Zika Free Gardens
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
During these warm weather months, providing fresh water for wildlife is a critical necessity to beat the heat. However, where there is sitting water, there are also mosquitoes. With Zika virus spreading across the US, keeping your water areas mosquito free this time of year, is crucial to your health and the health of others.
Have no fear!
You don't have to give up your bird baths, fountains or other water features with these helpful tips! Mosquitos lay their eggs on still surfaces which can take up to 7 to 10 days to mature, from the larval stage to adult stage. To keep your wildlife's water mosquito free:
Change your bird bath water every five days to disrupt a mosquito's growth cycle.
For your fountains, add a small mosquito fish to all tiers so they can eat the larvae. Mosquito fish require no extra food, they can survive solely off bugs along the water's surface!
Add a fish bubbler or solar water aerator to break the surface of any standing water feature.
For water gardens, you can add mosquito fish as well as bladderwort (a carnivorous plant) and/or Chara (plant like algae which repels mosquitos). Contact Youth Environmental Alliance for more information on these!
Do not trim the dead fronds off of your sabal palms (also known as cabbage palms). They are a preferred roost of the Northern Yellow bat - who love to eat mosquitoes.
If you have a canal, lake or pond on your property, put up a purple martin box. These birds love mosquitoes!
Rinse out your Bromeliad blooms at least once a week to flush out any mosquito larvae. Bromeliads serve as great hosts for mosquitoes!
You can buy a natural larvicide such as Natular DT by Clarke or Mosquito Dunks.
Do a sweep of your property to make sure there are no sites where standing water can accumulate, i.e., buckets, wheel barrels, old tires, or clogged gutters. Finally, if you see dragonflies, swallows, purple martins or bats flying around the perimeter, rest assure this is a good sign! They are mutualistic symbionts with humans and are champion mosquito eaters!
Written by: Melanie Cantua, Kristen Hoss - Learning by Experience & Research
Edited by: Rachel Taylor
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