Many people have rain barrels. Where I live, you can spend $35 and a couple hours and build your own. Then you have the ability to capture rain water from your roof and use it to water your garden. That’s a pretty good tradeoff in my opinion. Lots of people are concerned about mosquitoes breeding in their rain barrels. There is a mosquito netting that you can put on top that also serves the purpose of keeping debris like leaves out. But there is still a concern that the mosquitoes could make their way in to populate. So what can you do about it?
Use goldfish. While goldfish and rain barrels may seem like an unlikely pairing, they can actually work quite well together. The goldfish will eat any skeeter larvae but you may still need to give them some supplemental food. Unless your rain barrel is open to the air without netting, the volume of larvae won’t be enough to sustain your goldfish.
If you decide to use the combination of goldfish and rain barrels, make sure that your spigot is high enough from the bottom so that when the barrel is “empty”, there is enough water left to support your fish. Buy the small feeder fish from the pet store to use in your rain barrel. And make plans for them when the season is over. I guess that you could technically bring them indoors in an aquarium when the temperatures drop but I think they would be better off in a water garden if you have the capability. If not, ask a friend or neighbor if they’d like some free fish…chances are they’ll say yes.
Have you used goldfish in your rain barrels to successfully keep your mosquito population down? If so, leave me a comment below or shoot me an e-mail. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Happy gardening!