Here’s How to Naturally Kill Mosquitoes in Standing Water

  Sprinkler Magician
  March 4, 2021

Mosquitoes are nothing but a nuisance. That said, it’s still important to take care of your mosquito problems naturally, without the use of toxic chemicals.

Getting rid of adult mosquitoes is one thing, but it’s almost more important to stop mosquitoes from breeding in the first place. Getting rid of mosquitoes means killing them at their breeding source — standing water.

Here’s how to kill mosquitoes in standing water.

Why Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Standing Water?

Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water because female mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs. Without water, the mosquito eggs won’t hatch into larvae.

Once the eggs become mosquito larvae, they feed off of organisms that live in the water. Neither the egg nor larvae could survive without water.

Mosquitoes only need one inch of water to lay their eggs — yes, just one inch! Think about all the places in your yard that could accumulate one inch of water! Whether it’s a pile of leaves that collects rainwater or a bucket left in the corner of your yard, anything can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

According to the CDC, female mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in water collected in manmade containers. This is because their eggs can stick to said container and survive up to eight months, even if they’re dried out. If the eggs become covered by water again within those eight months, they’ll hatch into mosquitoes within a week.

5 Natural Ways to Kill Mosquitoes in Standing Water

When it comes to pest control, we always want to avoid using chemicals that could be toxic to us, our pets, or beneficial wildlife. Here are the best natural ways to kill mosquitoes in standing water.

  1. Dilute Water with Apple Cider Vinegar 
  2. While it’s widely known for the health benefits it provides for humans, Apple Cider Vinegar is a great way to kill mosquitoes in standing water.

    All you need to do is add Apple Cider Vinegar so the concentration is 15% vinegar, 85% water. We know this can be difficult to tell when you just have a small puddle or collection of water but, if you’re unsure, just add a bit more. We want to make sure it’s effective!

    Once you’ve upped the water concentration to 15% Apple Cider Vinegar, the mosquito larvae should die within 18 hours.

  3. Coat the Water with Oil 
  4. Any kind of oil here, such as olive oil or vegetable oil, will do. All you need is about a tablespoon per gallon of water. I know this sounds like a tiny amount, but all it takes to kill mosquitoes in standing water is a very thin layer of oil.

    The oil coats the surface of the water, essentially suffocating any mosquito larvae that may be living under the surface.

  5. Add a Few Drops of Dish Soap (or Any Soap, Really!) 
  6. Adding any kind of soap to water effectively kills both adult mosquitoes and mosquito larvae in standing water.

    We already know mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, but they’re able to stand on water because of the surface tension of the liquid. When you add soap to the water, it changes the surface tension to a point where the mosquito isn’t able to stand on it and immediately drowns.

    In addition to killing adult mosquitoes, adding dish soap to water also suffocates any mosquito eggs or larvae. A study from Notre Dame proved this theory, stating that even just a drop or two of dish soap is enough to kill any mosquito larvae.

  7. Use Mosquito Dunks 
  8. Mosquito drunks are a natural product that contains Bti, which is safe for people, pets, and other animals and insects. All you need to do is add a mosquito dunk to standing water and, once it’s eaten by mosquito larvae, it produces a toxin that quickly kills them.

    You can purchase mosquito dunks online or visit your local home improvement store.

  9. Drop in Some Cinnamon Essential Oil 
  10. While essential oils are known to repel mosquitoes, a 2004 study found that cinnamon essential oil effectively kills mosquito larvae. It should kill mosquito larvae in standing water in about 24 hours (plus, it’s the best smelling option on this list!

Prevent Mosquito Larvae by Getting Rid of Standing Water

While the steps above will help you kill mosquitoes and larvae in standing water, it’s important to not even give mosquitoes any water to lay their eggs in at all.

The most important thing you can do to get rid of mosquitoes in your yard is to get rid of standing water. If you eliminate a mosquito’s breeding ground, you’ll be able to effectively control its population!

Get rid of any sources of standing water, including:

  • Puddles
  • Pet bowls
  • Buckets
  • Pool covers
  • Toys
  • Birth baths
  • Piles of leaves or debris


Natural, Safe Mosquito Repellent

Getting rid of mosquitoes in stagnant water is an important part of mosquito control, however, it’s also necessary to control adult mosquito populations.

Our non-toxic mosquito repellent is safe for you, your pets, and beneficial insects and wildlife. Check out our natural mosquito killer kit or yard sprayers for a permanent, safe, and highly-effective form of natural mosquito repellent.

FAQ: Killing Mosquitoes in Standing Water

Does Wet Grass Attract Mosquitoes?

While wet grass itself doesn’t necessarily attract mosquitoes, wet mulch, soil, or any type of straw that holds enough moisture below the surface to pool up and attract mosquitoes. If that wet grass could accumulate and maintain one inch of water, or if there was a puddle somewhere with standing water, then it could attract mosquitoes.

Does Soapy Water Kill Mosquitoes?

Yes! Soapy water kills both adult mosquitoes and mosquito larvae. It kills adult mosquitoes by affecting water’s surface tension to a point where mosquitoes can’t stand up on it and, instead, fall through and drown. It kills mosquito larvae by coating the surface to a point where they can no longer breathe fresh air.

Will Mosquito Larvae Die Out of Water?

Yes, mosquito larvae (and pupae) die out of water. If the mosquito larvae were in a very shallow water source that dried up before they became adult mosquitoes, they’d likely die.

Does What Happens if My Dog Eats Mosquito Larvae?

Heartworm disease happens when an infected mosquito bites a dog, but the disease doesn’t necessarily carry over into mosquito larvae. If your dog eats mosquito larvae, it’s likely that nothing will happen. However, if your dog is outside a lot around water that noticeably contains mosquito larvae, it’s likely there are also adult mosquitoes around that could have bitten your dog. If your dog isn’t on heartworm medication, it’s recommended to take your dog to the vet for an exam to make sure they don’t have heartworms.

Does Bleach Kill Mosquitoes in Standing Water?

Yes, bleach does kill mosquito larvae in standing water, but we don’t recommend it as it can be toxic to other insects and animals that might drink from that water. A safer alternative is to use household products to kill mosquitoes. You can put things like soap or coffee grounds into the water to get a similar effect.

Does White Vinegar Kill Mosquito Larvae?

Yes, white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) kills mosquito larvae. All you have to do is add vinegar to water so it’s at 15% vinegar and 85% water concentration.