Friday, August 24, 2012

What are Mosquito Dunks?

As we know, mosquito larvae live in stagnant puddles of water.  It’s not the larvae that bite us, but the adults that emerge from areas in our yards like water gardens, flower pots, bird baths, rain gutters, rain barrels, old tires, tree holes, pet dishes, decorative ponds or anything else that will hold water for a few days.

Mosquito dunks have been used for over a decade in the US to kill mosquito larvae before they can turn into biting adults.   The dunks are made with Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis which is a naturally occurring soil bacteria used as a microbial insecticide to control the spread of vector-borne diseases.  According to the EPA this type of mosquito control does not harm people, pets, wildlife, or fish. 

The dunks are easy to use, and can be found on line or at local stores.   They can be used in water gardens, flower pots, bird baths, rain gutters, old tires, water troughs rain barrels, decorative ponds, or any area that has standing water.  They may be safely used in animal drinking water troughs and bowls that don't have the water changed frequently.  If the water is changed every few days there is no need for the dunks.   Caution: Avoid contamination of feed and foodstuffs.  Do not use dunks in finished, treated human drinking water sources.
Of course the best way to get rid of mosquitoes is to eliminate the aquatic habitats known to produce them.   Many times even natural places like tree stumps, or holes in trees can produce mosquitoes.  The least preferred method of control, is killing the adult mosquito as this requires the use of broad-spectrum insecticides, which can be harmful to fish, birds and other animals.

Mosquitoes do have natural enemies such as bats, birds, and dragonflies, but they may not be effective control if they don’t have a suitable habitat nearby.   Gambusia, or the mosquito fish, are also known to eat mosquito larvae and could be put in ponds.  But these fish typically cannot survive in small puddles or standing water where the larvae survive.  

No comments:

Post a Comment