Mar 08

How to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Rain Barrel

Rain barrels are great for collecting water, however, anytime you are storing water it can become an ample breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you own a rain barrel you may be wondering exactly how to keep mosquitoes out of your rain barrel?

Image Credit: luckywhitegirl via Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0
Image Credit: luckywhitegirl via Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0

Rain barrels are above-ground storage containers that capture water from the roof, allowing you to store it to use later for watering your lawn or your plants. Having a rain barrel is great for your yard and for the planet because it reduces runoff from your property, conserves resources, saves you money, and provides water for your garden.

Unfortunately, rain barrels are also a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes. Never fear, if you follow a few simple prevention guidelines, you can keep plenty of fresh water in your rain barrel to benefit your plants, and not the mosquitoes.

5 ways to keep mosquitoes out of your rain barrel

Add a mesh screen

The most effective way to prevent mosquitoes from infiltrating your rain barrel is to add a mesh screen to cover the top of the barrel. Be sure the mesh holes are small enough (usually 1/16th of an inch) so that a mosquito can’t slip through. Look for mesh at a hardware store. If you have a rain barrel with a screw top, simply place the square of mesh between the barrel and the lid and screw it in place. Or, use wire, rubber, or string to tightly secure the mesh. You can also install small pieces of screen over any other holes.

Keep the rain barrel clean and in working order

Make sure to regularly remove any debris or organic material that might be on top of or inside your rain barrel. Drain any pools of water that may form outside the barrel. It’s also a good idea to try to empty the rain barrel completely and clean it out at least twice a year. Regularly check the barrel for cracks or leaks. Make sure the seals are tight and any openings are covered by mesh.

Image Credit: Arlington County VA via Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Image Credit: Arlington County VA via Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Use an insecticide that’s safe for plants

You want keep mosquitoes away from your rain barrel, but you don’t want to use anything toxic that could harm your plants when you water them. Mosquito Dunks, sold at garden centers, are a safe and easy option. They contain a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI), which kills mosquitoes and black flies, but doesn’t harm other wildlife. Use a dunk once a month or as needed. You can also try using a tablespoon of ecofriendly dish soap. This will create a film on the surface of the water to break the surface tension and prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.

Make your yard a habitat for wildlife

Critters like bats, dragonflies, and fish, can help keep mosquitoes at bay because they are natural predators of the pests. Provide an inviting natural habitat for wildlife in your yard so these helpful species can stick around to feast on your unwanted guests. It’s also a good idea to support conservation efforts at local parks to protect habitats in your neighborhood and beyond.

Call Mosquito Squad for help

If mosquitoes keep finding their way into your rain barrel, this could mean you have a bigger mosquito problem on your hands. To fight the bite, contact DC Mosquito Squad. We can provide safe and effective treatment solutions that will reduce mosquito populations in your yard.

Related articles:

How to Keep Mosquitoes out of Bird Baths
Can Mosquitoes Fly in the Rain?
How To Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Garage
Bats and Other Mosquito Predators