Natural Mosquito Control

Central Florida has literally thousands of ponds and lakes, and once had one of the nation’s worst mosquito population problems.  One of the ways many communities have controlled the mosquito population without the ever invasive pesticides and aerial spraying barrages is to stop the mosquito at the source.  By introducing native Florida fish that are specialize in eating mosquitos the problem is greatly reduced.  One of the quickest fixes is the common guppy, however it is not a cold hardy fish, and dies off each winter, leaving the ponds and lakes at the mercy of the ever fruitful mosquito each spring.  But certain fish are Central Florida natives, or fish that are ideally suited for our weather pattern of extremely hot summers and cold but short winters.

Florida Pond Management, an organization involved in the health of ponds and lakes in Florida to Louisiana, announces a non-chemical approach to Mosquito control. Tait Carson, the company’s founder explained, “Thomas R. Reich is an Ichthyologist noted for his work in aquariums and ornamental ponds around the world, he developed a way to control the mosquito larva before they even become mosquitos, right in the ponds and lakes the way nature engineered it!”

“Florida has literally thousands of ponds and lakes, and the territory once had one of the nation’s worst mosquito population problems,” Reich explained, “One of the ways many communities have controlled the mosquito population without the ever invasive pesticides and aerial spraying barrages is to stop the mosquito at the source.”

The most popular of the mosquito eaters is the Eastern Mosquitofish.  The eat mosquito larva like their distant relative the guppy, but are cold hearty.  Several hundred or even several thousands in a medium sized lake will become millions in no time, and eat their weight in mosquito larva each day!  Both the Guppy and the Mosquitofish is known as the millions fish because from a small population, a lake can be populated with millions of the tiny fish in months.  During the Yellow fever epidemic of the past, Guppy’s and mosquito fish would be thrown into ditches to control the deadly disease which was carried by, what else, the mosquito.  Many lakes have multitudes of tiny silver gray fish on the edges of the shoreline, usually in reeds and muck to avoid larger fish.

Another advantage of the tiny non-invasive Eastern Mosquitofish is the food chain.  Since they breed so quickly, they become a favorite snack of pan fish and game fish.  “Fishing is my sport, controlling mosquitos and feeding sport fish sold me on Reich’s suggestion, and we are seeing a lot of potential here in Central and Northern Florida,” Carson concluded.

 

There are few draw backs to this natural method of mosquito control and the Eastern Mosquitofish is a totally natural approach to this stinging problem offered by Florida Pond Management.

 

 

Credit: FloridaFisheries.com (FF&WCC)

Dr Thomas R. Reich explains Mosquito Fish

Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) female to 1 1/2 inches. Plain little fish with two stripes on the tail fin. Non-game fish. Excellent mosquito-controlling species.

Credit: Samuel Eddy, McGraw Hill

 

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) male to 3/4 inch.

 

 

 

Mudminnow Family, Umbridae

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

 

Eastern Mudminnow (Umbra pygmaea) to 3 inches. Dark vertical bar at base of tail. Non-game fish.

Credit: Drawing by Samuel Eddy from How to Know the Freshwater Fishes 1978 /reproduced with permission of the McGraw Hill Companies.

 

Other native species that work for mosquito control are:

Killifish Family, Cyprinodontidae

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

 

Pygmy Killifish (Leptolucania ommata) to 1 inch. Distinct eye spot at base of tail. Non-game fish.

Credit: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FF&WCC) / FloridaFisheries.com

 

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

 

Lined Topminnow (Fundulus lineolatus) to 2 1/2 inches. A surface-inhabiting minnow (topminnow) with vertical lines on their sides. Non-game fish

Credit: Samuel Eddy /McGraw Hill

 

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

 

Golden Topminnow (Fundulus chrysotus) to 2 1/2 inches. Greenish surface-inhabiting minnow (Topminnow) with brilliant gold flecks on their sides. Non-game fish.

Credit: FF&WCC / FloridaFisheries.com.]

 

 

Live Bearer Family, Poecilidae

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

 

Sailfin Molly (Poecilia latipinna) Male to 4 1/2 inches. Rows of small dots on the sides forming lines. Dorsal fin of males can be much larger than those of females. Non-game fish.  Females can give live birth to up to 70 1/3 inch long fri every 4 weeks

Credit: Samuel Eddy, McGraw Hill

 
Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

Least Killifish (Heterandria formosa) to 1 inch. Three black spots at the bases of the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins. Dark stripe along side. Non-game fish. One of the best mosquito controlling species.

Credit: FloridaFisheries. com (FF&WCC)

 

Sunfish Family, Centrarchidae

 

 

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

Banded Pygmy Sunfish Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma zonatum) to 1 1/2 inch. Non-game fish.

Credit: FloridaFisheries. com (FF&WCC)

 

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

Everglades Pygmy Sunfish, (Elassoma evergladei) to 1 1/2 inch. Non-game fish.

Credit: FloridaFisheries. com (FF&WCC)

 

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

Bluespotted Sunfish (Enneacanthus gloriosus) to 3 inches. Bright blue flecks on the sides and fins. Non-game fish.

Credit: FloridaFisheries. com (FF&WCC)

 

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

Flier (Centrarchus marcopterus) to 6 inches. Dorsal and anal fin nearly symmetrical. Brown spots on each scale appear as rows of dots on the sides. Game fish with collection and bag limits.

Credit: Duane Raver, Jr., USFWS

 

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

Spotted Sunfish or Stumpknocker (Lepomis punctatus) to 6 inches. Gill cover with a blue spot, no vertical bars, and brown spots on scales looking like rows of dots. Game fish with collection and bag limits.

Credit: Duane Raver, Jr. / USFWS

 

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

Bluegill or Bream (Lepomis macrochirus) to over 10 inches. Vertical bars on body and a dark spot on the rear edge of the soft dorsal fin. Game fish with collection and bag limits.

Credit: Duane Raver, Jr., USFWS

 

Ichthyologist Thomas R. Reich PhD explains how mosquitofish solve the mosquito problem

Redear Sunfish or Shellcracker (Lepomis microlophus) to 10 inches. Red edge to gill cover spot. Game fish with collection and bag limits.

Credit: Duane Raver, Jr., USFWS

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Posted in Fresh Water Tropical Fish, Natural Pond Fish, Uncategorized
One comment on “Natural Mosquito Control
  1. Everything is very open with a really clear description of the issues.
    It was really informative. Your website is very helpful.

    Thanks for sharing!

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