Wherever we find water, it is inevitable that we will somehow find mosquitoes. As we know, hydroponics is famous for using water as its growing medium instead of soil. This has resulted in many growers finding themselves having mosquitoes infestation in their hydroponic gardens. It got me wondering, how do I keep mosquitoes out of my hydroponics?
So, how do I keep mosquitoes out of my hydroponics? Biological solutions are available to kill the mosquito larvae such as using certain types of bacteria or adding a fish species into the system. Moreover, you can also add an air pump to keep the water moving and to prevent mosquitoes from laying down their eggs.
Mosquitoes do have a reproduction rate that is so fast. You can find your hydroponic system full of mosquitoes in literally no time. On average, mosquitoes do lay from 100 to 200 eggs per reproduction cycle. If you are growing hydroponic plants in your home backyard, I can guarantee that you will not stand a single month in this house without thinking about contacting a pest control company to get you out of this problem.
In this article, I will share with you the top 7 ways that actually work on how to prevent your hydroponic system from getting a mosquito infestation.
1-Avoid Keeping Water Stagnant At Your Hydroponic System
If there is a single fact that everybody knows about mosquitoes, it would be that mosquitoes don’t lay their eggs in moving water. I know that in some hydroponic systems like deep water culture and nutrient film techniques, the nutrient reservoir can have a water surface that is somehow stagnant, but there must be a solution to this problem.
We don’t need to worry about systems like the ebb and flow, as there is no stagnant water present in the system. A problem like this can be solved by using an air or water pump. Of course, most hydroponic systems contain at least an air pump that is blowing air bubbles through air stones.
However, if you have a serious mosquito infestation, you will need to get an air pump with higher output to keep the water surface moving continuously.
2- Use GMO Seeds
I know that many people will be against this idea, but this solution did undoubtedly stand the test of time. GMO seeds are bioengineered with what is called the BT toxin. This is a bacteria that is known to kill the mosquitoes at the larvae stage.
When GMO seeds sprout, the BT toxin becomes active. This makes the crops resistant to most if not all types of mosquitoes as they grow. There is no need to worry about using any chemical or biological pest control methods as long as your seeds are certified GMO with BT toxin.
Monsanto Co. is one of the most famous companies to produce GMO seeds with BT toxin. In fact, they are most probably the only producer of this type of GMO seeds in the USA.
However, there are recent studies that have shown some negative effects of crops with Bt toxin on humans.
3-Cover All The Holes Present In Your Hydroponic System.
Hydroponic systems can have a lot of holes that will definitely allow mosquitoes to enter and reach the water.
Let’s take the NFT system as an example. A system like this has a lot of holes that mosquitoes will pass through to reach the nutrient solution. Moreover, some growers don’t use the full capacity of their hydroponic NFT system which leaves a lot of holes open and exposed for any mosquito infestations.
Another issue that a lot of growers don’t take into consideration, is the lid top of the nutrient reservoir. Many growers leave their reservoirs open to the air thinking that it is not critical to cover it up.
You should always cover up the top lid of your nutrient reservoir and cap any hole you can find in your system that will allow mosquitoes to get in.
4-Introduce Fish To Your Nutrient Reservoir
This might be the most biological way to get rid of the mosquitoes in your hydroponics. By nature, fish is one of the main predators of mosquito larvae. Introducing a pair of fish to your nutrient reservoir will limit the mosquito reproductive cycle from the larvae stage.
Various fish species could be used to solve the mosquito issue. However, the following species are well known to favor eating larvae over anything else:
Make sure to not overpopulate the nutrient reservoir as every container is limited to a specific number of fish that it can accommodate. One fish will be more than enough for most reservoirs. When there is a huge number of mosquitoes in your system, reduce the amount of food given to stimulate the fish to feed on the larvae on the water surface.
5- BTI Toxin
As I have mentioned before, BT toxin can significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes present in your system. If you are not a fan of GMO seeds, then try to use the BT toxin as a pest control method. BTI stands for Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis bacteria. It attacks and destroys mosquitoes early on at the larvae stage.
BTI toxin is available in different forms. It is present in the form of a spray that can be used topically. Moreover, mosquito dunks are another product that uses BTI toxin. All you simply have to do is to place these tablets on your water surface and it will do the trick.
Mosquito traps are used by everyone not only growers. You can place a number of traps around your hydroponic system to try and catch as many mosquitoes as possible.
7-Keep Your Hydroponic System Indoors
There is nothing better than keeping your hydroponic system in a controlled environment indoors. By doing it this way, you will extremely limit the movement of mosquitoes to and from the system.
On the other hand, when hydroponic systems are placed outdoors, they are easily accessible by mosquitoes from the surrounding areas. As a result, you will find mosquitoes using your nutrient solution as a breeding environment.