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!
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Step 1: 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!
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!