In 2016, there were 16 cases of Zika Virus infection reported to the New Mexico Department of Public Health. Fortunately, we haven’t had Zika or West Nile Virus so far in 2017 but we should still be cautious about mosquito borne infections. Mosquitos also carry heartworm, which can infect our dogs and cats.
So how do we strike a balance between providing water for the birds and other non-human residents of the garden keeping these nasty, disease carriers away? It’s not terribly difficult, really.
Mosquitos need still water to lay their eggs. After 5 days, the larvae hatch and take another 5 days to pupate. Two days after that they get their wings and begin annoying us and spreading disease. This, of course, is the cliff notes version of the mosquito life cycle but you get the picture. Here’s what you do:
1) Empty your bird bath into your garden beds every 2-3 days and wipe down the inside walls. This disrupts the hatching and development process. No soap or other chemicals needed.
2. Add a solar powered bubbler or fountain to your birdbath. Not only will the mosquitos avoid the moving water but more birds will be attracted to your garden by the splashing. Check out this one on the Breck’s bulbs website.
3. Encourage biodiversity in your garden. Damselflies, dragon flies, bats, and many species of song birds eat mosquitos. If you put out the welcome mat with food, water, and shelter, your bug problems will be – not exactly solved – but won’t be nearly as aggravating.