Once you notice mosquito larvae, the clock is ticking to deal with the problem. Mosquito larvae can pop up in a puddle within days. You may be able to kill mosquito larvae with household bleach or vinegar, but be aware that these are folk remedies with little or no scientific support, and neither is recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for this application.
Larvae Lead to Problems
Mosquitoes can lay eggs in an inch of water. Eggs hatch and turn into larvae, which turn into pupae within five days. The pupae turn into adults in two to three days and are ready to feast.
Mosquito larvae look like semitranslucent worms, and they are easy to spot. The pupae look like small black bands rippling through the water. Household bleach and apple cider vinegar may kill the larvae and pupae before they have a chance to mature into adults.
Get Rid of Standing Water
Standing water is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. It doesn't have to be a deep or large pool. Stay on top of water leaks or areas that puddle after a heavy rain and remove standing water whenever possible. A small puddle in a lawn from a broken sprinkler or a pool of standing water can breed mosquitoes in about a week.
For outdoor water features with standing water that you can't remove, a mosquito dunk can be dropped into the water. Mosquito dunks contain bacteria that are toxic to mosquito larvae but harmless to kids, pets and wildlife.
Vinegar to Kill Mosquito Larvae
Apple cider vinegar emits an odor that may repel mosquitoes. You can try using it in a spray bottle or poured straight into a puddle or a container of standing water. Don't use it in a koi pond or other water feature with fish. It can have an adverse effect on the health of the fish.
For standing water, Good News Pest Solutions suggests adding vinegar until the ratio is 85 percent water to 15 percent apple cider vinegar. If you aren't sure, err on the side of too much vinegar. Allow the apple cider vinegar to do its work for about 18 hours.
Bleach to Kill Mosquito Larvae
Chlorine bleach should be your last-ditch effort. This household cleaner can kill off grass and healthy vegetation in the garden, and it can also harm pets and wildlife if they ingest it or eat vegetation that has been caught up in the diluted stream of bleach used outdoors. Don't use bleach in puddles, pools or water features that kids, pets or wildlife may access.
Use bleach with an active ingredient of 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Bleach labeled as antibacterial or good at killing fungi may effectively take out mosquito larvae as well. Try using 2 tablespoons of household bleach to 5 liters of water. The bleach will begin to kill the larvae immediately.
- Illinois Department of Public Health: Mosquitoes and Disease
- Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association: The Use of Household Bleach to Control Aedes aegypti
- Good News Pest Solutions: How to Kill Mosquito Larvae Naturally!
- Journal of the American Control Association: Evaluation of Household Bleach as an Ovicide for the Control of Aedes aegypti
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: Controlling Mosquitoes at the Larval Stage
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.