air bubbler.

Use A Form Of Pest Control Manage Adult Mosquitos 

Adult mosquitoes typically mean larvae, especially if you have water sources in your backyard. One of the best ways to prevent larvae is to control the adult population at the same time.

Try using a year-round pest control regime around your property to repel both adult mosquitoes and their larvae in the future.

Bring On The Predators For Both The Larvae and the Adults

Adult mosquitoes have a variety of predators, including birds, spiders, bats, dragon flies, damselflies, fish, turtles and frogs.

But what about predators for mosquito larvae?

If you have a backyard pond, you might consider filling it with predators that can help you on your mission for how to kill mosquito larvae. Predators that will eat these pests include goldfish, guppies, catfish, bluegill and even bass.

Frogs, toads, and tadpoles can also help keep mosquito larvae at bay, though you shouldn’t rely solely on these critters when it comes to mosquito and mosquito larvae control.

Incorporating a few of the basic tips listed above as well as investing in some form of larvicide you trust will give you the best results.

So, now that you know about the different methods you can use for how to kill mosquito larvae, which method are you going to try?

Keep us posted on your progress by leaving us comments below.

Best of luck!

How To Kill Mosquito Larvae 1 How To Kill Mosquito Lavae 2