Mosquitoes. Love. ME.
This post is for you if:
- mosquitoes love you, too
- you hate having to use Mosquito Joe to manage these pests because you suspect there is collateral damage to beneficial insects, but you hate mosquitoes more
- you hate to wear bug spray and socks, a long-sleeve shirt, and pants in the middle of summer whenever you weed your garden
- you worry about diseases spread by mosquitoes
I am very thankful for the day my delightful naturalist friend, Joanna Brichetto, posted a story on her blog, Sidewalk Nature, called The Mosquito Bucket of Doom. It is about a bee-friendly, vegetable garden-friendly, pet-friendly way to eliminate mosquitos in your yard.
I’m here to tell you Joanna’s mosquito control system really WORKS. I’m such a believer; I show everyone who visits my yard my buckets. And, now I’m showing YOU!
How to Make a Mosquito Bucket
a 5-gallon bucket, a planter, or any container with a wide top
a few handfuls of grass clippings (leaves work but take longer to decompose)
a package of Mosquito Dunks® (a larvicide)
Add 3-4 handfuls of grass or other yard clippings to a container of your choice.
Half-fill the container with water. As the organic matter decomposes, it produces carbon dioxide, which attracts female mosquitoes. Add a Dunk® and place the bucket in a sunny location. Thirty days later, add a newDunk®. I buy packages that contain 20 Dunk®s online.
I have four buckets in my half-acre backyard. They are scattered among my vegetable garden beds, the chicken coop,
and one, prettier than the others, is located on the patio.
We hosted my son’s rehearsal dinner in our backyard in the middle of July with just four buckets for mosquito control and never saw a skeeter.
I volunteer at a community garden near a floodplain with many mosquitoes. I brought supplies to make two buckets and showed the residents how to set the system up. We placed the containers on opposite ends of the garden for adequate coverage. We inspected the yard for sources of standing water and removed them. Two weeks later, while working in the gardens, we happily realized the mosquitoes were GONE!.
How Does the Mosquito Bucket Work?
Mosquito Dunks® work by killing mosquito larvae, interrupting the insect’s reproduction cycle. It does not kill adult insects of any variety, just the larvae of mosquitoes using the bucket for their next generations’ production.
Joanna Brichetto is quick to point out that she learned about the buckets from famed etymologist Dr. Doug Tallamy. Here is a link to his short video explanation.
Mosquitoes need water to breed. They only need ¼-inch of standing water to successfully lay eggs. It takes a few days for the eggs to hatch into the little swimmers you see in the photo below. Joanna permitted me to use this photo because she is passionate about protecting the environment. “Yes, of course!” she replied when asked, “The more buckets, the better!”
Dr. Tallamy says the best way to control mosquitoes is to interrupt the growth cycle of their larvae. These swimmers eat a mosquito-specific toxin, B.t.i. (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis) spore found in Dunks® that prevent them from maturing. Furthermore, Dr. Tallamy says broad spraying of insecticides kills only about 10% of adult mosquitoes and many other insects. Thus, the mosquito bucket method is more specific and effective.
If you came by my house this summer, chances are I sent you home with a Dunk® or two. Like my friend Joanna, I feel the more people who know about the mosquito buckets, the happier they will be outdoors, and the more beneficial insects will be available to do insect work, like pollinating flowers across the city.
Thank you, Joanna; you gave our family a mosquito-free summer without much fuss and chemicals.
Joanna recently appeared in a Nashville Public Television Volunteer Gardener episode called Natives in Plain Sight. You can follow her on Instagram at jo_brichetto and on her blog, Sidewalk Nature.
Putting Your Garden to Bed with a Blanket of Cover Crops
How to Start Seeds in a Recycled Milk Jug
Edible Landscaping with Nashville Foodscapes
How to Build a 4 x 4 Raised Garden Bed
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22 thoughts on “The Great Mosquito Hack of the Summer of ’22”
Oh my goodness you have just saved my life to enjoy my yard! I just found dunks in my garage that had not been used yet since Texas has had such a profound drought this year. The last couple weeks has rendered rain and the little gnarly beasts. I will be trying this! Thanks for sharing!!
it’s not too late. The buckets I made for the community garden worked in just 2 weeks. Good luck, Brenda!
GREAT info, Judy! Mosquitos love me too 😩
Sent from my iPad
What is it about us?! I’d start with two buckets in your backyard. xo
I have used Mosquito Dunks for several years in all animal water buckets here in Norco, CA… This product is great, non-toxic to critters…and I have had only one mosquito bite so far this year…!!I need to mail order some more this week as a matter of fact as we are having endless summer heat here and that really increases the insect populations.
Hope your heatwave ends soon. We experienced bad heat waves this summer in Nashville. I’m in RI visiting family, and I loved having to put a sweater on!! Thanks for writing.
Thank you Judy, this is the best news I’ve heard in ages.
Cheers, Loraine on Meadow Dr
Thanks, Lorraine! Once you try it and it works, you will WANT to spread the word because you are thrilled!
Thank you!!! Since retiring, I’m spending more time outside! I’m ordering these now!!! I’ll need advice on chiggers and poison ivy too!! Haha
I feel your pain about the chiggers. For some reason, I have not gotten chigger bites this summer. I know not why. I usually get lots of those, too. For chiggers, I would wear socks, leggings, and long-sleeved shirts. I don’t have poison ivy, fortunately.
Judy, this is fantastic! I use Dunks in my birdbaths, so I’m already a fan. I’m sharing this with all my neighbors.
Jana Talbot REALTOR®,ABR®,ASP®,E-Pro®
The Wilson Group Real Estate Services
Thank you for spreading the word!!!
I can’t wait to try this!
But does the decomposing organic matter stink?
Good question. None of them smell.
Love this so much, Judy! I too, am a mosquito magnet! I had no idea Dunks existed!
What is it about us?! They could care less about my husband.
Judy, Hope you and your family are doing great! I always enjoy your recipes and tips. Keep up the good work! Carol
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you, Judy, for spreading the word about the Mosquito Bucket of Doom! Don’t forget one more crucial ingredient: the stick! Every bucket needs a stick poking out of it as an “escape ramp.” A thick stick is ideal, but even just a bamboo-cane plant support can work. An escape ramp helps bees, beetles, crickets, chipmunks, baby squirrels, and other critters climb out if they accidentally fall in.