Friday, May 30, 2008

natural rain barrel mosquito control

i noticed today little tiny mosquito larva swimming in my screen topped rain barrels. how the heck did they manage to get in there? hmm, not good.

pesky squitttooos!

seconds passed and i thought of an idea. i took a stroll over to one of my neighbors and asked them about their fish and fish ponds. what type of fish did they have? how many relative to size of pond or container? where did they get them? do you feed them or do they do well on their own? etc. all the answers were easy.
  • regular old joe shmoe gold fish
  • they've got 30+ fish
    • some of theirs are big boys now
    • big like 9" inches big
  • at the local market in the pet section
    • did not know they had a pet section
    • learn something new everyday
  • feed them? nope.
    • they eat the mosquito larva and the algae in the water
    • excellent answer i thought
i hopped on my bike and rode to the local market. the fish guy was happy to hear about their new home. he was very proud of his fish tanks and took extra care to net the perky, feisty types. we talked about the rain barrels and about the use of small horse troughs for mosquito control. this guy knew his stuff. he suggested i purchase ten fish total. he also remarked that there was no need for any extra feeding. he even said goodbye to the fish before i walked off. this is a good fish guy. i'll be going back to him if ever i expand.

so i picked up ten joe shmoe goldfish and trucked them home. i popped five into each 75 gallon rain barrel. even though i had made an attempt to clean them out a day or so back, there was still plenty of algae inside for feeding. in seconds those babies were all over the mosquito larva. love that!


by the way, i do have a horse trough kicking around. hmmmm, where will that go. the fish man suggested i place it where i generally have the greatest concentration of mosquitoes. i know exactly where that is. aha! project next in the making.


JKRAM6ER said...

Hi Michelle

I "know" you from the Austin Backyard Poultry Meetup (long name).

For mosquito control I use goldfish (the cheap feeder fish - feed for other fish) and gambusia fish in my pond.

The rain barrels I use for watering plants I use plain white vinegar.

The rain barrel that is connected to an automatic waterer for my hens I use unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.
It is suppose to also control internal parasites, aide in calcium absorption and the multitude of benefits it claims.

I came across this meetup looking for one for help with gardening issues. I found any idiot can grow a plant from seed,
the real test is keeping the plant alive and healthy. My gardening honeymoon period is over and I need help understanding
why certain plants are dying (heat or pests or ???). Plus, having chickens in my garden just presents a challenge with using
pest control and I thought organic gardeners might know what I need to do.

I may try emailing the Central Texas Gardener or going over to the Natural Gardener to talk with them.

As always, I enjoy your blogs and videos.

Jeri Kramer

shellywoman said...

hey jeri - good to hear from you and good for you with the mosquito control efforts. i too use a bit of apple cider vinegar and sometimes home brewed kombucha to keep the creature waterers in good shape.

in regard to garden goods dying off, what are your questions. do keep in mind that we are traveling into the toughest part of the season where the heat and dry are stressful to all.

i'm happy to help as much as my experience will allow. i do practice organic methods (beyond organic actually) with my garden, my creatures and my bees.

wishing you well!

Anonymous said...

Rain Barrel nuebe.
I have a 50 gal. rain barrel. How much vinegar should I use for larva control?

shellywoman said...


Our discussion of vinegar was not in relation to our rain barrels. Do not put vinegar in your rain barrels - there is no need.

We were discussing ways in which to keep our chicken waterers algae free. Hope that helps out.

Matt B. said...

I'm going to try this. Goldfish in my rain barrel would be so much more fun than a screen or oil or mosquito dunks.

Kelley said...

I have what might be a silly question: when it's really raining out, don't the fish get "caught" against the screen on top? Or roiled around too violently?

Presently, I only have one barrel into which I drilled an overflow hole. I would need to block that as well so the little buggers don't fly right out!

I imagine the fish waste would be really good for the plants you're watering with this water!

michelle habeck said...

the fishes will not get caught up against the mesh screen they'll swim down just as they would in open water. you will need to block the outflow with mesh in order to keep the fishes in the barrel.

i now keep a fish pond in a galvanized water tank. they are doing great. it's important to keep fresh water flowing in a pond. it provides the best and freshest air source to the fishes. cheers!