🦟 How a ‘bucket of doom’ can help fight mosquitoes in your yard

This 2014 photo made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a feeding female Anopheles funestus mosquito. (James Gathany/CDC via AP) (James Gathany)

DETROIT – We’re expecting another dry stretch of weather, which means mosquitoes will have fewer places to breed. That’s great news! But lack of rain won’t eradicate them completely.

That’s why we have to take action. I’m sure we can all agree that mosquitoes are nasty little creatures that only serve to make our lives itchy and miserable. Okay, so, that’s not all they do.

I went on a quest to bash the existence of mosquitoes and prove that they have no true purpose beyond spreading misery. I was disappointed to learn that mosquitoes serve as a food source for fish and other wildlife. That’s not their only purpose though, they also work as pollinators.

According to the USDA, there is a species of mosquito known as snow pool mosquitoes that are found in deep snow pools at high elevations in much of the Northern United States. Those mosquitoes play an important role in pollinating orchids. They are mostly found in New York and Pennsylvania. Researchers believe that many mosquitoes around the world pollinate smaller flowers that grow in wetter environments.

Ignore the benefits, let’s get back to the point: Mosquitoes are awful and we don’t want them breeding where we live. That’s why I placed a mosquito bucket of doom in my yard ☠️🦟. Honestly, this thing is one of the easiest ways we can get revenge on these blood-sucking freaks. All you need is a bucket, water, and a mosquito dunk. Mosquito dunks can be purchased at your local hardware store or through most retailers online.

---> Everything you need to know about ‘Mosquito Dunks’: What is Bti? How does it work? Is it safe?

Combine those three things (maybe throw in a few grass clippings for good measure) and you’ve now created the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Don’t worry, it only seems perfect to them. Mosquitoes will think the bucket of water looks great, but it’s a trap. The larvae will eat the spores from the Bti and die before they can become full-grown mosquitoes. Just be sure to refresh your bucket monthly.

You might be wondering what a mosquito dunk is. They contain Bti, which is a bacterium that occurs naturally in soil and has been used to control mosquito populations for more than 30 years. You can place mosquito dunks in any place where there’s standing water, not just in buckets of doom. Bti kills mosquito, black fly, and fungus gnat larvae. The Bti will not kill mosquito pupae or adults. According to the CDC and EPA Bti is not toxic to people and is not believed to harm pets, other animals, aquatic life, or other insects.

Do I still have your attention? If you’re still here -- there are six mosquito-borne illnesses, also known as arboviruses, that I want you to be at least vaguely familiar with. Those arboviruses are Jamestown Canyon Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile virus, Zika virus, Dengue, and Chikungunya.

So far this year, officials have only found one batch of infected mosquitoes. They were discovered in Saginaw County and tested positive for Jamestown Canyon Virus. Symptoms of JCV include fever, headache, and fatigue.

One last thing, there’s a type of mosquito known as the Asian tiger mosquito. It’s an aggressive biter. They are not naturally found in Michigan because they can’t survive our harsh winters, but climate change is pushing them further North. They have populations in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. They travel to Michigan in products shipped from states with established populations.

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About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.