How to Kill Mosquito Larvae: 6 Natural Methods to Try
When you think of treating your yard for mosquitoes, you probably only picture the fully-grown, adult pests. While there are effective treatments to repel adult mosquitoes, it’s important to stop them at their source — we’re talking about getting rid of mosquito larvae. This ensures you can stop the flying, biting, and itching before it starts.
Here’s how to kill mosquito larvae using only natural, effective methods.
What is Mosquito Larvae?
A mosquito’s life cycle can be broken down into four stages:
Within a week of being laid, in water, mosquito eggs will hatch and enter the larvae phase. Over 14 days, or longer, the larvae will grow and eventually molt into a pupa. During this time, the larvae will live off a combination of algae, fungi, and plankton frequently found in standing water.
Mosquito larvae can be described as small, wooly worms. Their bodies consist of an abdomen with 10 segments, a breathing tube at the tip of their body, and a hard, rounded head.
It’s important to kill mosquito larvae before they have the chance to grow into a pupa so you can get ahead of your yard’s mosquito population.
How to Get Rid of Mosquito Larvae
In general, there are two methods for getting rid of mosquitoes. The first is preventing adult mosquitoes from invading your yard. Without the presence of adult mosquitoes, there’s no cause to treat mosquito larvae.
The second is directly killing the mosquito larvae and preventing mosquitoes from breeding. However, while there are numerous proven ways to kill mosquito larvae, methods like bleach or chemical mosquito repellent aren’t necessarily safe for you or the environment.
Here are six ways to prevent or kill mosquito larvae without the use of toxic chemicals!
- Get Rid of Any Standing Water
Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Therefore, the easiest way to kill mosquito larvae is to eliminate standing water from your yard. Though it can be hard to know where to look, looking out for any kind of water build-up is an important first step in preventing mosquitoes from breeding. Standing water can accumulate in a variety of places, including:
- Flower pots
- Grill covers
- Trash can lids
- Pet bowls
Mosquitoes only need an inch of water to lay their eggs and mosquito larvae can’t survive without it. Removing any water, from your yard, is one way to directly avert mosquitoes elsewhere.
If your yard has any permanent standing water, like a birdbath, consider finding a way to keep the water moving. Because mosquito larvae can only live in water that’s completely still, installing a submersible pump or adding a waterfall to a man-made pond, in your yard, is an option. Even the smallest amount of movement will work, making this a simple, fool-proof solution.
Reducing the amount of vegetation is another way to prevent mosquito larvae, in your yard. While mosquitoes need to reproduce in water, they have been known to hide in vegetation or excessive yard debris (which could also collect standing water), including:
- Thick bushes or shrubbery
- Long grass
- Raked leaves
- Piles of sticks
- Bags of grass
- Clogged gutters
This method won’t kill mosquito larvae, but it should preventatively ward off any adult mosquitoes looking for cover. Mosquitoes can also live in buildings, like outdoor barns or sheds, where they can stay out of the daylight. Spraying your outdoor structures and vegetation, with a natural mosquito repellent, will significantly reduce your yard’s mosquito population.
If you’re unable to eliminate standing water from your yard, try using a larvicide. Larvicides work by killing mosquito larvae before they become adults. Commonly used as a contact poison, growth regulator, or biological control agent, most larvicides are specifically designed for water.
However, not all larvicides are created equal, so be careful to choose one with all-natural ingredients.
Not All Larvicides Are Safe For Use
While effective, some larvicides may be considered unsafe for use. Larvicides can be known to contain toxic ingredients, such as permethrin, naled, and pyrethrin, which have long-lasting effects on humans and pets. Symptoms, of each, commonly include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
- Blurred vision
All-Natural Larvicide Solution
Mosquito Magician is a “minimum-risk” repellent that can be sprayed directly into standing water, killing mosquito larvae. Mosquito Magician’s safe, effective mosquito repellent is made with all-natural ingredients, so it can be sprayed throughout your yard and you won’t have to worry if it could harm your pets, children, or beneficial wildlife.
Again, if controlling standing water is not an option, resort to household items such as dish soap, apple cider vinegar, or olive oil. While likely not as effective as a larvicide, these products are safer to use and are something you probably already have at home!
Some soaps are extremely toxic to insects, including mosquitoes. The bubbles, in dish soap, suffocate the mosquito larvae, effectively killing them in about a day. For most control solutions, only a small amount is needed. However, insecticide-infused soaps can be purchased at hardware stores for larger, more severe amounts of mosquito larvae.
Dish soap shouldn’t be used in ponds or birdbaths, as it’s often harmful to fish and birds.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a less damaging alternative to dish soap. While not always as successful as something like essential oils, apple cider vinegar can kill mosquito larvae when used in high concentrations. You’ll need about a 15% vinegar to water ratio, to kill mosquito larvae in close to 24 hours.
Olive oil, or vegetable oil, will coat the surface of standing water, making it impossible for mosquito larvae to get through or breathe. This only requires 1 tablespoon of oil per gallon of water. Similar to dish soap, however, this method should not be used around fish or birds.
Essential oils are a proven way to repel mosquitoes, but they also work to kill mosquito larvae. According to the National Institute of Health, essential oils can be formulated for the development of effective, eco-friendly mosquito repellents. Essential oils can also be safely sprayed or dropped, into standing water in your yard.
Essential oils frequently used to kill mosquito larvae include:
- Cinnamon oil
- Peppermint oil
- Citronella oil
- Garlic oil
- Lemon Eucalyptus oil
- Geraniol oil
Getting Rid of Mosquitoes is a Process
While we’d all like this to be a one-time process, it’s not. Larvae will come back if not managed throughout mosquito season. However, following the solutions, listed above, and knowing the best time to spray for mosquitoes, is the most productive way to get rid of and kill mosquito larvae in your yard.
Try Our All-Natural Mosquito Larvae Killer
Formulated to be an effective, all-natural mosquito control product, the Mosquito Magician concentrate gets rid of mosquitoes in three ways including:
- Suffocating mosquito larvae in standing water
- Killing adult mosquitoes on direct contact
- Repelling mosquitoes for two or more weeks
Mosquito’s Magician’s concentrate is made of six different essential oils including geraniol, cedar, lemongrass, rosemary, and garlic. Which when combined, makes a potent mosquito larvae killer. Our concentrate can be applied using anything from a hose, battery sprayer, or an automated spraying system that works with your sprinkler.
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