Mosquito Eaters and Other Critters That Feed on Mosquitoes
Crane flies, more popularly known as mosquito eaters, have been touted as one of the most effective means of naturally controlling the population of mosquitoes. But, does a mosquito eater actually eat mosquitoes?
Contrary to this popular myth, crane flies do not actually feed on mosquitoes as adults. Instead, these insects feed on nectar. Most crane flies do not even feed upon reaching adulthood. Like a handful of other insects, adult crane flies have a short lifespan which they use only to mate. After that, they die.
Sightings of these insects can sometimes be a bane as these are sometimes considered as lawn pests.
Crane flies join a long list of animals and insects that are purported to aid in mosquito control. These so-called natural mosquito killers include bats, dragonflies and purple martins. Indeed, many of these animals do eat mosquitoes. However, many studies indicate that these animals are opportunistic predators which feed on readily available food. When they do feed on mosquitoes, their consumption is often not enough to curb a mosquito population.
There are, however, a handful of creatures that actually do contribute in controlling mosquitoes.
Insects That Help Control Mosquitoes
The mosquito fish is by far one of the most efficient animals when it comes to lessening the number of mosquitoes. These fish can eat anywhere between 42 percent and 167 percent of their bodyweight, including mosquito larvae.
Purple martins have been touted as effective mosquito eaters. However, available evidence indicate that these birds only eat a minimal amount of mosquitoes. Given a choice, these birds prefer other insects.
Like purple martins, bats are voracious opportunistic predators which may sometimes feed on mosquitoes. However, mosquitoes comprise only about one percent of their diets.
Dragonflies are voracious eaters of mosquitoes, thus earning them the moniker of mosquito hawks. However, these insects rarely are effective in reducing the number of mosquitoes especially upon reaching adulthood. These insects do most of their damage while still in the larval stage.
Ribbit, Ribbit, Ribbit
Frogs, toads and tadpoles are often thought of as effective mosquito eaters. However, their consumption of these insects will hardly dent a mosquito population. Tadpoles, on the other hand, are mostly herbivorous, preferring to feed on algae, although there are some larger species which will occasionally feed on mosquito larvae.
Although many of these animals are certainly most welcome neighbors, you cannot rely on these to help you control the number of mosquitoes in a single area. You can encourage their foray into your property, but you must also enforce other mosquito control solutions. Call AAI Pest Control to get a few helpful tips on how you can prevent mosquitoes this summer.