Mosquitos might be the dreaded enemy of summer picnics and hikes through the woods, but these annoying pests have made their own enemies in the animal world. Bats and other mosquito predators are great for keeping the mosquito population in check, but often times, these natural mosquito enemies aren’t abundant enough to make a big impact.
It is interesting to note that bats and other mosquito predators, like the Purple Martin, have wildly inflated mosquito-eating abilities. Some people have claimed that bats can eat hundreds of mosquitos an hour, which is mostly untrue. In the past, bats have been introduced to areas heavily burdened with mosquitos, but their effects on the mosquito population were insignificant. Studies have found that mosquitos only make up 1 to 3 percent of a wild bat’s diet. Whether bats do or don’t help extinguish mosquito populations is still up for debate, but if you want to bring this helpful predator to your yard, consider installing a few bat houses around your property.
Purple Martins, the largest swallow in America, is known for its beautiful deep purple feathers and its ability to eat insects while effortlessly flying through the air (hence the name swallow). Despite what many people think, Purple Martins and mosquitos don’t usually interact, and Purple Martins typically only eat bugs higher in the sky, whereas mosquitos typically stay very low to the ground. Studies have found that mosquitos are only 3 percent or less of a Purple Martin’s diet. Most experiments find that Purple Martins and other mosquito predators eat a lot of mosquitos in a controlled environment, but these aren’t reflective of how things work out in nature.
Another mosquito predator is the Gambusia Affinis, most commonly known as the mosquitofish.
Unlike bats and Purple Martins, the mosquitofish actually feasts on mosquito larvae quite frequently, eating hundreds per day. Mosquitofish have been so effective, they’re actually sold in some states to people with ponds and bodies of water on their property. However, introducing mosquitofish has proven controversial as they are aggressive and can kill off native water species.
Dragonflies are another mosquito predator whose ability to dramatically reduce mosquito populations has been exaggerated. Typically, dragonflies eat mosquito larvae for the first few years of their life, during the nymph stage. Because of the ability to hunt mosquitos and mosquito larvae, dragonflies are sometimes called “mosquito hawks”.
As much as we would like to rely on nature to take care of our mosquito problems, the only proven and lasting method of mosquito population control is through vigilant and consistent treatments. If you want a proven method to rid your yard of mosquitos, Mosquito Squad of Greater Washing DC's barrier spray kills over 95 percent of mosquitos and is reapplied every 21 days. Contact us at today!