Mosquitos, Your Garden Pond and You
Many people often have concerns about attracting mosquitos if they build a water feature. We can tell you that while a garden pond is not necessarily the cause for mosquitos, it does have many natural defenses for them, and so should you. Here, we have explored many reasons why mosquitos attack and options for keeping them from invading your personal space.
Mosquitos are cold-blooded ectoparasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded prey in order to reproduce. Only female mosquitos bite, and provided that she can avoid being slapped to death, can live up to three weeks. During her life-span, she can potentially lay over 500 eggs in shallow, stagnant water.
"What DOES attract mosquitos?"
Yes, it is true that mosquitos are attracted to areas with higher humidity levels so, a water garden would certainly qualify. BUT the constant moving water from your waterfall, fountain and or water spitter will not allow female mosquitos to land on the surface of the water to deposit her eggs.
Here are some other things that may attract those pesky mosquitoes to you and your yard:
- Carbon Dioxide: Both humans and animals produce carbon dioxide which signals female mosquitoes that a potential blood supply is near. She can detect carbon dioxide from 75’ away.
- Dark Clothing: Research shows that mosquitoes can see and use their vision to locate targets from a distance - and people wearing dark colors are at higher risk.
- Higher Body Temperatures: High body temperatures indicate a warm-blooded being, ripe for the picking of a blood-thirsty female mosquito looking for nutrients to lay her eggs.
- Floral Scented Lotions and Perfumes: Since only the females that are looking to lay eggs are drawn to blood, males and other females feed on plant nectar. Scented lotions and perfumes will attract them right to you.
- Lactic Acid, Sweat, Potassium and Salt: These components are present on your skin are similar to the make-up of many plant nectar, so naturally they will be attracted to it.
- Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol increases body temperature and may cause your skin to give off excess carbon dioxide which attract mosquitos.
- Blood Type: Studies have shown that people with type O blood are 83% more likely to attract mosquitos.
- Pregnancy: A study in the year 2000 found that pregnant women attracted twice as many mosquitoes as non-pregnant woman. This is because pregnant women exhale more carbon dioxide, in addition to running higher body temperatures and having more blood circulating through her body than the average person.
- Full Moon: Studies have shown that mosquito activity can increase by 500% during a full moon.
"How do we deter or get rid of mosquitos?"
- Turbulent Water: As I said above, an adult female mosquito will NOT be able to lay her eggs in moving water. Also, larvae are actually air breathers. That is why we see them seemingly hanging under the surface of still water. They are using their “snorkels” to breathe air. If water is turbulent, they will drown.
- Pond Residents: If a female mosquito does happen to find a quiet corner of the pond, however, natural predators in your pond will take care of the rest. Frogs, goldfish, gambusia (mosquito fish), dragonflies and toads are all examples of who would enjoy a tasty mosquito or mosquito larvae snack.
- Perimeter Plantings: There are many scents than can throw a mosquito off your trail. Planting the perimeter of your patio or leisure space with certain fragrant plants may help. Plants like lavender, marigolds, basil and thyme are a few plants to include in your landscape that have been proven to work.
- Products: Citronella Candles, Mosquito Dunks and Dr. T’s Mosquito Repelling Granules are designed to either kill the larvae in the water or drive the masses away from your yard with pungent odors. All are safe for people, pets, fish, etc.
- Clean Skin and Light Clothing: Washing the sweat and scents from your skin before you go out to enjoy a relaxing evening will go a long way to helping you avoid being bitten. Dress in light colored clothing like white or khaki to make yourself less detectable.
- Flying Creatures: Setting up bird houses and bat houses will invite birds and bats to move in and keep the mosquito population to a minimum. One bat can eat up to 1,200 mosquito-sized insects every hour, or 6,000-8,000 per night. Meanwhile, a Purple Martin who hunts by day, may eat up to 2,000 mosquitos.
As you can see, there are many safe ways to keep mosquitoes at bay. So, don’t let mosquitoes keep you away from building that pond or water feature of your dreams and go out and enjoy the outdoors!
mosquito repelling products online here.