Monday, August 20, 2012

Safe guarding my rain barrels from Mosquitoes

This post will be part of a three series event where I will highlight other harmful issues caused by rain barrels if certain precautions are not taken in the construction of the barrels.

A question was asked about my idea of building rain barrels. In a nutshell my reader asked what is the point of a rain barrel if it will cause mosquito infestations in my yard? GREAT QUESTION!

As I have indicated I am a family man, so I have many small children running around, plus my animals. One of the biggest concerns with this number of small things running around the yard is a possible infestation of mosquitoes in my yard. Not only are they a nuisance to adults they can also be deadly, even more to my children and animals! This has been a concern that I looked into since taking on the idea of building the rain barrels. I mean why fix one thing if it causes something worse? 

Before we get into how I plan to safeguard let me share a little story with you that I like to call "You my larva's daddy"

As you can see in the Life Cycle those devil little blood suckers actually have a neat little life.  I do not know about the logistics of the bugs breeding practices, but let's assume this is how it goes >> Mr. Mosquito and Ms. Sucker go out cruising the sky one night. During this little escapade Mr. Mosquito decides to make the moves on Ms. Sucker and sparks fly (on your arm of course!)

Or maybe it was like this

Who knows? All I know is the bite itches!

Following this night of romantic passages Mr. Mosquito receives a phone call from Ms. Sucker (use your imagination people!) telling him that she's pregnant and he is the daddy! Mr. Mosquito tells her there is no way and that he demands a blood test to prove it is his! As time passes it soon comes the time to give birth. Ms. Sucker has given up on getting help from Mr. Mosquito due to his lack of communication. Plus it didn't help when Ms. Sucker and the Misquitette gang did a drive by buzzing at his house and scared his mother to death, literally!

So the big day has finally come to release the new mosquitoes into the world so Ms. Sucker and her gang of friends went searching for some water. When they found this water Ms. Sucker squatted down and pushed those babies out. Once she does this she is so distraught about bringing daddyless mosquitoes into the world, so her and her gang fly to the front porch of the neighbors house.

Once there they huff some OFF! and get wild and decide to see how bad it can be when you fly into the forbidden blue buzzing light. It was at this time they met their electric demise and made the front page of the Mosquito Times the following day under the headlines "Innocent group commits suicide while under the influence of street drug OFF!"

So now we have these little baby mosquito larva in this pool of water where they live for some time underwater. While living under water they use their little demon sucker mouth pieces to poke through the top of the water to get some air. This continues until the little devils are big enough to break free from their watery larva at which time they fly to find the next innocent victim to torment and then the cycle continues over and over again! 


So, through my research I have found that there are a few different things that one can do to prevent a mosquito infestation. The first thing to do, which is the thing I plan to do, is to not give the mosquito access to the water to lay the lava. I plan on doing this by securing all pipes into the barrels securely and using nylons as well as silicone caulk to prevent a access point. I also plan to have overflow points at the top of my barrels with pipes that will lead away from the barrel to a ditch or field. I also plan on making sure my gutters remain clean by checking them at least every other week and placing a screen over the gutter down pipe inside the gutter. This will all be documented with pictures when I construct my rain barrel systems!

Other possible remedies are to use a mixture of vegetable oil and water and create an oil slick. This will prevent the bugs from being able to stick their little suckers up through the water to get access to air. 

One other thing to do is when you see that you have a mosquito infestation drain your barrels and start over. This can be a game changer if you are counting on that water and there is no rain in the forecast so it is best to simply take precautions so you do not have to deal with this problem!

The most important thing to remember is to make sure you have everything properly sealed and to make sure your overflow does not simply pool up right at your barrels! Or if you choose to use an open top system make sure that you have a screen down over the top and have your overflow below the top to prevent the water from rising above the screen. 


  1. I know this isn't very "green" but a shot glass of oil, not vegetable oil, but motor oil really does the trick. Motor forms a thicker layer, and as it moves around it coats and eggs that were slipped in. You have to use a cup or more of vegetable oil to get the same results. Or if you want to be really green, place some dragonfly nymphs in the barrel and they will do the job for you! Keep up the good work and stay on track, 1 year will pass before you know it!

  2. Thanks for reading KSD! I have also heard that minnows and goldfish are great additives to your rain barrels. I am hoping that encouragment from my readers will keep pushing the family closer to being able to depend on ourselves in the event of a disastrous event!