Bird baths can be beautiful works of art in your yard, but they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and insects. Mosquitoes are one of those pests. Mosquitoes are attracted to water and blood. A bird bath provides both.
Bird baths attract mosquitoes because they want to lay their eggs in the water. Many of the mosquitoes that lay their eggs in the bird bath water will get the blood they need to reproduce from birds drinking or bathing.
You can’t stop mosquitoes from biting birds. You can try to repel them from your yard. You also can keep mosquitoes from reproducing in your birdbath.
In this article I will explore the different ways to keep mosquitoes out of your bird bath. I will also discuss how to kill mosquitoes without hurting the birds if they do get in your bird bath water.
How to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs
Prevention is the best way to keep mosquitoes from breeding in your bird bath. There are natural ways you can prevent mosquitoes and there are chemicals you can use.
The natural ways are best for you and the birds you love so much. Chemicals can be dangerous for birds and also harsh on your bird bath.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs on the edge or top of the water so they can hatch. After hatching, the larvae will live in the water until they become pupae. Then the pupae will live in the water until they become adult mosquitoes. The key to preventing mosquitoes from laying eggs is to not give them a place to land on the water.
Agitating the water in your bird bath will make it hard for mosquitoes to lay eggs in it. Aerators also add oxygen to the water. The added oxygen makes it hard for bacteria and algae to grow in your bird bath.
Mosquito larvae feed on bacteria in stagnant water.
Mosquito larvae have to come to the surface of the water to get air. Agitating the water in your bird bath makes it hard for them to surface and get air. This will cause many of them to drown.
Bird bath fountains
Fountains are the most common type of bird bath aerators. Fountains bring water up and drip it into the bird bath. This causes the surface to move, which makes it extremely hard for mosquitoes to lay eggs. The water droplets also introduce oxygen into the bird bath. This keeps the water healthy.
Fountains come in a variety of styles for bird baths. You can get ones that shoot the water up from a base. There are fountains that pour out of a spout like a faucets. My favorite are the fountains that look like waterfalls.
Another great feature of a water fountain in a bird bath is the sound it makes. The splashing or pouring sound of the water created by the fountain is an inviting sound to birds.
Water Wigglers for bird baths
Water wigglers are battery operated devices that you sit in your bird bath to agitate the water. Most of them look like a box or dome with three or four legs and a set of spinning arms in the middle.
Inside the dome is a motor powered by batteries. You stand the device up in your bird bath on its legs. The spinning arms turn and create small waves or ripples in the water.
The agitation has the same effect as an other aerator. It slows the growth of algae and bacteria and prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs.
Keep the water clean
Bacteria and algae grow in water that has organic matter in it. All kinds of things will fall or be carried to your bird bath water. Mosquito larvae feed on algae and other bacteria in the water.
Studies show that female mosquitoes look for water with the right amount of nutrients in it to support the growth of its larvae. Female mosquitoes will skip water pools that don’t have the right amount of nutrients.
If you keep your bird bath water clean, mosquitoes will go somewhere else to lay their eggs.
Add some vegetable oil to your bird bath
Adding a little olive oil, coconut oil, or other vegetable oil to your bird bath will keep mosquitoes from laying eggs in it. It will also kill mosquito larvae by preventing them from surfacing to get air.
The reason this works is because oil floats on water and creates a film that is hard for mosquitoes and their larvae to penetrate.
Kill larvae in your bird bath
There are times when you won’t be able to keep mosquitoes out of your bird bath. It could be that your fountain is broken or you don’t have one at all. Either way, when mosquito larvae are in your bird bath there are a few steps you can take to get rid of them and keep the birds safe.
Dump the water
The easiest and most effective way to get rid of mosquitoes in your bird bath is to change the water. If you have a small bird bath, this shouldn’t be a problem. Most experts say you should change your bird bath water daily if you don’t aerate or use a treatment.
Mosquito dunks are little round donuts made of a natural bacterium. It is only harmful to mosquito larvae. The dunks are a slow release product that will treat your bird bath over time.
Even after the dunk is dissolved, the active ingredient is still working in your bird bath water to kill mosquito larvae.
Vinegar and oil
Vinegar is a safe and natural disinfectant. It will kill mosquito larvae if it is in a high enough concentration. Diluted vinegar is safe for birds. You should use a 1-to-10 mixture of vinegar to water.
As stated earlier, a little vegetable oil will stop mosquito larvae from being able to surface and get air. The lack of air will cause them to drown in the water.
Control mosquitoes in your yard
The best way to keep mosquitoes out of your bird bath is to keep them out of your yard. There are many products on the market to keep mosquitoes out of your yard, but not all of them are safe for birds. Generally, if a product is safe for pets, it should be safe for birds. You should, however, read the label before applying anything to your yard to make sure it won’t harm birds.
There are a plethora of yard sprays to control mosquitoes. Spraying them to reduce the mosquito population in your yard will help reduce the number of mosquitoes that try to lay eggs in your bird bath.
Yard sprays are available in natural formulas and non-natural, chemical formulas. The natural formulas contain things like citronella, lemongrass, and cedar. The non-natural formulas usually contain deet.
Bait Stations and Traps
Bait stations work by providing food to mosquitoes that has an insecticide in it to kill the population in an area. Mosquitoes will find the food and visit it to eat. The food prevents them from reproducing. Because they are not reproducing as much, the population decreases.
Traps work like bait stations, except they trap the mosquitoes when they visit. Traps don’t allow mosquitoes to leave. Without food and water, the mosquitoes in the trap will die.
There are pros and cons to using bait station and traps. Both purposely attract mosquitoes to a given area. This can make that area have more mosquitoes then it usually would. If the device is not effective, you will end up with more mosquitoes then you started with. On the other hand, if they do work, you will have less mosquitoes in your yard.
Many bait stations and traps claim to reduce the mosquito population by 90% or more. There is controversy around these numbers. Some claim the products work great; seeing their mosquito population go to almost nothing. Others say the products do nothing more than increase the number of mosquitoes and are not worth the money.
I personally have not tried a bait station to keep mosquitoes out of my yard, but my neighbor hung some Spartan Mosquito Eradicators behind my fence. I looked the product up and it is suppose to attract mosquitoes to eat and then kill off up to 95% of the mosquitoes.
We usually have a lot of mosquitoes in our backyard and front yard. Since my neighbor placed the two Spartan Mosquito Eradicators behind the fence, we have not seen very many mosquitoes. Maybe it is coincidence, but I would definitely try it if the mosquitoes were high in my area.
I did try a Dynatrap and it did not work at all. They are suppose to emit carbon dioxide to mimic what attracts mosquitoes to humans. When the mosquitoes enter the device in search of food, they become trapped. We had one setup in our house. Mosquitoes would get inside our house, but the Dynatrap never caught one.
Bird baths can be a great addition to your yard, but they can also attract mosquitoes. Take precautionary measures to avoid getting mosquitoes in your bird bath. Use a fountain or other type of aerator to move the surface of the water to prevent them from laying eggs in your bird bath.
If you get mosquito larvae in your bird bath, act quickly to stop them from growing. Add vinegar or oil to your water to stop the growth of mosquito larvae.
If you keep mosquitoes out of your yard, they won’t be able to get to your bird bath. Use mosquito sprays, bait stations, or traps to rid your yard of mosquitoes before they get to your bird bath.