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Are we trading “fish” stories or does the mosquitofish and mosquito crustacean really control mosquitoes?

Posted by Mosquito Squad

July 14, 2011

When we talk about fish and crustaceans ( fish and shrimp?) within the same sentence our minds usually tend to imagine an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. The two species go hand in hand in our ecosystems, on our dinner plates, and in an aquarium. Who would have ever imagined a fish and a crustacean can be a viable form of mosquito control? As ridiculous as this may sound, it is the truth.

The Mosquitofish, (Gambusia affinis) and the Mosquito crustacean, ( Macroscyclops albidus) both feed on mosquito larvae. Both have proven highly efficient in helping cut down on mosquito populations in field studies and laboratory experiments. Although you probably haven’t heard of these two mosquito eating bandits before, they are not newcomers to the mosquito control scene.

The use of the Mosquitofish dates all the way back to 1922 when they were introduced into California. Since their introduction, the mosquitofish has been one of the most effective non-insecticidal and non-chemical methods to controlling mosquitoes that we have seen in over 80 years. This tiny fish does not lay eggs but gives birth to live young, much like a guppy. Since they are not egg-layers they require no special environment that would scrutinize the reproduction process. They are also hardy fish that can survive a range of temperatures that would kill other fish. Mosquitofish can begin feeding on mosquito larvae as soon as they are born and have the capability to eat up to 100 mosquito larvae per day.

The use of the mosquitofish however, does have its pros and cons. Even though considered efficient at helping control the mosquito populations, recent studies have indicated that the mosquitofish should not be placed in lakes, streams, creeks or rivers because when brought into certain habitats they are shown to disrupt the natural order of things. In layman’s terms, they are eating more than the mosquito larvae, they are eating and negatively impacting the  native creatures that we don’t want them too.

The Mosquito crustacean ( Macrocyclops albicus), has also been on the mosquito-eating scene awhile too. These tiny, shrimp-like members of the Crustacea family can be found in ditches, ponds, and even clogged gutters on a house. Anywhere there is a small amount of water is perfect for these mosquito crustaceans, plus these are the very places mosquitoes like to breed. Voila, dinner is served.  The species are native to New Jersey and can eat up to 27 mosquito larvae per day. Over the past five years testing has been done to ensure these crustaceans do not pose a risk to the balance of the ecosystem like the mosquitofish do.

Officials agree that these little mosquito predators only make a small dent in the mosquitoes numbers when you look at the big picture, but every little bit helps when you are talking mosquito control and the reduction of mosquito-borne illness such as West Nile and Encephalitis.

Mosquito Squad has a safe and effective mosquito control program that ensures season-long mosquito control by the use of our barrier treatment which is misted on regular intervals to kill mosquitoes and prevent resurgence within the treated areas.