The video above shows fish eating the mosquitoes in their Larvae and Pupae stages, when the fish can easily get to them to eat them. Once they emerge with wings, it is harder for their predators to get them and the chance for a human to be bitten by a disease carrying mosquito is more likely.
Mosquitoes have been a nuisance to the human population for thousands of years; they carry diseases, some fatal, and are just plain annoying in the summer season. Yet not many people know and understand their habitat and how easily it is to control their population.
During the 1930’s, mosquito ditches were introduced to salt marshes, about 90% of the Atlantic Coast was covered in these man made straight grids along the salt marshes. These ditches were made to drain out the pools and pans where the mosquitoes lay their eggs. This disturbed not only the mosquitos, but also the other species that lived there. The eggs along with the other invertebrates disappeared, which is what the birds and other larger animals were feeding on, populations declined.
In the 1950’s, spraying was introduced to kill off large mosquito populations. It is still being done today to offset these large populations, and although it is a lot less offensive than it was back then, it is still chemicals being put into our air. These chemicals affect our lungs; especially people will asthma and breathing problems. The chemicals are sprayed onto our soil where our fruits and vegetables grow; think of it as spraying an apple with bug spray and then eating it, not too appealing.
So what’s the best plan for mosquito control? Surprisingly, the less human interaction the better, mosquitoes already have natural predators. Biological Control or “biocontrol” is the safest and most effective way to control mosquitoes. Chemical sprays harm the environment around the mosquitoes, including the fish that eat the mosquitoes. Restoring the fish populations in the salt marshes is key to mosquito control. It costs absolutely no money, there is no chemical affect, and it helps the ecosystem.
This video is of a salt-water fish tank at the Jones River Watershed Association in Kingston; we have American Eels, Mummichogs and Silver Sides that eat the mosquito larvae right up. We leave a bucket of sitting water in our parking lot and collect the little larvae then feed them to the fish, and as you can see, it is a safe, harmless, effective way of control mosquitoes.
Egg – hatches when exposed to water.
Larva – (plural: larvae) “wriggler” lives in water; molts several times; most species surface to breathe air.
Pupa – (plural: pupae) “tumbler” does not feed; stage just before emerging as adult.
Adult – flies short time after emerging and after its body parts have hardened