The Great Mosquito Hack of the Summer of ’22

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

Ingredients:
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)
water
a package of Mosquito Dunks® (a larvicide)

Instructions:
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.

Testimonials
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.

Related Stories:
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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