Did You Know? Goldfish and Rain Barrels

goldfish and rain barrels
Photo courtesy of www.prwd.org

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.

goldfish and rain barrels
Photo courtesy of www.desktopgoldfish.com

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!


Pests and Diseases: Easy House Fly Trap

Today’s Pest and Disease topic isn’t one that affects your plants but it most certainly affects you. It’s about flies. Those nasty, little bothersome pests that circle your head and seem content to make your life miserable. You swat at them but you can’t ever seem to kill them. They are the bane of many picnics and outside gatherings and can cause your outside dinner to quickly become an indoor one. Instead of looking at their life cycle and discussing what they are attracted to, I thought that we would cut right to the good stuff: killing them!

I discovered an easy house fly trap strictly by coincidence. My daughter and I played with bubbles one evening and we left the last little bit of bubble juice in the bottom of a yellow tray. (UPDATE: bubble juice is just what remains in the bottom of the tray once you finish blowing bubbles) When I went outside the next morning, I discovered this:

easy house fly trap

Nineteen dead house flies. And the worst part is that I hadn’t even seen flies flying around the day before. Where did they come from? I’m not sure but they found us. I did some research and everything I read says that house flies are attracted to blue. In fact, the studies show that they prefer blue to yellow by quite a lot. Not at my house. Here’s a picture from the same morning.

easy house fly trap

No flies. Everything else was the same…bubble juice was left in the bottom and these were virtually side by side on the table. I think that makes for an interesting comparison and an easy house fly trap. Now if I could only find an easy trap for mosquitoes. I have a swampy area behind my house and we are the closest food that they have. There are many summer evenings where we can’t even be outside, they’re so bad. Perhaps a Mid-Atlantic Gardening reader has some crafty mosquito trap that they would like to share. If you do, leave me a comment below or e-mail me at stacey@midatlanticgardening.com. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put a little bubble juice in a yellow tray outside. Happy gardening!


April 10, 2012Permalink 7 Comments