Introduction: Mosquito Killing Pond - FAST & CHEAP!

Picture of Mosquito Killing Pond - FAST & CHEAP!

I brainstormed up this project when I got attacked to death by mosquitos on my front lawn, this summer.

It turns out the neighbors had left a garbage can full of water when they moved out. My husband dumped the water, but the damage was done and the buggers were buzzing all over us in the evenings.

Well, I decided to throw something a little earth-friendly together. Citronella wasn't acceptable, because I have dogs and that stuff is pure torture to their noses. Pesticides should be illegal, so I wasn't about to do that. This project is what I came up with.

Hope it works as well for you as it did for me!

This project should take you all of a half hour to assemble, and a couple minutes a week to maintain. The cost is ridiculously cheap. Time spent on getting supplies will vary. Ok, let's get started!

Step 1: Get It Together...

Picture of Get It Together...

Here are the items you will need:

1) Cat litter box OR another wide, shallow, waterproof vessel to contain your mosquito-eaters. Tall is no good. Without surface tension, the fish will die from oxygen deprivation. Just like with a fish tank... tall = less oxygen / wide = more oxygen. Heck, you could even use an old fish tank, if you have one lying around.

2) Water conditioner, to make the water safe for the fish. Read the instructions on the bottle. I eyeballed the measurements, once I had read the amount per gallon. It's not rocket science, so don't panic! Most pet suppliers will carry this sort of stuff as well. Inexpensive and a little goes a long way.

3) Guppies! You can get them at most aquatic-dealer pet shops, as they are used to feed to larger fish. They're also common as heck in ponds just about everywhere. They're those tiny tiny fish that crowd together and somehow manage to survive in the most stagnant looking waters. They cost about a dollar for a dozen. The amount you purchase will depend on the size of your container. Warning- They breed like mad. I wouldn't recommend starting with more than one dozen for most containers!

4)Plants. More on that later.

Step 2: Make It!

Picture of Make It!

So, you have all your suplies. The res is pretty straightforward:

1) Make sure your container is clean and free of soap/cleaner/cat crap residues.

2) Place the container in the desired outdoor location. Make sure it's not in full sunlight all day, or you'll end up with stinky guppy soup. It should get a little sun, though, depending on which pond plants* you choose.

3) Fill it up with dechlorinated tap water, spring water, or filtered water.

4) Float the plastic bag full of guppies in the "pond" for ten minutes, to allow them to acclimate to the water temperature. Release them into the water, gently.

5) Drop your plants in. Voila! Earth-friendly mosquito killer fully assembled! Congrats!


- Check weekly for dead guppies. You should see lots of tiny baby guppies, too. Try to choose pond plants that the guppy babies can hide from their parents in!

- Make sure your container doesn't overflow if it rains! Likewise, add more water if the water evaporates too low. You may want to syphon out a wee bit of the water from the bottom, if the fish seem to be struggling/dying/not breeding at all. Make sure to replace the water with safe, chlorine-free h2o.

- Feed the guppies a VERY LITTLE bit of fish food every few days, if you're keeping them out there and the mosquitos aren't around anymore (reward them for doing their job!)

- Pinch off any dead plant chunks. It tends to keep them nicer.

- Ask a local pond-dealer pet shop, or nursery, which plants will stay small, do well without circulation, etc. I'm not a botanist, so I have no clue which plants available in your area are recommendable.

*Note on plants: They are there to consume nitrogen from the fish waste, and to give the fish a place to hide. Don't overplant, or the fish will not receive any oxygen (surface tension, remember!) and they'll all go belly-up!

Step 3: Disposal - Don't Be Lazy About This Part!

I posted this project to be environmentally-friendly, not to wreak havoc on your native wildlife.

When you're finished with your mosquito-killer pond, you need to dispose of the plants properly. DO NOT toss the plants into any public waters or sewers. Many ornamental pond plants are dangerously invasive and can kill off native plants in a short time.

Return the plants to the store you bought them from. Give them to someone with an outdoor pond. Heck, mulch and compost the things. Just don't dispose of them improperly.

As for the fish, there's a few things you can do with them. You could set up a nice aquarium for them in your basement n_n Then you can use the same trusted fish (or their descendants, whatever) the next year. Otherwise, I recommend that you return them to the pet shop, as well. Don't toss them in any rivers. You don't know if they have any pathogens that wouldn't normally be found in a wild fish population and that's not safe for the environment. Better safe than sorry!

Well, I hope someone finds this useful. Bye for now!


FortuneF1 (author)2016-05-27

We have all manner of critters and birds in my yard in san diego ca, like with previous earth worm composting bin, i fear the fish might be preyed upon in such a container,. Wondering if the fish would survive and mosquitoes enter to lay eggs, if i used a rubbermaid container with a top and punched holes in it, too small for critter paws or birds? Would a container larger than catlitter tray though still shallow work ok with small holes in container top? thanks.

DIY-Guy (author)2010-11-01

Mosquito larva cannot breach the surface tension caused by vegetable oil on the surface of the water. They die without oxygen, they cannot leave the water as they mature. They get stuck at the surface film!

Cheap, "eco-friendly" and simple.

This works for watering troughs that do not constantly overflow, puddles, unwanted ponds, ornamental ponds, garbage cans, etc.

PoppyP2 (author)DIY-Guy2015-11-08

I think yours is the best comment on this board: when you throw a little oil out on top of your pond it disperses itself over the surface and does the job I have used a little used motor oil but will use veggie oil henceforth. I use about a cup full on a pond of about a quarter acre

DIY-Guy (author)PoppyP22015-11-08

Why thank you PoppyP2!
A biology professor once told me a single hoof print from a cow hold enough water for 200 mosquitoes to grow.

Takelababy (author)2012-10-28

My method is quite effective. I bo't a $10 semi rigid kids wading pool and put about 3-5" of water in it. The ladies lay their eggs in it, and as the wigglers develop I dump it on the lawn. This has to be done every three days before the wigglers can get airborne. I also add about a 1/4 tsp of dish detergent so there is no surface tension. Something else that is fairly effective is using a dome lidded barbecue with the small vent hole in the top. In late evening, get a bricket going in there. It gives off a little heat but it's greatest power is the carbon dioxide it gives off. Blood insects are attracted to CO2. A friend found her barbecue full to the top vent holes in the top, all dead. - thousands of them.

Muddiesmile (author)Takelababy2015-06-29

Sorry to be dense, but I want to understand: Are you saying to burn a single charcoal bricket in a covered bbq grill with the vent hole open, and leave it until morning? Mosquitos enter the vent hole and die?

smooney2 (author)2014-05-18

First of all cjbikenut .. Be careful telling people to transport aquatic vegetation in some areas it is illegal 2nd Anophlese Mosquito larva hide in the aquatic weeds where the minnows can't find them .. If your neighbors have containers laying around knock them over , if your not a fan mosquito control products which most are a BTI or contain Spinosad . Both occur naturally in nature . Also anything that will break the surface tension of the water such as Dawn dish soap or a oil based product.

diy_bloke (author)smooney22015-03-30

soap and oil are also very detrimental to frogs and various surface living insects such as Gyrinus natator, so better not use it

smooney2 (author)diy_bloke2015-03-30

Your right Bloke. It can . In the late 4 th Instar larva stop eating, and the pupa don't even have mouths. The question is are the mosquitoes that bad in your area. Is there a out break of any kind in your area at the time. I would gladly lose some water bugs and some frogs out of a gold fish pond to protect my family. I'm not saying by any means put it in a stream or river .. Have you seen the Winged Scurge . its a informational video put out by Disney around WW2 .. The EPA would freak out if they did that stuff now

diy_bloke (author)smooney22015-03-30

not really bothered by musquitos. I have a pond and that has a bubbler. The few larvae that I see are usually eaten away by my fish.
Yes I can imagine EPA would freak out about that :-)
As a matter of fact, i live in western europe and maybe some 50-60 years ago we still had native malaria in this one water rich part of the country... but pollution and DDT put a stop to that.
Now we have cleaned up our act.... and are afraid malaria might come back

smooney2 (author)diy_bloke2015-03-31

Bloke , Historically Malaria in the states is transmitted by the Anopheles Quadrimaculatus. The larva of the Anopheles are different from the other genus of mosquitoes. They lay parallel to the surface amongst the floating water vegetation and almost look like a floating stick. They don't move to much unless disturbed so they mostly go unnoticed by the minnows. here's a picture of the comparison if the Anopheles (top),and other larva (bottom)

diy_bloke (author)smooney22015-03-31

true and my fish love them and all their musquito buddies :-)
Anyway, Malaria at one time was endemic here (Holland) last seen in 1955 and in 1970 we were officially malaria free, but in 2013 there were two cases of malaria falciparum without travel to malaria countries. Patients were Africans though, which does suggests some tie. Most likely they were infected by a musquito that 'travelled along' in a plane, or might have been in the luggage of friends/acquantances
The forms of Malaria once endemic here were malaria tertiana and quartana, not the P. falciparum caused 'tropical malaria'
There are two musquito species here that are considered as capable of transmitting Plasmodium, but not the P. falciparum, but since 1955 all of them are clean.
Still they are nasty little buggers

smooney2 (author)diy_bloke2015-03-31

bloke. I'm from Florida and Chikungunya is the flavor of the month here.. we haven't had many locally acquired cases here YET. its mostly travel associated from the Carribean. there's been over a million suspected cases there and thru out the southern America's. the Aedes aegypti is the mosquito associated with this. I've heard ,they believe the Aedes albopictus is also capable of transmission. They are container breeders ,so all theses islands that have sisterns and such for collecting rain water are great places for them to breed. if this sort of stuff interests you check out the WHO/PAHO websites

diy_bloke (author)smooney22015-03-31

yes, Dutch antilles (Aruba, Bonaire Curacao) really have a lot of Chikungunya cases right now.
Yeah it kinda has my interest, I am a physician, work a lot in SE&P asia and have done musquito eradication programs

cjbikenut (author)2013-03-21

You could collect a bit of duckweed or other native species from your local pond or lake to make sure it will tolerate your climate. You could also try to get a live small bait species from the local sporting goods store to reduce the chances of introducing a non-native species.

georion (author)cjbikenut2013-09-18

check out -gambusia-(mosquito fish)

diy_bloke (author)georion2015-03-30

Sorry, upon re-reading I sound like a smart ass. That was not my intention, Just wanted to inform that one might find a solution close to home

diy_bloke (author)georion2015-03-30

Though all gambusia eat musquitos, it is especially Gambusia affinis who eats them ferociously. Gambusia need warmer water though and Gambusia affinis is considered a pest and ecological threath.

Goldfish will do just as well

d2j5 (author)2009-05-27

another way if keeping bugs away is useing marigolds. bugs dont like the smell. i use them in my food garden and they are great for tomatos! eather way its another poison free way to try to keep bugs away.

gemtree (author)d2j52011-08-06

I bought lots of marigolds one year and the bugs ate them FIRST. Then when they decimated the marigolds, they ate everything else. *sigh* I learned that in Texas, grow spinach in the winter. NOTHING keeps the bugs off them in the spring/summer.

diy_bloke (author)gemtree2015-03-30

Marigolds always helped me... I start being scared of the bugs you have :-)

d2j5 (author)gemtree2011-08-08

im sorry it didnt work :/ it works up in mass. though

Tarantulady (author)d2j52009-07-28

Holy crap! I have to consider that for this year. I like flowers, and marigolds don't seem to get murdered easily by me. I never heard of this. Thanks!

d2j5 (author)Tarantulady2009-08-05

i know that the sent from the marigolds doesnt have a wide range so you might need quite a few planters around a deck or sitting area to help

Gardener75 (author)2014-05-04

I love this and it works! I have a pond and used feeder fish ( in MA), 8 for a dollar (but I got 12, they don't exactly count them closely). I figured if they don't make it, no great investment lost. Mosquitos gone, and nine still alive a few years later with most 7-8" and the largest at 10". The fish have become the stars of the show now. Thank you for sharing this!

komecake (author)2012-06-11

I'm actually really tempted to make a waterfall type pond on my back porch. We have mosquito's in our house and on the porch. They are everywhere right now. I live in Florida and they are around at least half of the year, if not more.

I wouldn't mind getting fancy guppies if we do a nice pond... then it would be worth keeping and taking care of. Either way, this is a great idea and I might be doing it VERY soon. I am so tired of getting bit by mosquito's!!! Ugh.

addisonh11 (author)komecake2012-08-07

I don't think mosquitos would even lay in your pond if it has a water fountain, so it won't be a problem for you :) Mosquitos prefer to lay their eggs in stagnant water.

MisrerRoberts (author)2011-09-05

I live on a rock ridge, so all my gardening is done in raised beds and pots. For some reason or other this seems to attract a large number of dragonflies.

I don't worry about mosquito nymphs 'cause as soon as the little buggers take to the air my own personal airborne strike force takes them down.

'Course at night I get the benefits of my bat houses.

Then sometimes I set out containers of water and let the mosquitoes waste their eggs, because when the nymphs get to the hatching stage I use the water to keep my compost bins moist (and add some protein).

Can't get much lazier than that.

gemtree (author)2011-08-06

Hm, I really LIKE this idea. I have a hot tub in the back that I don't use. It is FULL of mosquito larvae. I treat it occasionally with Bacillus Thuringis. (sp?) That usually works but I just don't want to go buy another bottle of it. It is expensive. I am sure cheap fish food costs less.

gemtree (author)gemtree2011-08-06

I forgot to add, I make small cement watering bowls for animals. I suppose I could make much larger ones for a guppy/mosquito pond. Dig out a hole and line it with wire mesh and fill the mesh in with a cement and acrylic mix for waterproofing the cement for a low pond. Let it cure a few weeks then let it sit with water for awhile before putting in the fish. In Texas, we have mosquitoes all year round.

Dr.Bill (author)2011-04-22

I have a friend that has a well with water just a foot from the top and his yard was filled with mosquitoes.
I went to a fish store and bought a dozen goldfish and a small can of food to ease the mind of my friends Dad.
I dumped the goldfish into the well and a month later there were no more mosquitoes. The well was 6 feet deep so the fish had lotsa room to move around.
The next spring the fish were bigger and just waiting for the bugs to drop by.
These feeder goldfish got to be 4 inches long and had babies.
I joked that they should sell tickets to go fishing.

ytashi (author)Dr.Bill2011-06-12

i love ur idea! now THATs a good way to biologically control ur pesky skeeter population!

Ole bally (author)2010-01-02

 dunno if you get a product called 'Dettol' in yr part of the world like we do in South Africa and Zimbabwe, but if you do, mix a 50/50 mix of dettol and water into a fine mist spray bottle and apply liberally to onseself for a mozzie free time!

StuNutt (author)Ole bally2010-09-05

Ah, Dettol! But your wife/girlfriend won't come near you either :D

matrix828 (author)2010-04-12

your guppys will get killed by the fully grown mosquitos. the larvae will probaly kill them aswell. good idea tho. try piranahs next time ^.^

skelly7447 (author)matrix8282010-07-08

sorry, WRONG!!!!!!!

Ninzerbean (author)2010-07-08

This is great. A long time ago when aquiriums were all the rage but electicity was not, the goal was a balance between plants and fish and the result was clear water and healthy fish. I did this same thing a few years ago with tadpoles (224 of them and don't ask me how I know) and was rewarded with a mosquito free back yard for about a year - this year's cold spell was the end of that though as I guess the frogs got wiped out. Thank you for a very creative idea. Feeder guppies in my town are 20 cents each.

Chewie42 (author)2010-06-18

you should rig up a solar powered air pump for the fishes..they would live longer cool project

Bigos (author)2010-04-07

Thanks for this project and thanks to all the others who posted other ways to kill the little buggers.

jack8559 (author)2010-01-08

I can't remember who told me about this, but if you take a white plate and fill it about half full of water and put a drop or two of dishwashing soap into it the mosquitos will come by and get a drink due to their need for water, fly off about maybe ten feet and fall to the ground dead.  The soap kills them and one drink is all it takes.  The purpose of the white plate is to attract them so I'm told.  After use you can throw the soap on the lawn, it will only help loosen the soil, no harm done!  I would put the plate where pets can't get to it - if they drink the water it could cause them to get dirrhea, not a good thing.  If larvae are found in a puddle, adding a few drops of the soap will kill them also. 
When I was growing up we used a waterer for hogs that used an open top 55 gallon drum and we kept a small bottle of soap down there in case mosquitos laid eggs in the water there, add a few drops and the next day they're dead. 

jatrophacostarica (author)2009-09-23

Search for Bat House- there are instructions (and probably instructables) online. Bats eat a LOT of mozzies.

Also, hang some hummingbird feeders. While they do love sugar-water, hummingbirds obtain their protein from eating small flying insects like gnats and mozzies. Planting hummingbird-friendly flowers will help as well.

Putting out ponds like yours will help reduce future generations, as will doing a sweep of the neighborhood for standing water. Be sure to check your gutters and any other areas where water can accumulate. Mozzies will breed in as little as a bottle-cap full of water, but simply *can't* breed unless they do have standing water.

If you want a bigger pondlet, you might add a simple air pump to move the water around a little. Aquarium stores sell pumps for $5-$10, add an airstone and some clear tubing and you've got a good way to agitate the water enough to make a big difference in the fishes health. Most pumps aren't waterproof, so protect it from the rain.

Cool, thanks for the pointers! Since I made this instructable, I moved homes and my boyfriend did plant some hummingbird plants and it definitely seems to make a difference. Plus they're way freaking cuter than guppies <_

DogsOfWar08 (author)2009-01-20

Yeah I gota agree with the majority, pretty cool concept. Electric bug zappers work excellent too, if you like to watch bugs fry, lol, I do! Anyway, I'm actually thinking of using part of your concept, basically just a couple buckets of water nothing else, then once the larva hatch strain them through a net and use them as a summer time treat for my crayfish and crabs and breeder guppies, though probably not for my expensive fish, that's what the breeder guppy fry are for! I give your 'ible a 4.35 out of 5! Sorry about the decimal, I just wanted to be different, lol.

Tarantulady (author)DogsOfWar082009-01-22

Thanks! I was gonna try and make it double-cool and throw my bug zapper into the pond (yay for fireworks!) but my boyfriend stopped me at the last minute. I guess he didn't want me having too much fun or I'd get hyper ;) I didn't even know you could rate an instructable, lmfao. I need to pay more attention.

blablabla123 (author)Tarantulady2009-03-18

Adhd? :O? :D

Tarantulady (author)blablabla1232009-08-26

How did you know? lmfao. No "H" though XD

DogsOfWar08 (author)Tarantulady2009-08-26

Just 2 let U know, Isorta did what I said I was gonna do, cept so much rain this year I didn't need to set out buckets purposely, I colloct all eggs I can find, and then strain out all water I find and dump it all in my crab tanks and guppy tanks..... They love 'em! Even took a chance and dumped a bunch in one of my chiclid tanks, they loved 'em too..... Free food, YAY!

tacamaral (author)DogsOfWar082009-03-08

One big difference, though - doesn't need electricity. : )

annchanted (author)2008-12-11

I like your idea. I have been an avid guppy keeper and breeder for a couple of years now. Guppies are known to eat several times their weight in mosquito larva every day. However, guppies are not the same thing as the dollar-per-dozen "feeder fish" you mentioned that are fed to larger fish. Guppies are prized by many aquarium keepers and cost approximately $2 to $4 per fish. Either way, with guppies or feeder fish, you should have pretty much the same result. Great idea!

nekoheehee (author)annchanted2009-01-21

see now that's kinda funny because you're both right. my mom used to breed guppies for years and years and she had some nice colorful prize winners (at local fairs and what not). but then we've also gotten bland dull guppies at pet stores for next to nothing. It really depends on the breed and where your shopping.

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi! I'm Dee. I hail from filthy overpopulated NJ, where I reside with my boyfriend and our many pets. I'm very interested in ... More »
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