How to Safely Kill Mosquito Larvae in Water

Apr 20, 2023 | Mosquitoes

How to Safely Kill Mosquito Larvae in Water

When it comes to an afternoon hike or a day out at the park with family, a swarm of mosquitos can quickly turn any outdoor occasion into a disaster. These blood-sucking creatures dine on your arms and legs and leave you with itchy bumps for days.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could kill these pesky pests before they ever reach the blood-sucking stage?

The good news is, you can, and it is a lot easier than you think. In fact, it can be as easy as simply dumping out a bucket of water.

Key takeaways

  • Mosquito larvae are found in stagnant or calm bodies of water and look like small creatures with large heads, a fuzzy thorax, and narrow abdomen.
  • Common places where mosquito larvae thrive include swimming pools, fountains, birdbaths, ponds, pet bowls, and any area with standing water.
  • Removing water containing mosquito larvae is the easiest way to kill them, and removing larvae from the water will cause them to die as they need water to survive.
  • Calling in professional pest control specialists can help locate and treat potential areas where mosquito larvae are thriving.

What do mosquito larvae look like?

Mosquito larvae, also known as wrigglers, are in the second stage of mosquito development. When a female mosquito lays her eggs, she looks for stagnant or calm bodies of water. The eggs come together to create what is known as an egg raft. These rafts can contain as many as 300 eggs that will quickly hatch into larvae. These larvae live and feed in the water. In fact, their survival depends on the water. Mosquito larvae have large heads with fuzzy thorax and narrow abdomen. When disturbed, larvae will wriggle in a downward motion to find safety.

Where do you find mosquito larvae?

Mosquito eggs and larvae need water to survive. The female mosquito looks for areas of stagnant or calm water that will provide an effective location for her eggs and larvae to thrive. Because it only takes 8-10 days for an egg to develop into an adult mosquito, it doesn’t even need to be in a deep body of water. Here are some common bodies of water you may find mosquito larvae thriving.

Swimming pools

Whether you have a small kiddie or pet pool or a fully inground pool in your yard, mosquitos may choose these to lay their eggs, especially if the pools are not used often. While chlorine in a pool may hinder larvae development, regular chlorine levels are not enough to kill them.

Fountains and water features

A beautiful fountain or decorative water feature can be a relaxing part of spending time in your garden. Unfortunately, these can also become a regular breeding ground for mosquitos, so it is important to monitor them for egg rafts and larvae.


Birdbaths are a beautiful way to provide water for birds in your yard. Unfortunately, these also provide the perfect place for mosquito larvae to thrive. Emptying out a birdbath every evening can help kill any eggs before they hatch.


Ponds in the neighborhood or small backyard ponds offer another place for mosquito larvae to thrive. Depending on the size of the pond, it may be impossible to ever see the larvae before they become adult mosquitos, and since it is likely home to other wildlife, there are not many treatment options to address growing larvae.

Pet bowls

A rarely used outdoor pet bowl, whether for food or water, can be a great place to find mosquito larvae, especially in the days following a nice rain. However, chances are Fido may kick them out or drink them before they hatch.

Any area with standing water

Unfortunately, just about any location with standing water can offer the perfect place for larvae to grow into adult mosquitos. Because they grow into adults so quickly, even the smallest puddle or area of standing water can provide just what the mosquitos need to thrive.

Adult mosquito on water with mosquito larvae

How do you get rid of mosquito larvae in water?

The good news is, if you know what to look for, there are things you can do to kill the eggs and larvae before they ever become the blood-sucking mosquitos that can ruin even the best time spent outdoors.

Dump or drain the stagnant water

Whether the water is a small pool, a pet food bowl, a bucket, or even the guttering around your home, if you can dump it or drain the water, this will kill the eggs and larvae.

Add dish soap or shampoo

Adding a small amount of dish soap or shampoo into the water source will kill any larvae within 24 hours. Do not do this in bodies of water that are home to other wildlife.

Pour oil into the water

Adding vegetable oil to areas of standing water will kill mosquito eggs and larvae almost immediately. Again, do not use this method in bodies of water that support other wildlife.

Mix in apple cider vinegar

Like oil and soap, adding apple cider vinegar to create a 15% concentration with the water will kill mosquito eggs and larvae within a day.

Add a fish

If you have a small fish pond in your garden, you may consider adding Gambusia, or mosquitofish. These freshwater fish are small, measuring only 2 inches in length, but their favorite diet is mosquito larvae, with one fish able to eat 100 larvae a day.

A chlorine shock treatment

If you have an inground pool, a regular chlorine level designed to keep the pool clean is not enough to kill mosquito larvae and eggs. However, if you notice mosquito larvae in your pool, a chlorine shock treatment will kill off all the mosquitos and give you a beautiful clean pool.

Plant marigolds

Whether you have outdoor ponds and water features or a bird bath, planting marigolds can provide a natural mosquito deterrent that will keep female mosquitos away from the water near these beautiful flowers.

Hire a professional exterminator

If you find that you are getting overrun with mosquitos, you may have areas of standing water you are unaware of that need addressing. Hiring a professional pest control expert will uncover these potential locations and help eliminate these breeding grounds, helping to reduce the number of blood-sucking visitors in your yard.

Letters spelled as FAQ inside small boxes

Frequently asked questions

When it comes to mosquitos, everyone wants to know what they can do to keep them from feasting in their backyard. Here we answer some common questions.

How do you get rid of mosquito larvae in water?

The easiest way to get rid of mosquito larvae in a body of water is to simply dump it out. If this is not possible, adding soap or chlorine is one option that will kill larvae while planting marigolds and other plant deterrents can help keep mosquitos away before they lay any eggs.

Should I dump water with mosquito larvae?

If you can dump water containing mosquito larvae, then yes, that is the easiest way to kill the larvae.

What happens if you take mosquito larvae out of the water?

Mosquito larvae need water to feed on and survive, so if you remove them from their source of water, they will die.

Keeping the water free from mosquito larvae

Whether you have a small pond or pool, live on a lake, or simply have puddles after rain, standing water can make your yard vulnerable to mosquitos. Eliminating water sources or monitoring and removing larvae when you find them can help keep the mosquito population under control and allow you to enjoy time outside without becoming a mosquito buffet.

We can help manage the local mosquito population

Fighting a large mosquito population can feel like a never-ending battle and if you don’t seem to find any success, it may be time to call in professional pest control specialists that can locate and treat potential areas where mosquito larvae are thriving.

At Arrest A Pest, we understand how frustrating it can be to constantly be swarmed by mosquitos when you walk outside, and we are here to help. Request an appointment to learn more about mosquito control and how we can help.

Adam Judnich

Adam Judnich

Owner @ Arrest A Pest

Serving the entire Coachella Valley

Arrest A Pest is your top-rated pest and bug control solution in the Coachella Valley! As a family-owned and operated business, our technicians grew up in the Coachella Valley and have a deep understanding of the pests in our area.

We understand that every pest infestation is an emergency, and we offer quick, safe, and thorough pest solutions and preventions for your home or business. No matter what pests are invading your space, our technicians are armed with state-of-the-art technology designed to rid your home or business of pests and help you stay pest-free long into the future.

Contact us today to schedule your FREE evaluation and let our team send the pests packing!

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