A Safe Way to Kill Mosquitoes: A Tablespoon of Oil

Weather Talk
Bettes Fly Swatter 2

It’s been a year of above normal rainfall.  Most people love the rain… unfortunately, no one loves the rain more than mosquitoes.  Standing water is their perfect breading ground, and it seems the mosquito problem is worse this year than ever.  But there’s a cheap and safe secret to kill them!

The RGV has had an exceptional year for rainfall.  As of September 10, Brownsville had received 27.16 inches of rain.  A normal amount would be 16.65 inches.  In McAllen, the official rainfall for the year is 20.47 inches with a normal year’s rain amount at 15.17 inches.  Heavy rain is expected Friday and Saturday, so these totals are likely to go way up.

That means lots of standing water… sometimes for days.  Mosquitoes must have standing water in which to lay their eggs.  The larvae from those eggs look like small worms, under 1/2-inch long, that wiggle near the surface.  Disgusting.  Soon, they’ll be flying around and biting us!  Mosquitoes carry lots of diseases, including the deadly West Nile Virus; so they’re not only a pest, they are a big health concern too.

The first goal is to get rid of any standing water.  Invert any outdoor containers which aren’t being used so that they won’t collect rainwater. 

If you have tried to get rid of all the standing water that you can but still have a problem with standing water around your home or your neighbors’ homes, share this idea with them: 

ADD A SMALL AMOUNT OF OIL TO THE WATER WHERE MOSQUITOES BREED:  A small amount of oil floating on top of water can smother mosquito larvae and dramatically reduce mosquito breeding.  Usually 1/4 teaspoon of mineral oil, vegetable oil, light horticultural oil, or Neem oil per gallon of water will be sufficient, or use 1 tablespoon per 100 square feet for larger areas.  Keep in mind that this can also kill other less harmful water bugs, which must breathe at the surface.  Don’t use such oils in water gardens which contain fish; instead add mosquito fish if the fish you have aren’t gobbling up all the larvae.

If everyone in the neighborhood participated, you would notice a dramatic reduction in those pesky creatures.  All with no harm to the environment!

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