Looking to turn the tables on those pesky mosquitoes that invade your space with mosquito-eating birds? Natural mosquito predators like these might not be the most efficient form of mosquito control, but learning about what eats mosquitoes can help you decide which animals and bugs are beneficial in your backyard.
WHAT EATS MOSQUITOES?
There are a number of insects and animals that can be considered mosquito predators. Some feed on adult mosquitoes, but many feed on mosquito larvae. Birds, frogs, tadpoles, fish, toads, salamanders, spiders, red-eared slider turtles and many types of insects all play vital roles in keeping the mosquito population at bay. Some creatures, like the small brown bat, can catch up to 600 mosquitoes in just one hour. Of course, if you’ve ever been out in the woods at dusk during the summer, you already know that there are more mosquitoes in the world than nature can take care of.
DO DRAGONFLIES EAT MOSQUITOES?
Dragonflies are excellent hunters with hawk-like vision. They feed on many different types of insects, especially ones found around water. Since mosquitoes need water to successfully breed, they are a favorite meal of the dragonfly. They have no problem catching these easy targets, since dragonflies can zip around at speeds between 25 and 30 miles per hour, snatching their prey right out of mid-air. They also feed on mosquito larvae, especially during the immature stages of the dragonfly life cycle.
DO MOSQUITO HAWKS EAT MOSQUITOES?
Mosquito hawks aren’t actually hawks, or any specific creature for that matter. The term is loosely applied to three types of flying insects: dragonflies, crane flies and damselflies. As mentioned above, dragonflies are notorious mosquito predators. Crane flies sometimes feed on mosquito larvae, but many of these mosquito look-alikes don’t live long enough to feed on anything. Damselflies look like smaller, slimmer dragonflies and have the same taste for mosquitoes as their larger cousins. You can also tell these two arthropods apart by their flight patterns: Dragonflies are powerful and direct in their flight, while damselflies flutter about.
DO BIRDS EAT MOSQUITOES?
While it’s clear that there are mosquito-eating birds, just how many mosquitoes birds eat may have been misreported. There are claims that purple martins can eat thousands of mosquitoes a day, but these claims have not been fully substantiated. Still, the groups of birds that eat mosquitoes can best be described as migratory swallows, songbirds and waterfowl. More specifically, the species which eat the most mosquitoes are purple martins, red-eyed vireos, chirping sparrows, downy woodpeckers, yellow warblers, Eastern bluebirds, Eastern phoebes, Baltimore orioles, geese, terns, ducks and common wrens and nighthawks. These birds feed on the aquatic and adult life stages of mosquitoes. Putting birdseed out for these types of birds can attract them, and their mosquito-killing appetites.
DO FROGS EAT MOSQUITOES?
Frogs, tadpoles and toads can all eat mosquitoes, but most don’t rely on them as a substantial part of their diet. With the exception of three species of North American tadpoles, these amphibians' position as mosquito predators could best be summed up as ‟infrequent.” The three species of frogs that commonly feed on mosquito larvae during their tadpole stage are the giant tree frog, the green tree frog and the spadefoot toad. Still, frogs, tadpoles and toads compete with mosquito larvae for food sources, so they do have some effect on the overall mosquito population.
DO SPIDERS EAT MOSQUITOES?
Spiders don’t actively hunt for mosquitoes, but if one flies into a spider’s web, they certainly won’t turn down the free meal.
WHAT MOSQUITO PREDATOR IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE FOR NATURAL MOSQUITO CONTROL?
When it’s all said and done, the most effective natural predators of mosquitoes are fish. Mosquito larvae are eaten by guppies, bass, catfish, bluegills and even goldfish. But the most effective species of fish for mosquito control is Gambusia affinis, otherwise referred to as the ‟mosquito fish.” These fish aggressively feed on mosquito larvae, thus reducing the surrounding mosquito population. They are considered an effective form of control for properties and locations with bodies of water.
Even with all of these mosquito predators on the hunt, mosquito bites are still as common as rain. Considering that mosquitoes are known to spread many diseases, this isn’t a fact that you should take lightly. Call Terminix® today for your free estimate, and find out how a Service Technician – using a special baiting solution – can reduce the mosquito population around your home by 90 percent in just two to three weeks.