In case you don’t know it yet, mosquitoes have been dubbed the most dangerous insect in the world.
Don’t let their seemingly harmless size fool you.
Although these arthropods are quite tiny, all they need is a single bite to spread a variety of serious diseases.
And what’s even worse to note is that a single female mosquito can lay up to 200 eggs at a time…and have up to THREE pregnancies throughout her lifespan of one to two months.
And even though it seems like getting rid of possible nesting grounds (or rather, standing water) is an effective strategy in eliminating mosquitoes, bear in mind that some species of mosquitoes lay eggs that can survive without water over a certain period of time. Furthermore, one inch of water is all these eggs require for them to hatch.
This will then bring us to a conclusion that the easiest and most efficient strategy in getting rid of mosquitoes is by targeting the insects in their larval stage (aka baby mosquitoes). This only gives you a narrow 10-14-day window of opportunity. Therefore, it is critical that you act fast and decisively.
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
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What Are Mosquito Larvae?
The larva is the fourth stage of the entire mosquito life cycle. They are often referred to as “wrigglers” because of the wriggling action that they make during this stage of life.
Check out how these larvae wriggle in the video below!
The entire larval stage lasts anywhere from four to 14 days. During this time, the larva hangs itself upside-down near the surface of the water with a specialized siphon for breathing.
Their mouths are equipped with tiny brushes that help filter out smaller food particles such as plankton, fungi, and algae that provide them the nutrition they need to mature. Each larva sheds its skin up to four times before it reaches its pupal stage.
What Is The Habitat of Mosquito Larvae?
Your first step to effectively eliminating mosquito larvae is to locate their habitat. Adult female mosquitoes can either lay single eggs, or clusters of many eggs at a time.
But in order to lay any eggs at all, they must first find a nesting ground with enough resources for the eggs to germinate and mature. These sites all have a few characteristics in common, as listed below.
Mosquitoes need standing water in order for their eggs to hatch, period.
And since they are among the most adaptable living organisms in the world, their eggs can easily germinate into their larval stage in the slightest amount of standing water—such as water in unattended buckets and tires.
It goes without saying, though, that mosquitoes prefer to stretch out as much as possible in lakes and ponds for their larval habitats.
Floodwater and Soil
Interestingly, there are some species of mosquitoes such as the Aedestaeniorhyncus that prefer laying their eggs on moist soil rather than on an already existing standing water.
Eggs of these mosquitoes can become dormant until sufficient amount of water is supplied into the nesting ground. In an urban setting, eggs of floodwater mosquitoes are usually seen in the drainage systems of homes and other buildings.
Mosquitoes need standing water in order for their eggs to hatch, period.
Their eggs can easily germinate into their larval stage in the slightest amount of standing water—such as water in unattended buckets and tires.
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How To Find Mosquito Larvae Around Your Home?
When you’re on the hunt for mosquito larvae, you’ll only have to scout around your property and look for any size and volume of standing water—from a pond at the back of your house to a clogged gutter. Mosquito larvae can also thrive in pools or even in outdoor structures such as a fountain right outside your home.
Mosquito larvae look like small hair worms encompassing less than half an inch in size. They hang themselves upside down near the surface of the water and move around in a wriggling motion.
How To Kill Mosquito Larvae?
Eliminating mosquito larvae can be done in various ways. Essentially, the type of solution depends on the type of standing water you’ve got on your hands.
Every situation is different, so it’s best to take a look at the scenarios below to educate yourself on the correct way to stamp out the larvae in your exact circumstance.
Getting Rid of Larvae In a Pool
As a large body of standing water (not to mention normally filled with people that attract mosquitoes), the pool is one of the top candidates for the insect larvae to thrive. And in cases of larvae infestation, you have quite a few options to consider for effective control.
You can use methoprene granules which primarily work by preventing mosquito larvae from maturing into their adult stage. This particular larvicide is equipped with an IGR (insect growth regulator). The formula allows the larvae to proceed into their pupal stage but prevents them from becoming adult mosquitoes. Efficacy of the solution can last for 3 to 4 weeks.
BTI dunks are also an option in eliminating mosquito larvae in your pool. More commonly known as mosquito dunks, these circle shaped larvicide with a tiny hole at the center contains microorganisms which are designed to be eaten eventually by mosquito larvae and initiate gut poisoning. BTI stands for Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis and offer month-long protection.
And perhaps the easiest way to get rid of mosquito larvae in your pool is by applying bleach solution into the water. And we are talking about the same bleach solution that we typically use to eliminate stains from our white clothes. It’s the sodium hypochlorite component of the bleach solution that works in eliminating mosquito larvae. To safely apply the solution into the pool, mix 1 tablespoon of bleach with 1 gallon of water.
Getting Rid of Larvae In a Pond or Lake
Because of their natural abundance, ponds and lakes are among the favorite nesting grounds of mosquitoes. You can use BTI dunks here since these are organic measures, and are proven safe on humans and wildlife.
A green and often overlooked tip is to apply cinnamon oil solution (15% cinnamon oil with 85% water). Cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, eugenol, and anethole are the four major components of cinnamon oil that kill mosquito larvae particularly those of the Aedes egypti species. The advantage of this option is that you get to enjoy the sweet and delicious smell of the solution while effectively eliminating the larvae infestation in your nearby pond or lake.
Getting Rid of Larvae in a Water Fountain
Water fountains in our parks are considered an attraction for tourists and a relaxing spot for locals as well.
However, these waterworks don’t just attract people looking to snap a quick shot for their social media feed—they also lure in female mosquitoes looking to lay eggs! In an attempt to control larvae infestation, you can apply remedies used in pools, ponds, and lakes. These include using mosquito dunks, cinnamon oil, bleach solution, and methoprene granules.
Ways to kill mosquito larvae naturally
Mosquitoes are easiest to eliminate in their larval stage due to their weakened bodies. Apart from the methods mentioned above, there are also other highly effective remedies to get rid of mosquito larvae naturally and chemical-free.
Okay, we’ve all heard the joke that cloves garlic ward off vampires…but there’s actually a tiny hint of truth to this tall tale!
Did you know that garlic can help you in your battle against blood-thirsty mosquitoes?!
You can do this by crushing around three to five garlic bulbs with your blender. Secure the crushed garlic on a cloth and squeeze over a bowl or any container to extract its juice.
Mix the juice with one gallon of water and apply the solution on standing water infested with mosquito larvae. The solution kills the larvae by suffocating them.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another non-toxic remedy against mosquito larvae that you can easily find at home. Apple cider vinegar acts in the same way cinnamon oil does: by eliminating the growth of the larvae naturally, leading to death.
You can create a DIY solution by mixing one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with one gallon of water. This liquid can be placed in a spray bottle and doused around the yard, or mixed into the standing water itself.
Baking soda alone is not an effective solution against mosquito larvae. It won’t kill off these bugs in their larval stage, and shouldn’t be used in this manner.
So why have we listed it here?
Well, it’s an invaluable tool to disinfect dishes that have been previously infested with mosquito larvae. By using baking soda, you’re taking an extra step to sanitize your dishes that regular old dish detergent just can’t provide. Simply mix baking soda with water and vinegar to disinfect, and rinse.
Remember how we recommended a bleach solution for the pool? Bleach tablets work in the same way liquid bleach does in helping us clean our white clothes as well as various household utilities.
These are also a convenient method to kill mosquito larvae because they can help you save major time and effort. Simply place an appropriate number of bleach tablets into the infested water. As the tablets dissolve, the bleach will spread and work to kill off the larvae nesting under the surface.
Final Thoughts About Removing Mosquito Larvae
Mosquitoes have long been our environmental arch-nemeses. Apart from ruining the barbecues in our backyard or camping trips, mosquitoes are effective carriers of serious diseases causing an alarming number of annual deaths, one bite after the other.
Although the most effective way of dealing with such problem is by getting rid of their nesting grounds, certain challenges take place depending on the surrounding circumstances.
Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in any volume of standing water such as a nearby lake or pond to a rainwater trapped in a clogged gutter.
Because of this versatility, it’s important to consider the different options mentioned above in order to find a safe and efficient remedy against mosquito larvae.