I can see the benefit and the place in the web of life, of most things in the natural world. I can’t bring myself to like mosquitoes though.
Wikipedia states “Though the loss of blood (due to a mosquito bite) is seldom of any importance to the victim, the saliva of the mosquito often causes an irritating rash that is a serious nuisance. Much more serious though, are the roles of many species of mosquitoes as vectors of diseases. In passing from host to host, some transmit extremely harmful infections such as malaria, yellow fever, Chikungunya, west Nile virus, dengue fever, filariasis, Zika virus and other arboviruses, rendering it the deadliest animal family in the world.” WOW!
In Perth we have Ross River virus to worry about too. So I take much pleasure in my bucket pond’s mosquito killing power. It was so easy and cheap to make. You can also get nutrient rich water for your vegetable garden’s plants as part of the water changes that any long standing still water needs.
Here is how:
- Get two cheap round plastic pots that are the same size and stackable, and some plastic pond lining from Bunnings.
- Dig a hole and place one pot inside the other, making sure they are flush with the surrounding soil and level.
- Fold the liner over so it is double the thickness, then drape it over and into the top pot.
- Do a rough cut of the excess plastic now but not too much because when you add the water, the pond liner will flatten out and drop further into the pots. Besides, you will want some excess liner to sit under the rocks that you will add later for visual appeal.
- Slowly fill the bucket pond half full with water, letting the liner flatten and even out. You will get a fold, due to the square plastic sheet going into a round pond, so try and place it in a inconspicuous location. When the vegetation grows you won’t see it so don’t worry too much about it for now.
- Add several small water plants and some river stones into the pond’s base. The stones hold the plants in place and are an important part of the bacterial cycle that cleans the water.
- Place rocks around the edge and backfill with gravel, mulch or sand.
- Fill the bucket pond to the brim with water.
- Leave the water for several days or weeks until mosquito larvae are present. This indicates that the water is ready for fish to be added.
- Add cold water tolerant fish and watch as they smash the existing mosquito larvae.
I populated the bucket pond with White Cloud Mountain Minnows to eat any new mosquito eggs and to feed the pond plants with their waste.
They are a hardy fish regarding temperature and water conditions plus they swim on the surface. This is important because that is where the mosquito larvae live and the pond gets very little natural aeration. When I refill the bucket pond (in Perth evaporation can be severe so this action is every few days) I use a strong stream from the hose and make sure it aggressively breaks the water surface. That is all I do as far as re-oxygenation and water changes are concerned.
I only occasionally feed the fish with fish flakes and pellets as I want them to eat mostly mosquito larvae and the excess algae that grows during the summer months. There are visual signs that this system works. The water is clean and minnow fry can occasionally be seen swimming alongside their parents.
My pond also has a metal grill over the top to make it safe for small humans 🙂