The Great Mosquito Bucket Hack

These are mosquito buckets.

The mosquito-specific toxin, B.t.i. (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis), a naturally occurring bacterium found in soil, kills mosquito larvae. The toxins in the white floating discs, called Dunks®, stop mosquito reproduction at the larval stage. They do not harm other wildlife. The company that produces them also sells a granular form that can be placed in bird baths.

This post is for you IF:

  • 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 when you weed your garden
  • you worry about diseases spread by mosquitoes
  • mosquitoes love you.

I am very thankful for the day my naturalist friend, Joanna Brichetto, posted a story on her blog, Sidewalk Nature, called The Mosquito Bucket of Doom. The bucket system is a bee-friendly, vegetable garden-friendly, and pet-friendly way to eliminate mosquitos.

I have four industrial-looking mosquito buckets spread around my half-acre backyard. There is one in each vegetable garden

and a pretty fiberglass one on a stone patio.

How to Make a Mosquito Bucket

a  5-gallon bucket, a planter, or any container with a wide top
2 handfuls of grass clippings (leaves work but take longer to decompose)
a package of Mosquito Dunks® (a larvicide)

Add 2 handfuls of greens into a tall container.

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 near your seating or work area. Thirty days later, add a new Dunk®. I buy packages that contain 20 Dunks from an online source.

We hosted my son’s rehearsal dinner in our backyard in the middle of July with just the four buckets for mosquito control and never saw a skeeter.

I volunteer at a community garden near a floodplain inhabited by lots of mosquitoes. I  showed the residents how to set up mosquito buckets, and within 2 weeks, the mosquitos were gone — for the rest of the summer.

How Does the Mosquito Bucket Work?

Mosquito Dunks® work by killing mosquito larvae, thereby interrupting their reproduction cycle. It does not kill adult insects, just the larvae of mosquitoes which use the bucket for the next generation’s productivity.

Joanna learned about the bucket system from famed etymologist Dr. Doug Tallamy. Here is a link to his explanation.

Mosquitoes need ¼-inch of standing water to successfully lay eggs. It takes a few days for the eggs to hatch into the little swimmers seen in Joanna’s photo below.

Dr. Tallamy says when the swimmers (larvae) eat the B.t.i. in Dunks®, it prevents them from maturing to adulthood. He also says companies that spray for mosquito removal only kill about 10% of adult mosquitoes and many more beneficial insects.

Related Stories:
The Soil Your Undies Challenge- A Simple Home DIY Test for Soil Health
How to Build a Raised Garden Bed
How to Start Seeds in a Recycled Milk Jug
Hensplaining Chicken Idioms

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