The Enemy of My Enemy, The Mosquito

When we see a mosquito, it’s typically after it’s landed on and bitten us. Most of the time, we don’t even notice the feeding process – we just feel and see the after-effects from the bite. What animals are mosquito predators that can rescue us from their sneaky attacks? Here is a list of enemies of mosquitoes, our number one enemy.

Birds

The most common birds that enjoy mosquitos as a tasty snack are barn swallows, purple martins, migratory songbirds, and waterfowls such as geese, ducks, and terns. These birds will not only help eliminate mosquitos from your yard, but several other pests that you may not want to have around. To attract these birds, build a house for them near a running bird bath (since stagnant water is a mosquito’s breeding ground) with mud, leaves, egg shells, and feathers.

Bats

Bat houses are a good outdoor mosquito hack for your home. Bats can consume up to 6,000 to 8,000 mosquitoes in one day. One bat house can hold 50 to 60 brown bats, which is means almost half a million mosquitos eliminated from your yard! You can build your own bat house or purchase one (typical costs are $40 to $70).

Fish

For the most part, these predators feed on the early part of the mosquito life cycle – larvae. Mosquito fish can consume between 100 to 500 larvae in one day. They are the larvae vacuum system for a pond. Goldfish, catfish, mosquito fish, bass, bluegill, and guppies are all great fish to incorporate into your pond for aesthetics, but the bonus is that they will be an insect exterminator for your yard.

Turtles

The most common turtle that is a known mosquito predator is the red-eared slider. A study in Louisiana referenced by the University of Wisconsin Madison Department of Entomology showed that these turtles consumed 99% of the larvae in a controlled environment within a five-week period. However, there is a downside to having this predator in your pond. They must be provided with an incentive to keep them in the area, like daily feedings.

Dragonflies

Dragonflies come in a variety of colors and are beautiful to watch as they hover over your pond. One thing that dragonflies and mosquitoes have in common in their life cycle is they both require water. Dragonflies can survive within a pond that ranges from shallow water to the deepest end of two feet for several months, even up to years before they reach adulthood. The benefit to this process is that although mosquitoes enter adulthood within a week, dragonflies that are in their nymph stage underwater are still eating mosquitoes before they even make it out of the water. When dragonflies make it to adulthood, they have flight speeds of up to 30 mph, whereas mosquitoes have a flight speed of 1.5 mph. So just picture a jet plane chasing the Wright brothers first bicycle airplane. With dragonflies present, mosquitoes don’t stand a chance!

How to attract dragonflies to your yard

Plant emergent plants in your pond. These plants (like water lilies and water horsetail) do not have roots, but they have stems and leaves, allowing dragonflies to lay their eggs. Other plants to consider adding to your outdoor space are rudbeckia hirta, swamp milkweed, or black-eyed susan. This will only work for ponds that are not stocked with fish, as fish feed on dragonflies.