Most of us have experienced issues with mosquitoes over the years. Mosquito problems plague most of the communities in this region. Any areas containing standing or stagnant water are potentially mosquito breeding grounds. Besides being a general nuisance, mosquitoes are most problematic in that they spread many unwanted and potentially fatal diseases such as the West Nile Virus. It is imperative that property managers and owners work diligently to interrupt the mosquito life cycle by implementing the appropriate mosquito control measures.
Some techniques that individual homeowners can implement on their own to prevent mosquito breeding are as simple as maintaining proper drainage in lawns and on paved areas to prevent standing water. Emptying any planting pots, buckets, or other open containers that might inadvertently collect rain water will also go a long way to preventing mosquito development.
When it comes to your storm water pond or lake, experienced lake managers have many tools at their disposal to help fight the battle against mosquitoes.
The first, and probably the most cost effective, is to simply maintain a healthy population of fish, to include minnows and other fish that eat mosquito larvae in order to support their own growth and development. A regular program of minnow fish stocking to supplement the natural reproduction of these fish in the pond can yield very good results with respect to mosquito control. The additional availability of small fish in the pond will also provide an excellent food source for the larger fish, and thus support a healthy food chain and potentially a very dynamic sport fish population.
The second method involves the application of "larvaecides" to the pond to help prevent the maturation of the mosquito larvae. Biological larvaecides consist of specific strains of naturally occurring beneficial bacteria that are fatal to the larvae. These biological larvaecides can be very effective, but due to their own fatality rate, and the constant turnover experienced by storm water ponds, they must be applied twice per month during the warm weather months to be effective.
The third, and probably most beneficial option for your pond, is the installation of pond aeration system. The aeration of lakes and ponds has long been the most beneficial tool available for the prevention of algae and overall improvement of water quality. Aeration is also a very effective tool for the prevention of mosquito breeding. Surface spray type aerators such as fountains circulate the water preventing stagnation, and create a surface ripple affect that breaks the surface tension of the water and keeps it from being still enough to be conducive to the survival of mosquito larvae.
As with most management tools, an effective mosquito prevention program works best when using an integrated approach that combines multiple control methods performed in combination with an effective overall lake management program.
Kevin Tucker is the president of SOLitude Lake Management. Since 1998, SOLitude Lake Management has been committed to providing full service lake and pond management services that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Services are available throughout the Eastern United States. Fisheries management consulting and aquatic products are available nationwide. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.
Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) for all of your lake, pond and fisheries management needs.