Managing a lake and keeping it clean, healthy, and fun for visitors is a tall order. A lot can go wrong with a lake if you aren’t diligent in your maintenance routine. One of the most annoying (and potentially unhealthy) issues, though, is an overgrown mosquito population. More than just being a nuisance, mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as Zika, West Nile Virus, and Malaria. Keeping up on the latest mosquito control methods can help keep not just your lake healthy, but also its visitors. To show how this is possible, consider six mosquito facts that help with lake management.
Did You Know…
- Mosquitoes will not usually lay eggs on moving water
- Mosquito larvae are most often found on the shores of a lake
- Some beneficial bacteria (including Bacillus sphaericus and Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis) act as a larvicide
- A single adult dragonfly can eat up to 100 mosquitoes a day
- Carbon dioxide is one of the biggest attractants for mosquitoes
Mosquito Egg and Larvae Control Tactics
To start with, let’s consider the fact that mosquitoes need still water to lay eggs. If you do not already have pond water features, aerator, or pump to circulate lake water, this is just another reason to do so. Keeping lake water moving helps oxygenate the water for fish and plants, and it also helps reduce the number of mosquitoes that are able to be hatched! Water features that can be added to a lake include waterfalls and fountains. Aerators are available either as submerged devices or floating on the water for surface aeration. Many options are available for a lake owner to keep water moving while also maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the lake.
Next, since we have learned A) bacteria are a larvicide and B) mosquito larvae stick to the lake shore, we can use this knowledge to create a great plan for getting rid of unwanted mosquito larvae. Use probiotic lake water treatments, like Liquid Bacteria Bio-Maintenance from pond boss® PRO, to introduce beneficial bacteria to the water. By introducing the treatment to the shallowest parts of the water, right around the shoreline, the larvicide will have maximum effect on mosquito larvae.
Adult Mosquito Control Tactics
There is another way of controlling a mosquito population, besides just addressing the larvae in the water. That is, you could also choose to deal with adult mosquitoes before they can lay eggs. The final two facts mentioned above will help with this tactic. First, since dragonflies are such voracious mosquito eaters, how can you attract them to your lake?
Good plants for attracting dragonflies include:
- Water lily
Dragonflies like tall plants that stick out of the water, so that their young have somewhere safe to perch while transitioning between nymph and adult stages. They are fiercely territorial, and so also like to have plenty of shoreline plants around. This gives the adults somewhere to rest while they survey their land, keep an eye out for competitors, and hunt for prey. Finally, they enjoy having large flat rocks for basking in the sun. Making your shoreline and the surrounding area appealing for dragonflies will help keep mosquitoes from taking over.
Finally, the last fact mentioned above is that mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide. In fact, they can sense this gas from up to 35 meters (just under 115 feet) away! That’s bad news for campers and swimmers, who exhale carbon dioxide continually. But, you can use this knowledge to your advantage by placing traps with carbon dioxide attractant at certain points around the lake. Place them a little under 35 meters from the highest traffic areas around the lake for maximum efficacy.
Carbon dioxide is also absorbed by plants during photosynthesis. So, keeping a full and healthy stock of plants both in and around the lake will help cut down on carbon dioxide that might attract new mosquitoes.
Lake Water Treatments Serve Many Purposes
While there are many options for mosquito control, lake water treatments are a practical way to keep mosquito populations down. Why? Because, rather than focusing solely on one pest problem, many lake water treatments are available that perform a range of functions within a lake’s ecosystem.
For example, our Liquid Water Clarifier not only serves the function of adding nutrient-reducing beneficial bacteria to the water, it also keeps the water crystal clear by binding free-floating particles into larger pieces which can then drop out of suspension.
Recreational use and other effects of the human intervention can throw off the balance of an otherwise healthy lake ecosystem. Make sure to keep yourself well informed, not just about mosquito control, but about all aspects of maintaining a lake. If you do, you and your visitors will be able to enjoy the lake for many years to come.