Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water like moths to a flame. If you have a birdbath (or even a fountain, etc.) in your garden, it’ll end up being the perfect breeding ground for thousands of these pesky insects. Most people look for simple options like removing any standing water from around their house – this includes emptying out any water baths and fountains in and around your house. But for people who like seeing and hearing the beautiful birds chirping around, there are other ways to keep mosquitoes out of birdbaths. You just need to look for the right method that kills them effectively without harming the birds.
Here’s how to keep mosquitoes out of birdbaths:
- Regularly change the water
- Keep the water bacteria-free
- Keep the water moving
- Keep your entire yard free mosquito-free, not just the birdbath
- Try natural remedies
But it goes much deeper than this. In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about why and how to keep mosquitoes away from your birdbath.
Why do you need to keep mosquitoes out of your birdbath?
Since birdbaths are outside your house, you might be wondering how mosquitoes in the birdbath affect you and the people in your household. However, these mosquitoes lay their eggs in the water, grow in numbers, and then buzz right into your house through an open door or window.
And it’s not just a matter of staying free from itchy bug bites. These bugs carry and transmit various life-threatening diseases like malaria, the Zika virus, and dengue, so you need to make sure that they don’t get anywhere in or near your house.
How do you keep mosquitoes out of birdbaths?
With some effort, you can ensure that fleets of these blood-sucking insects stay away from your birdbath:
Regularly change the water
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in the water in a birdbath, but it takes a week, even 10 days for those eggs to turn into adults. Even changing the water in the birdbath every 5 days is sufficient to prevent the mosquito eggs from reaching maturity. Apart from keeping mosquitoes away, freshwater is also better for the birds. You can use the old water in the birdbath to water the plants or the grass to avoid wasting it.
Apart from cleaning the water in the birdbath, you also need to remove any debris like fallen leaves, etc. that actually provide organic feed and shade to the mosquito larvae.
Keep the water bacteria-free
Just remember that you can’t use any chemical insecticides in your birdbath since this can also kill the birds. However, you can find commercial bacterial insecticides that will be strong enough to kill the mosquito but will leave the birds and any other animals that come to visit unharmed. These solutions generally work for up to a month, so you’ll have to keep adding the insecticide every 30 days. However, this isn’t a feasible long term solution, so keeping the water moving is a better option.
If you’re looking for bacterial insecticides, look for those with Bacillus Thurnigiensis israelensis (BTI) since this bacteria is effective when it comes to killing mosquitoes. Commercially, these are known as mosquito dunks, and they are especially effective in getting rid of mosquito larvae.
Keep the water moving
Mosquitoes need still water to lay the eggs in. Adding an aerator or an agitator to the water keeps it moving and prevents mosquitoes from breeding. Something like a small waterfall incorporated in your birdbath will do. And the sound of the flowing water will also attract more birds.
Many people also use a water pump to keep the water agitated and pest-free.
Keep your entire yard free mosquito-free (not just the birdbath)
Your birdbath is probably only a small part of a mosquito problem that affects your entire garden or yard. To reduce the number of mosquitoes, don’t just focus on your birdbath – get rid of any stagnant water in the entire yard. This may include keeping all garbage cans tightly shut, draining any water that may accumulate in the crevices, filling up any spaces, like a divot in the patio where rainwater or water from the garden hose can come in from. To fill up these spaces, you can even add sand to solve your pest problem.
Try natural remedies
Certain kitchen ingredients can be effective when it comes to getting rid of mosquitoes. For instance, you can add a small amount of cinnamon oil (around a teaspoon or two for the entire birdbath) to the water, which will create a thin layer at the top of the birdbath and kill the mosquito larvae. If you don’t have cinnamon oil, any other vegetable oil is also likely to do the trick.
Apple cider vinegar is not as strong and effective as cinnamon oil, but it’s still pretty useful as a mosquito killer. However, its effect will only last for around 15 hours.
Bonus: Save the environment
Although this is a pretty mass scale solution, you can try and implement it even within your neighborhood. Make sure you have parks and waterways nearby that are home to dragonflies, fish, and even bats. These creatures kill and eat mosquitoes, so not only will you be protecting the natural ecosystem, but you’ll also be saving yourself from bug bites.
What time of the year do you have to worry the most about mosquitoes?
No matter where you live, the first few days of spring bring with them hoards of mosquitoes. Apart from this, they’re also particularly active during the summer. During both these seasons, you need to clean and maintain your birdbath to keep it bug-free.
Mosquitoes generally disappear if temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’re probably safe around this time.
While mosquitoes can fly in from anywhere straight into your yard, with a few simple measures (the most important one being cleaning and replacing the water in the birdbath), you can ensure that they stay away from your yard and don’t manage to find their way into your house.
Try to stick to natural remedies at first to keep you, any children, and the birds that come to your yard safe from these irritating insects. If they don’t work, you can resort to chemical tactics – this might be important if you’re traveling and won’t be able to tend to your yard frequently, or if it is peak mosquito season and there are too many of them flitting around. With a little effort, you can at least reduce their numbers and keep them from laying more eggs.
Do birds keep mosquitoes away?
In some cases, the birds around your birdbath will take care of your pest control problem for you. This is because many species of birds actually eat mosquitoes and their eggs. Some common ones include swallows, songbirds, and purple martins.
However, these birds don’t completely rely on insects for their food supply, so they’ll only take care of the problem partially. You will still need to take some measures on your own.
Can bleach be used to kill mosquitoes in birdbaths?
While bleach is effective at wiping out mosquito larvae, you’ll need to empty out the water in the birdbath after using it. You will also need to scrub the birdbath clean to prevent the birds from ingesting any bleach. Since this substance is harmful to both humans and animals, natural remedies are considered to be a better option for getting rid of mosquitoes in birdbaths.
Are mosquito dunks (donuts) and pellets the same thing?
Although both these items have the same active ingredient (BTI), they work differently. Dunks are in the form of donuts and settle at the bottom of the birdbath. You only need to use a donut or two at a time (depending on the size of your birdbath). If you’re using pellets, you need to keep adding them to the water until they cover the entire surface. Both methods are effective, and you can use whichever one you can find conveniently.