Mosquito Dunks – What They Are, How They Work, And How To Use Them Effectively 

Do you have a water garden or any water fixtures in your yard or on your property? If so, you already know how relaxing and beautiful these backyard pieces can be. Of course, you also already know that they can also be serious mosquito magnets.

Unfortunately, using pest control methods like pesticides and other chemical remedies can be harmful to the environment, and you’ll especially not want to use these types of methods to get rid of mosquitoes in water sources if you have fish, frogs, turtles or other wildlife living in backyard ponds.

So, how do you manage mosquitoes and mosquito larvae? Enter mosquito dunks! These incredible inventions can help you eliminate mosquito larvae in your water sources in as little as 48 hours.

But how exactly do these pest control products work, where can you find them and how can you work to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in your water next season?

That’s what we’re here to discuss!

But Before We Begin, Let’s Talk A Bit About The Life Cycle Of Mosquitoes

1 a diagram of the life cycle of a mosquito
The first three stages of a mosquito’s life are completely aquatic.

There are roughly 3,000 species of mosquitoes throughout the world, and they’re found on nearly every continent except for Antarctica. In the United States, it is estimated that there are around 176 mosquito species buzzing about and making our lives miserable.

With that being said, it’s important to note the mosquitoes are not all bad. They do have their place in a healthy ecosystem, as the majority of their food sources revolve around plant nectar. This makes mosquitoes beneficial pollinators, especially when you consider that only female mosquitoes feed on blood as they need the iron in order to produce their young.

Still, mosquitoes can transmit serious diseases, and a single female mosquito can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, averaging around 300 or more eggs in her lifetime.

Regardless of the species of mosquito, each mosquito begins its life in the same way and goes through four life stages before becoming an adult. The first three stages of a mosquito’s development are completely aquatic.

And this, friends, is why you often run into problems with mosquitoes and mosquito larvae in stagnant backyard water sources.

The four stages in a mosquitoes life cycle include eggs, larvae and pupae (all three of which are aquatic, as we mentioned), and then adult.

Adult mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water sources for a few reasons. First, because mosquito larvae and eggs cannot survive outside of water.

Another reason mosquitoes prefer stagnant water sources is because stagnant water sources develop algae and house other microorganisms that the larvae can feed on.

As adults, mosquitos often don’t travel far from the water sources from which they were born. This is why you often find swarms of mosquitoes around stagnant water sources, especially if they are manmade ponds, fountains, bird baths, and stagnant wading pools or above ground pools in your yard.

For many types of water sources, getting rid of mosquito larvae or eggs is as simple as dumping the water source and keeping it clean or flowing.

However, this can be nearly impossible for ponds or large fountains and pools. And this is where mosquito dunks come in. But what are mosquito dunks and how do they work? Most importantly, are they safe for the environment and any aquatic wildlife?

Let’s find out!

What Are Mosquito Dunks And How Do They Work?

2 a close up of Bacillus
BTI is a naturally occurring bacteria found in soil. It is fatal only to mosquito larvae and harmless to other plants, animals, insects and people. 

Have you ever heard of a larvicide? The word itself can sound harsh, and when you hear that mosquito dunks are larvicides, you may shy away from using them. This can be especially true if you’re nurturing aquatic life in your backyard water sources like frogs, fish or turtles.

However, you’ll be happy to know that most mosquito dunk larvicides can work 100% effectively when it comes to killing mosquito larvae without causing harm to other beneficial aquatics.

Mosquito dunks are unique because they are not a mist or liquid pest control product. Instead, they are usually small, donut-shaped disks that are designed to dissolve slowly in water. These disks are made of a natural bacterium derived from soil known as Bacillus Thuringiensis Subspecies Israelenisis or B.T.I.

B.T.I is the active ingredient in mosquito dunks, and as the dunks dissolve this bacteria is released into the water. Though harmless to most aquatic life, mosquito dunks are fatal to mosquito larvae.

The dunks kill the larvae upon being ingested, at which point they paralyze the digestive tract of the mosquito larvae, which leads to the pest starving to death. These dunks eliminate mosquito larvae in under 48 hours and a single dunk can continue to treat the same water source, depending on the water source’s size, for nearly 30 days.

Of course, while we do like mosquito dunks, it’s important you consider the pros and cons that go along with using them.

Pros of Using Mosquito Dunks

  • Mosquito Dunks are a natural way to kill mosquito larvae
  • They work quickly and require little to no maintenance
  • Mosquito dunks are generally safe for other wildlife like birds, fish and frogs
  • Mosquito dunks are easy to find and inexpensive

Cons of Using Mosquito Dunks

  • Mosquito dunks only work against mosquito larvae and do not kill other pests
  • These dunks will not prevent mosquito eggs from being laid in your water sources
  • These dunks do not kill adult mosquitos
  • Some mosquito dunks may include chemical ingredients that could be harmful, so it’s important to read the directions and do you research before you invest.

Best Mosquito Dunks For Garden Water Sources

3 a backyard pond and garden
Organic mosquito dunks can be ideal for fish ponds and backyard water sources that provide refuge for aquatic plant and animal life. 

Nearly all mosquito dunks are made using the active ingredient B.T.I. However, not all mosquito dunks are created equally. Some work better than others and are made specifically for certain types of water sources.

Before you invest in mosquito dunks, it’s important you do your research and understand the specific types of mosquito dunks you will need in order to ensure you have the best results.

We will get the ball rolling for you with five of the best mosquito dunks currently available for outside water sources.

Take a look.

Summit Mosquito Dunks

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First on our list are basic mosquito dunks made by The Summit Store. This product has been approved for use in organic gardening and production, which gives a sigh of relief to those who are passionate about green pest control use.

Each order includes 20 dunks, and a single dunk can cover up to 100 square feet in water sources. A single dunk can also help kill mosquitoes for up to a month when applied correctly.

These dunks float in the water and slowly disintegrate overtime, releasing the bacteria that kills mosquito larvae. Again, like most mosquito dunks, these dunks are harmless to people, pets and wildlife.

The dunks also store safely and retain their potency and effectiveness no matter how long they are stored when kept dry.

Terro No Mess Mosquito Larvicide Pouches

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Though not approved as organic, we are including the Terro No Mess Mosquito Larvicide Pouches on our list of mosquito dunks because they are effective and different from most other basic dunks.

This product comes in a quick-dissolving pouch that is safe to use in bird baths, fish ponds, and other stagnant water sources accessible by people, pets or wildlife. It will also not harm plants or vegetation.

However, this product does contain ingredients that could be harmful to the skin and eyes if not handled properly, so it’s very important that you store these mosquito dunks safely and keep them out of reach of children.

One benefit we do like about these mosquito dunks by Terro is that they are long lasting, with many continuing to kill mosquito larvae for up to eight weeks.

Bonide Mosquito Beater

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Bonide is a popular pest control company that many people use for their pest control needs, and we like that they provide these mosquito dunks that are designed to be safe in fish ponds and water gardens.

Specifically made for standing water sources, these mosquito dunks are smaller than some and they are not disk shaped. Instead, they come packaged in water soluble packaging that allows them to dissolve within minutes of being placed in the water.

Like most of the mosquito dunks that are high quality and safe, these mosquito dunks will only harm and kill mosquito larvae.

Each order includes 24 packets and a single packet treats 50 square feet of water. This means you may need to use more than one packet per water source depending on the size of your water garden or backyard pond.

Summit Chemical Co Mosquito Bits

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Not all mosquito dunks come in pouches or compacted disk shapes, and this is made evident by the above Mosquito Bits provided by the Summit Chemical Company.

While this product works similarly to a number of the mosquito dunks on our list, we should note that it does not specify if it is safe to use in ponds with fish. However, you can use these bits in stagnant water sources like pools, water gardens, animal watering troughs, and other sources where mosquito larvae might crop up.

Though these types of mosquito dunks do have their cons, they are effective against not only mosquito larvae, but also fungus gnat larvae. 

However, it’s important that you use this product only as directed and store it properly. Keep it out of reach of children and dispose of it as the directions specify when you are done.

Bactimos Mosquito Control Dunks

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Last, we have another brand of mosquito dunks that are more common and perhaps more familiar to you. These mosquito dunks are made by the brand Bactimos, and they contain B.T.I. as the active ingredient, making them a safe alternative to a few other mosquito dunk options.

They can work to eliminate mosquito larvae in abandoned or unused swimming pools, ponds, gutters, pumps, and other stagnant water sources that could easily harbor mosquito eggs or larvae. Each order contains 20 dunks and each dunk stores and contains its potency so long as it remains dry.

Other Products You Can Use To Help Keep Mosquitoes Away From Your Water Sources

4 an adult mosquito
Although mosquito dunks will kill mosquito larvae, they are not designed to kill adult mosquitoes. 

One of the few cons of using mosquito dunks is that they won’t stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in your water sources. This means that mosquito dunks, while effective, won’t reduce the numbers of mosquitoes you’re dealing with right away.

With that being said, they can reduce the number of mosquitoes you’re dealing with eventually, as they will eliminate future mosquito generations from emerging from the water.

Still, it’s a good idea to use mosquito dunks in conjunction with other mosquito repellent products in your yard or on your property, especially if you live in a region where mosquitoes are known to spread serious or deadly diseases.

Not sure which products would be the best to use along with your mosquito dunks? Don’t worry, we have done our research and listed some of our favorite products that you can use as well.

Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control Spray

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Using mosquito dunks can seriously help reduce the mosquito population around your home, but it still won’t stop mosquitoes completely. The best way to use mosquito dunks is to use them in conjunction with other pest control methods, including a product designed to repel and kill adult mosquitoes as well, as we mentioend above..

If you’re interested in using natural products for your pest control needs, we recommend considering Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control Spray. This spray uses plant based ingredients to repel and kill pests like mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, spiders, flies, ants and a number of other pests.

It also contains essential oils like peppermint oil and rosemary oil to deter these pests and keep them from returning. This spray is all natural and is safe for children, pets and the environment. Plus, there is no wait time after it is sprayed. You can spray and immediately enjoy your yard!

Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Candle

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Candles not only give a gorgeous ambiance in the backyard or on the front porch, but citronella candles especially can be helpful in keeping adult mosquitoes at bay. While candles will not repel mosquitoes in the long run, they can help keep mosquitoes away from you and stop them from biting you as you enjoy your yard.

Citronella candles are safe, pleasant to the smell, and easy to use.

Bite Fighter Tiki Torch Fuel

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Like candles, tiki torches infused with citronella fuel can also help to repel pests. One of the best fuels for tiki torches is the above Bite Fighter Tiki Torch Fuel by the Tiki Store. This fuel comes in a 64 ounce can and is designed to repel mosquitoes while also giving your garden a lovely glow.

This product is safe to use around children and pets, though you should not leave your torches burning if you are not there to monitor them.

Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray and Mosquito Fogger

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If you’re looking for a more targeted way to keep biting adult mosquitoes from becoming problematic, we would recommend a fogger like the Cutter Backyard Bug Control Mosquito Fogger above. Though designed for mosquitoes, this fogger can kill other pests on contact as well including ants, gnats, flies and wasps.

It is for outdoor use and treats up to 1,200 cubic feet. While it is effective, it does contain chemical ingredients that could be toxic to people, pets and the environment. Do not spray this mosquito fogger directly into water sources to eliminate mosquito larvae and keep this product out of reach of children and pets.

How To Make Your Own Mosquito Dunks At Home

5 a koi pond with a frog
When using home remedies to control mosquito larvae, be careful that the ingredients will not harm wildlife or vegetation. 

If you’re looking for the best way to get rid of mosquito larvae in water sources, we strongly stand by the use of organic mosquito dunks. Remember, these products are completely safe to use, they are natural, and they will not harm the environment, wildlife, people, or pets.

Still, if you’re looking for ways to get rid of mosquito larvae in your water sources using pest control methods or home remedies, there are a few household ingredients you can combine that will help eliminate these pests.

Of course, you should be careful when using home remedies and household ingredients, especially if you are putting these ingredients in water sources as they are not guaranteed to be safe for wildlife, pets or the environment.

With that noted, let’s take a look at some recipes you can use in conjunction or in place of mosquito dunks to get rid of mosquito larvae.

Vegetable Oil Or Olive Oil 

Although mosquito larvae are aquatic, they still rely on oxygen from the surface of the water to survive. You can suffocate these pests in water sources simply by adding a teaspoon of vegetable oil or olive oil to the water.

The oil will create a sealing coat over the top of the water, suffocating the mosquito larvae. This method is best suited for sources like water fountains or other water features that are not housing plantlife or aquatic animals.


Soap is another common household item that can help to eliminate mosquito larvae. According to most experts, any type of soap will do, though we find that the best soap for water sources is a liquid dish soap.

You don’t need that much, and a small amount should work to kill pests within the day. However, and just as with using oil, putting soap in backyard ponds or water sources with plants or other living organisms could be harmful, so use this method with caution.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Last but not least we have today’s latest cure-all, apple cider vinegar. This product promises to help your digestion, decrease bloating and ease arthritis, but we bet you didn’t know it could also kill mosquito larvae.

Apple cider vinegar works in place of mosquito dunks or in conjunction with mosquito dunks to kill these pests without harming other aquatic wildlife or the environment.

You can also use apple cider vinegar to repel adult mosquitoes and other pests around your yard by mixing the vinegar with water in a spray bottle and spraying them directly. Who knew?

Are Mosquito Dunks Right For You? Let’s Summarize!

6 a robin in a bird bath
Mosquito dunks can be used in most outdoor water sources and are generally safe for people, pets and wildlife. 

If you have standing water sources in your yard, you’re likely going to be dealing with mosquitoes and mosquito larvae. This means that you’ll eventually be looking into methods and products you can use to eliminate these annoying pests.

In our personal opinion, mosquito dunks are some of the best and most effective products available to control mosquito larvae. Not only are they 100% effective against the pests, but they are also natural, safe and environmentally friendly.

Of course, using mosquito dunks is not the only way you can reduce mosquitoes in your yard. Let’s take this moment to talk about a few expert tips and tricks for preventing or reducing these pests in the future.

Remove or Reduce Stagnant Water Sources

Since mosquitoes are attracted to water, it goes without saying that removing any stagnant or excess water sources from around your home or property will help reduce their numbers. Of course, if you have an outside water garden, or decorative water fixtures and fountains, then you likely don’t want to remove them.

However, you can help to reduce the number of mosquitoes and in turn mosquito larvae by reducing any excess water sources you do not want or need.

This would include anything like overturned buckets, old tires, children’s wading pools, and empty flower pots. We also suggest refraining from overwatering your lawn, as well as ensuring your gutters and drainage areas are clean and free of debris and buildup.

If you do have stagnant water sources that are temporary, like children’s pools or dog water bowls, try and ensure they are emptied when not being used and constantly kept fresh.

Use A Year Round Pest Control To Manage Adult Mosquitoes

Having water on your property likely means mosquitoes, but you can help get rid of them by being proactive and using a year-round pest control product or method.

Along with mosquito dunks, which will help eliminate the population of mosquitoes in your direct vicinity, you can also use other pest control products like an insect spray or ultrasonic pest control machine to repel these pests from coming around.

The less attractive you make your yard to mosquitoes, the less mosquito larvae you’ll be dealing with in your water.

Invite The Predators 

There are plenty of beneficial animals that are predators to mosquitoes, and many of them will also be attracted to your backyard ponds or water garden. Predators of mosquitoes include:

  • Dragonflies
  • Birds
  • Bats
  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Tad[p;es
  • Damselflies
  • Turtles
  • And A Wide Variety of Fish Including:
    • Guppies
    • Goldfish
    • Bass
    • Bluegill
    • Catfish
    • Koi Fish
    • And Mosquitofish

Plant Mosquito Repellent Plants Near Your Water Garden

Along with inviting the predators and using mosquito dunks when necessary, another easy way you can deter mosquitoes is by planting mosquito repellent plants. Some of the best plants you can plant on your property to repel mosquitoes include:

  • Marigolds
  • Lavender
  • Catnip
  • Citronella Grass
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Bee Balm
  • Scented Geraniums
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • And Onions

Use Essential Oil Diffusers, Citronella Candles or Tiki Torches

Last and perhaps one of the most fun ways to get rid of mosquitoes and reduce having larvae in your water garden is to use either an essential oil diffuser, some citronella candles, or tiki torches that burn with citronella infused fuel.

Not only will these products give you an incredible ambience, but they will repel a number of pests from mosquitoes to wasps to gnats and more.

Best of all, these methods are natural and safe when used properly, and can be especially effective when used alongside mosquito dunks.

So, what do you think about using mosquito dunks in your outside water fixtures to eliminate mosquito larvae? Have you ever considered this method before?

Tell us why or why not in the comment section below.

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