Friday, July 9, 2010

Raising Mosquitoes for Fun and Profit

Ok, maybe not fun...

And maybe not profit either...

Not even intentionally. 

Yesterday I walked out onto my porch and surveyed my domain.  It was quiet, the sun was out, there were birds on the wing.  The Parrots were squawking in a nearby fruit tree looking for their next meal.  All looked right with the world.

I noticed that I had an "air plant" growing in my bottle brush tree in front of the house that was the size of a small melon.  As I looked down to step off the porch I examined my cactus that I have in two pots there.  It wasn't the best sight.  Having been two days since the torrent of rains stopped, things had for the most part dried up.  The cactus still had a little water in the ceramic pot they're in, I could make that better by drilling drain holes, but they almost never get any water where they're at.  That they had water in them at all shows how hard it rained over the weekend.

Or as a friend here would say "I need Le Ark to avoid Le Flood".

Looking into that puddle I spotted something moving.  Wrigglers.  Mosquitoes.  With a shudder, I picked up the pots and drained them one after another.  That's part of the problem living in the tropics-adjacent.  Mosquitoes and other invasives don't die out over winter cold snaps.  This year it got cold enough to kill off most of the iguanas, but they're coming back to dine on my bougainvillea plants until I find that Special Food to send them on their way.

Mosquitoes will breed in a tablespoon of water inside of a leaf.  My backyard and my neighbor's are a perfect example of that.  I'm used to seeing them because my hedges that afford me so much privacy are so lush that I can't clean them out properly to get all the leaf litter.  There are so many that I turn on a fan to use the pool in the late evenings so I can blow them South.  Fort Lauderdale can have them.

This morning after I walked the dog, inside the house I was standing in the kitchen eating a chicken patty on a biscuit and watched the mosquitoes bang their brainless heads against the glass trying to turn me into a meal.  That was when I noticed that my "Lucky Bamboo" had wrigglers in it as well.   That was a first because I usually don't get them in the bamboo.   There are two tricks you can try if you keep lucky bamboo or any other potted plant. 

One is to get a betta fish and put it in the jar with the plants.   Mosquitoes will breed in the water and feed the fish.  There *is* a third element to that little cycle of life, but I'm not certain what it is - so research it before you try that one.

The other is what I have been doing for decades.  If you are plagued by mosquitoes in your lucky bamboo, or any other potted plant, drop a few copper pennies in the jar.   It interrupts the mosquito's life cycle and they never live long enough to become nasty biting creatures.  Simple and basic, and I'm sure we all have a penny jar somewhere that we won't miss a small handful to fill the pots in the yard.  I did that a long time ago and it does seem to help.

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