Mosquitos are a nuisance and there is nothing they love more than water. Rainwater harvesting systems provide the ideal breeding ground for mosquitos. The insects lay eggs in gutters, pipes, and rainwater tanks. Unfortunately, they pose the risk of spreading diseases like malaria, Zika virus, and dengue fever. The solution to keeping mosquitos off from your harvested rainwater is quite simple, use mosquito-proof barriers and take the appropriate measures.
Image by Nadine Mönkemöller
Gutters are notorious for harboring pools of water due to the accumulation of decomposing leaves and debris. Unfortunately, mosquitos thrive in such conditions and it’s only a matter of time before they cause a full-blown infestation. The most effective means to keep debris off your gutters is to install a screen. An over-the-gutter mesh is great at keeping leaves and debris away from your gutter. The mesh is matched to the size of leaves in your area to guarantee results. If the installation of a mesh is not a viable option you can also trim overhanging trees to reduce debris. Moreover, regularly cleaning out the gutters is effective at preventing the pooling of water.
These are the pipes that channel water from your gutters to the rainwater tanks. The pipes are a favorite for mosquitos especially if you operate a ‘wet’ rain harvesting system. A wet rain harvesting system or a charged system has its collection pipes installed below the inlet of the rainwater tank. As a result, the pipes remain full during dry periods. The accumulated water provides a great breeding environment for mosquitos. Fortunately, you can install a steel 955-micron mosquito-proof screen to keep mosquitos away at the gutter end. Rail heads also keep leaves and debris out of the downpipes. A mosquito-proof, self-closing flap valve can be fitted at the tank end to ensure mosquitos don’t get into your pipes.
Sliding gate valves should be added to charged rain harvesting systems as an extra precaution. You can also add an in-ground flush diverter and other fixtures that empty the downpipes in between rainfall events. A draining system ensures mosquitos don’t have time to breed even if they make it to the downpipes.
The Rainwater Tank
In order to curb mosquitos from breeding in your rainwater tank, there are several steps you can take
- Seal all access points
All-access points to rainwater tanks should remain sealed unless they are in use. Lids should be fitted tightly to ensure no insects get in. The inlets and overflows also need to be protected. Install close-fitting, removable screens on all inlets and outlets to keep mosquitos out.
- Do Some Maintenance
Corrosion and gaps are not a thing on new tanks. However, as wear and tear take a toll on the tank, it’s likely to develop some areas of damage. Mosquitos are notorious for sneaking into water tanks through areas of damage. All they need is a small gap and they will enter in numbers. The regular inspection identifies damages and initiates repairs. If you find a leak fix it as soon as possible.
- Drain Areas Around the Tank.
The first place to find puddles of water is the area around the pool. As rainwater overflows or sip through leaks on the plumbing it accumulates around the tank forming pools of stagnant water. These pools are a recipe for disaster. Drain them as soon as you spot them to avoid mosquito infestations.
If breeding is imminent the last result is using larvicides. Larvicides are chemicals or bacteria introduced into water to get rid of the larva. They are used for both potable and non-potable water. You can also add medicinal paraffin or domestic kerosene to limit air circulation at the surface of the water and ‘suffocate’ the larva.
Take all the necessary precautions to avoid a mosquito problem in your house. You will enjoy peaceful nights and a disease-free stay at your home.