These mosquito eaters cut down on your biting nemesis
Pest control has a lot in common with warfare and politics, at least in one sense: the enemy of your enemy is often your friend. And in the case of controlling the mosquito population, there are several friendly species that hit up mosquitos for food.
But just how effective are these animals at thinning out the tide of biting pests? Here’s a look at some of the top predators:
The purple martin is a pretty bird (that’s actually more of a blue) that you may have spotted in your yard. And while it’s true that they eat mosquitos, they’re not a huge part of their diet. During the day, purple martins feast on many types of flying insects, including bees, moths, and even butterflies. But around dusk – when mosquitos are most active – typically the birds are having their dinners up in trees, far above any mosquito activity.
While you may not be thrilled to see bats flying around, you should know that they’re mostly harmless to people. And as for bug control, they can be quite useful. Bats do eat mosquitos, though pretty much only if they are available; they don’t go out looking for them specifically. But you shouldn’t count on them to decimate the mosquito population in your area. Studies show that they mostly eat other types of bugs, like beetles and wasps.
Something called a mosquitofish should be a great mosquito predator, right? Well, yes and no. Because mosquitos lay their eggs on water, this gives the mosquitofish an excellent opportunity to eat their larvae. And they do quite a bit of that; studies have revealed that they may eat more than double their body weight in insects. However, if you don’t have a pond or other water on your property, these little mosquito eaters won’t be able to help you.
Dragonflies have a reputation for going after mosquitos, and it is well-deserved. They generally like to feed during daylight hours, and they routinely find mosquitos hiding out in bushes and other places. Like the mosquitofish, dragonflies eat a lot of insect larvae, which can really damage a mosquito population. The only issue with dragonflies is that you would need quite a lot to really put a damper on mosquito activity.
Frogs and toads
Frogs and toads are other animals that many people think to do a lot of mosquito-eating. Perhaps it has to do with that cartoonish image of them sticking their long tongues out to grab a bug, but the truth is that they while they do ingest mosquitos, they don’t eat enough to really affect a population. Some tadpoles do eat mosquito larvae, but they mostly feed on plants and algae.
If you’ve ever seen what you thought was a dragonfly only it was on the small side, it may have been a damselfly. Like their close relatives, damselflies are natural mosquito predators, and they do eat their fair share of the buggers. But, there’s really only so much they can do to control swarming populations.
The best mosquito control combines nature and machines
All of the above animals eat mosquitos – even if it’s not in huge quantities – so you may want to do things to attract them to your yard. Just don’t count on them to completely rid your property of those annoying pests. To do that, you need a mosquito misting system. At Platinum Mosquito Protection, we have developed an effective system that automatically releases a liquid insecticide solution throughout the day to keep mosquitos away. For a free onsite consultation from a mosquito expert, just get in touch.